Cultural Value

Geoffrey Crossick:
Why aren't we better at articulating the value of arts and culture?

Room: Main Hall at Aarhus University, Nordre Ringgade 4, 8000 Aarhus C.


How good are we at understanding the value of arts and culture, and how effective are the methods that we use for capturing that value? Have we spent too long focusing on what we believe governments of the day wish to hear and too little on the broader difference that engagement with arts and culture makes? Should we move away from evaluation for advocacy towards evaluation for understanding, which means avoiding claims that we cannot sustain while also drawing on a much wider range of methods and forms of evidence?

This keynote will draw on the work carried out for the Cultural Value Project, an initiative from the UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council which I directed and which reported last year. It will set out the broad arguments of that report, including the new emphasis on personal experience of arts and culture and its consequences, alongside a reconsideration of some of the major areas for which value is claimed, such as the economy, towns, health and education.

The talk will emphasise the report’s implications for some of the core themes of this conference, including the need to broaden the methodologies for evaluation and understanding if we are to properly capture the difference that engagement with arts and culture makes to individuals and society.

Presentation of Geoffrey Crossick

Professor Geoffrey Crossick is a historian and Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the School of Advanced Study, University of London. He has been vice-chancellor (Rector) of the University of London and of Goldsmiths. A member of governing boards in the cultural and higher education sectors, he speaks on higher education and research strategy, on the arts and humanities, and on the creative and cultural sectors.