The Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value Where Knowledge Exchange, Public Engagement & Impact meet… Dr Eleonora Belfiore, Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick What is a ‘Warwick Commission’? Abridged from Warwick University’s web site: • Established by the University of Warwick in 2007 with the aim of drawing on the scholarly expertise of Warwick academics as well as practitioners and policy makers to address issues of global importance. • The aim of the Commissions is to make thought provoking contributions to the debate thereby assisting policymakers to find solutions to sometimes seemingly intractable problems (via policy recommendations). • The activities of the Commission and its Reports are intended as an exercise in public policy informed by rigorous scholarly and analytical thinking. It is an excellent demonstration of the importance of good multidisciplinary social science to public policy. Past Warwick Commissions: • Warwick Commission on Multilateral Trade (2006-7) • Warwick Commission on International Financial Reform (2009-10) • Warwick Commission on Elected Mayors and City Leadership (2011-12) The Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value (2013-2014) • Developing bolder, bigger, more ambitious and more ‘impactful’ model for the Warwick Commission to coincide with the institution’s 50th birthday • A significant institutional commitment to public engagement, knowledge exchange & impact (budget currently exceeds £300K) But also: • An opportunity to demonstrate that the arts and humanities have a key contribution to make to strategic policy thinking Why cultural value? • The theme of cultural value and the question of its articulation and measurement key to cultural policy in the past 25 years • Austerity, funding cuts and the need to ‘make the case’ for the value of arts & culture • Overlaps between arts and creative industries and other areas of policy of growing prominence (e.g. tourism, soft power, strategies for growth, etc. • A strong area of expertise within Warwick (CCPS, Sociology, Theatre Studies, Law, WBS, etc.) The goals • Cultural value is a crowded space: Acting as a clearing house for the research/evidence produced over the past 30 years • Putting culture on the political map across main parties in the build-up to 2015 elections • Shifting the public debate on the value of the arts and culture – longer term aim • Consolidating the impact of the ‘Warwick approach’ to developing cultural policy thinking • Significant international element: raising our visibility Who is working on this? • Director of Studies: Prof Jonothan Neelands, WBS & Dr Eleonora Belfiore, Centre for Cultural Policy Studies • Project team: Comms & Public Affairs, Research Support Services; appointed staff With the support of: • Internal Academic Reference Group from across campus • Warwick Arts Centre • The Warwick Creative Exchange SUBSTANTIAL INTERNAL KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE!! How is it going to work? Directors of Study Commissioners, chaired by Vikki Heywood Warwick internal academic reference group Evidence gathering/ analysis & reflection The Warwick Creative Exchange Personal reflections: why do it? • A massive commitment of time and effort but also… • The crowning of years of commitment to both the topic of cultural value and public engagement • A powerful validation of the contribution that the Arts and Humanities can make to the development of better policies Arguing for a humanities-based approach to researching policy 2008: An intellectual history approach to the idea of the social impact of the arts as a driver of cultural policy 2013: A meaningful debate on the value of the Humanities and its implications on policy needs to involve non-Humanists 2012 – present: Opening up spaces for debate and collaboration on cultural value with policy makers, cultural professionals and creative practitioners. What is in it for me as a humanities researcher? • A natural next step for my own trajectory of public engagement and commitment to collaboration • An opportunity to feed my own work into a potentially influential exercise in strategic policy thinking • A highly visible, highly ambitious opportunity to demonstrate the Arts and Humanities have a place in this kind of exercise • Potential for relationship development outside of HE • Potentially risky, but when an opportunity like this comes along, you just need to put your money where your mouth is!!