The Value of Arts and Culture in Place-Shaping

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Andy Parkinson, Dr Andrew Engeli, Dr Tom Marshall, Anna Burgess, Paula Gallagher, Mark Lang


WaveHill Social and Economic Research

The Value of Arts and Culture in Place-Shaping

Looking at six different places across the country – Birmingham, Halifax, Hastings, Redruth, Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent – this report examines if and how an area’s arts and cultural offer attracts individuals and businesses to settle there. It considers whether it’s a factor in them staying there and whether that cultural offer shapes a place’s local identity.

This research found art and culture positively impacts places in the following ways:

  • Promoting wellbeing – 65% of people think that arts and culture are good for wellbeing, and 36% think arts and culture are “essential to life”.
  • Attracting a variety of people to live and work in an area – 44% of people who remained in an area, and 43% who moved to an area, cited arts and culture as an important factor in their decision – equal to the numbers of people citing schools.
  • Helping build communities – 49% of people think attending arts and cultural events helps them feel part of a community, with 68% thinking these events are very important for fostering community feeling.
  • Supporting high streets – Arts and cultural organisations are helping to fill the gap left as retail moves away from high streets.  By offering unique experiences, these organisations are helping to attract visitors and increase footfall, promoting high streets as attractive places to live, work and visit