Arts Council England
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We’re helping to fund the UK’s first Centre for Cultural Value in Leeds

Here at the Arts Council, we know that arts and culture matters, and can make a real difference to people’s lives – both individually and in the community.

A new Centre for Cultural Value, based at the University of Leeds, will focus on the role of arts and culture in areas such as conflict resolution, education, health and wellbeing, and community regeneration, bringing together researchers with expertise in these areas along with cultural professionals, arts and cultural organisations, audiences, participants and local communities. Launching publicly early next year, it will aim to make academic research into the value of culture “more useful and accessible”.

The centre will be backed by £2 million worth of funding over the next five years from the Arts Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and will ask important questions, such as what role might the healing qualities of arts and culture play in our post-Brexit society?

Dr Ben Walmsley, Associate Professor in Audience Engagement at the University, will lead the development, and recently said:

“Two questions at the core of the new centre’s work will be: ‘What does it feel like to engage with arts and culture?’ and ‘What tangible differences do arts and culture make to people’s lives?’ Our work will cover a…range of cultural activity from grassroots and community activities to work produced by our world-leading national organisations. The Centre…will help stimulate public debate about the role of national and local governments in creating and enabling cultural value, informed by robust and rigorous research.”

Musicians from the National Orchestra for All

National Orchestra for All © Teach First

Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive, Arts Council England, recently said:

“We experience the benefits of art and culture every day but all too often it can be difficult to evidence the impact of these opportunities in terms of our health, well-being and communities. The centre will be a fantastic research and resource hub for the sector and we look forward to working with them in the coming years.”

The Centre for Culture Value will be based at Leeds’ School of Performance and Cultural Industries and supported closely by the University’s Cultural Institute. The announcement coincides with Leeds’ growing status as a flourishing hub for culture along with digital industries and the media – the University of Leeds Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage was recently appointed the UK’s new Poet Laureate and in 2018 Channel 4 made the decision to relocate its national headquarters to the city.

Find out more about the new Centre for Cultural Value here.


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