"Creative Research undertook the first major stage of the Arts Councilís..." more>

Catherine Bunting, Director, Research Strategy, Arts Council England

Case Studies

Client Issue
Arts Council England An assessment of the value put on the arts by the general public
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In its sixtieth year, Arts Council England initiated the arts debate, an inquiry into the public value of the arts. The first part of the arts debate was a major programme of research among the general public looking at their attitudes to the arts and the impact of the arts on their lives.  

Some 170 people in total, from those who were actively involved in organising grassroots arts activities through to those who had little or nothing to do with the arts, participated in workshops lasting up to 3 hours or depth interviews.  A wide range of issues were discussed including participants' personal relationship with the arts and how this had developed (or not), what made something 'art' as well as what defined 'the arts', accessibility of the arts and barriers to engagement, the benefits offered by the arts and attitudes to public funding.  The discussions culminated in a role playing exercise in which participants reviewed a series of projects and arrived at a set of criteria that they felt the Arts Council should adopt when making funding decisions.  

While access to the arts was not seen as a major issue - people could engage with the arts if they really wanted to - some of the most significant obstacles were psychological, both in terms of attending events or performances and participating in the arts.  The research indicated support for public funding of the arts and broad agreement about how public money should be spent.  It also demonstrated the real interest that many ordinary people had in the arts and a desire for their voice to contribute to funding decisions.  The findings are currently being considered as part of the much larger public consultation and research among artists and arts organisations.

The Arts Debate: Findings of Research Among the General Public (1079.808Kb)
The Arts Debate: Findings of Research Among the General Public (767.082Kb)
The Arts Debate: Findings of Research Among the General Public (Summary) (257.536Kb)
The Arts Debate: Findings of Research Among the General Public (Summary) (70.311Kb)

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