The Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value

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
• 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
How is it going to work?
Directors of
Commissioners, chaired
by Vikki Heywood
Warwick internal
academic reference
analysis &
The Warwick
Creative Exchange
Personal reflections: why do it?
• A massive commitment of time and effort but
• The crowning of years of commitment to both
the topic of cultural value and public
• 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
2013: A meaningful
debate on the value
of the Humanities
and its implications
on policy needs to
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
• 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!!

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