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December 2022

The wellbeing value of arts and culture interventions

A rapid review exploring the social and economic value for people and places.

The wellbeing value of arts and culture interventions
In partnership with

This work looks at the wellbeing value of place-based arts and culture interventions.

In 2017, Coventry was awarded the status of UK City of Culture 2021. Since then, the University of Warwick and Coventry University have led the evaluation of the large-scale cultural event, developing an innovative approach to understand its impact on the economic and social wellbeing of diverse neighbourhoods, towns and cities.

We advised on the Coventry evaluation to ensure that wellbeing evidence and measures are used appropriately, and to capture learning on what works. 

Understanding the wellbeing value of place-based arts and culture

As Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture drew to a close, we embarked on a project that brings together high-quality evidence on the wellbeing value of arts and culture interventions, cultural events and mega-events. This work supports those funding and delivering arts and culture interventions to maximise wellbeing impacts.

Together with the Institute of Cultural Capital (ICC), and our long-established partners at Spirit of 2012, our aim was to:

  1. support reflection on past and future City of Culture bidders, with a particular focus on the findings from Coventry;
  2. support Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) priorities, including the assessment of economic and social change in bidding cities.

Rapid review: understanding wellbeing outcomes and drivers

We worked with Dr Rafaela Ganga and Dr Kerry Wilson from ICC to conduct a review that explored:

  • the wellbeing impacts of place-based arts and culture interventions; 
  • the drivers of these impacts and mechanisms of success, including in areas/populations with historically low levels of engagement in arts and culture;
  • the value of using place-based heritage assets to improve individual and community wellbeing; 
  • the role of inequalities in shaping cultural access and participation.

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash


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In this project

Rapid review - December 2022
Arts and wellbeing: a review of the social value of place-based arts interventions
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Briefing - December 2022
The social value of place-based arts and culture: rapid review and synthesis
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Blog - December 2022
Evaluating what works for place-based arts and culture
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Rapid review - May 2022
Rapid review of wellbeing evaluation research using the WEMWBS scales
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Call for evidence - August 2022
Call for evidence: Arts and culture review
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