Arts, Culture and Soft Power: Developing an Evidence Base: Commissioned by the British Council, this work examined the use of arts and culture in the achievement of soft power objectives. The research team sought to build on the evidence generated during the recent AHRC Cultural Value Project, other international examples and the British Council’s own bank of arts-based evaluation alongside other relevant research to address the following a trio of research questions. We looked at whether the arts contribute to the aims, aspirations and delivery of soft power, the mechanisms though which this was achieved and what “value” can be ascribed to the arts contribution to this agenda. The research also examined what conditions for change the arts can create within a soft power agenda and, how we can develop a creditable evidence base or evidence framework and “theory of change” to measure the impact of the arts in the delivery of soft power outcomes.
A Review of the Contribution of Arts & Culture to Global Security & Stability: Commissioned by the British Council, this work comprised an appraisal of relevant academic and grey literature, followed by three country case studies exploring arts and culture focused post-conflict, resolution and peace-building interventions in Colombia, Syria and Rwanda. The case study research was augmented by interviews with stakeholders in the case-study countries, British Council and Whitehall. The review suggested areas of potential further study and recommendations for the British Council. A mapping framework was also included; listing arts and culture-based projects with aims and objectives that coincide with those, which contribute to security and stability agendas in the case study countries and beyond. The final report has been included in the British Council’s 2018 tailored review submission and, has been positively received in Whitehall.
EventRights: A EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange project which seeks to explore, and share knowledge, on the extent to which the landscape of major sport events (MSEs) can be improved to ensure a progressive, rights-focused agenda is pursued by awarding organizations, host governments and implemented in the formal institutions tasked with organizing these events. The project will produce recommendations as to how MSE organizing committees, awarding bodies, and the local/national state can be mandated to ensure that opportunities to address inequality, enhance diversity and facilitate greater dialogue are enshrined in the planning, delivery, and legacy plans for the events themselves. Staff mobilities form the main component of the project, to partners in the US, Canada, Japan and Brazil.
Leveraging Parasport Events for Community Participation: A Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada) funded research project that explores the leveraging strategies of different major sport events for persons with disabilities. This study found that policy initiatives are important but need to be informed by all stakeholders, including persons with disabilities; improvements in attitudes towards disability are measurable directly post-event but the relationship to societal behaviours and the lived experiences is poorly understood; urban accessibility improvements are often temporary and highly contextual; and; structural and societal change will not necessarily happen during the lifecycle of a Games but strategies implemented for the Games may improve sport participation opportunities in the long term, if they continue to be resourced. SSHRC has funded a follow up study focused on the post-event effects on persons with a disability in the host location.
FESTSPACE: A Humanities in the European Area (HERA) funded project focusing on how festivals and events enable or restrict access to, and use of, public spaces, including the extent to which they might effectively host interactions and exchanges between people from different cultural, ethnic, socio-economic and socio-demographic backgrounds. The project explores how the design and operation of urban festivals and events might help to dismantle existing divisions, while also acknowledging that festivals and events have the potential to symbolically, financially and physically exclude marginal populations from conventional public spaces, hence making spaces less public or less diverse. FESTSPACE focuses on Western European cities that are dealing with significant demographic changes caused by in-migration. The project also examines the festivals and events staged in three archetypal public spaces – streets, squares, parks – whilst acknowledging the potential implications for indoor public spaces (particularly museums and libraries). It adopts a series of innovative methodological approaches to study the influence of festivals and events on urban public spaces, including video and auditory ethnographies, go-along interviews, and participatory planning charrettes and salons. FESTSPACE includes five Individual Projects (IP) in Glasgow, London, Dublin, Barcelona and Gothenburg, working closely with influential academic and non-academic partners from across Europe.