Details on article

Id 198
Author Crossick, G.,
Title The Social Impact of Cultural Districts

Crossick, G. (2019). The Social Impact of Cultural Districts. Global Cultural Districts Network, United Kingdom.

Keywords Social impact; Cultural districts; Cultural value; Outcomes
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Abstract This report, commissioned by the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) and written by Professor Geoffrey Crossick, is aimed to understand better the ways cultural districts generate social impacts and to explore how those social impacts are evaluated for both cultural districts and their stakeholders.The report analyses the different ways social impact is defined; draws out current good practice, highlighting gaps and challenges; and suggests a framework and principles for future action.

Metodology Survey sent to experts of different cultural districts around the World

Findings The report proposes a typology of the social impacts aimed at, and to some extent achieved by, cultural districts. The types of impact identified are: —— Equity and inclusion —— Urban vibrancy and the public realm —— Neighbourhood and community —— Targeted social interventions —— Cultural social impacts —— Innovation impacts These are illustrated with examples from current objectives and practice of GCDN members. Although each of the types is to be found in some of the cultural districts surveyed, it is the first two that are by far the most common and the last two that are the least visible. Consideration of this typology might help cultural districts and their stakeholders develop a more expansive approach to social impact. The report highlights the great variety of cultural districts, which is one reason why there can be no one model for their social objectives nor one model for meeting them. In particular, those which overlay major pre-existing cultural institutions with their own social impact agendas, often find it harder to capture the social impact of the district as a whole in as substantial a way as their constituent institutions. The report recommends that cultural districts draw on a wide range of evaluation methods to construct a more nuanced understanding of their social impact and how it is achieved. It proposes a set of key principles to shape the approach taken. These include using data on outcomes rather than outputs; appreciating that it is easier to evaluate targeted interventions than broader cultural impacts; recognising that rigorous methods must be used but that there is no hierarchy of methods and quantitative and experimental methodologies are not in themselves better than qualitative approaches and in-depth case studies; and accepting that the best evaluations are those that are of value to cultural districts themselves and not just to their funders and governors. It also considers the benefits of theory of change approaches and the problems associated with their linear causal assumptions. The report stresses the need of a toolkit of methods to serve the varying needs of cultural districts within GCDN and beyond, and sets out and explains the main methods which might be drawn upon: —— Neighbourhood-level data —— Surveys, interviews and focus groups —— Ethnographic methods —— Participant evaluation and observation —— Arts-based methods —— Social media —— Network analysis —— Organisational administrative data —— Wellbeing evaluation —— Contingent valuation —— Multi-methods qualitative approach
Open Access YES
Search Database Snowball
Technique Questionnaire; Case studies
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