In 2017, the Arts Council England commissioned Wavehill Ltd to conduct research to determine whether the arts and cultural offering of an area is a factor that attracts individuals and businesses to settle there; and of how that area’s cultural offer shapes local identity of that place.
The report on the study entitled “The Value of Arts and Culture in Place-Shaping” was published on August 21, 2019, giving insights on the impact of arts and culture in shaping six (6) different places: Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Halifax, Hastings, Southampton and Redruth. In conducting the study, the research company examined 1,756 responses to the UK-wide survey launched in 2017. The report proved that funding for the arts is a valid cause, as the analysis showed that art and cultural features have been instrumental in attracting new residents to the smaller communities.
Nicholas Serota, the chairperson of Arts Council England and former Tate director, also wrote an essay in The Guardian, giving emphasis to the hard evidence provided by the research. He elaborated on how the study shows that the arts matter to people across the country, giving support to the importance of making greater investments in cultural dwvelopments.
Based on the latest report commissioned by the Arts Council England, Mr. Serota wrote of how from Hull to Margate, creative projects not only brought money and life back to high streets but also also boosted wellbeing, among community dwellers. Moreover, the study also revealed how people tend to base decisions on where to live by looking into the arts and culture, in addition to offers of good schools. The Arts Council England chairman wrote
”There is not only tangible value in investment in the arts, but also huge public demand for it.”
The City of Hull Sets a Good Example of How Investments in Arts and Culture Create Positive Impact
In the essay, Chairman Serota cited the city of Hull as the most obvious example. The positive impact of art and culture made Hull the City of Culture in 2017. Hull’s economy received a boost from their programme, as the local tourism industry generated £300m throughout the year.
The Art Council England chair also wrote that the benefits experienced by the city went far beyond economic growth. Arts and culture helped instill in the local people, a renewed pride in the history of Hull and in boosting their confidence over its global role. At the end of the year, 75% of Hull residents said they were proud to live in the city.
Even worth mentioning is that Hull’s achievement has been replicated by smaller towns, including post-industrial, coastal and market towns.