Six research projects to measure value of culture and heritage to society

Image: The Liverpool Waterfront (Visit Liverpool)

The Arts and Humanities Research Council and DCMS have invested £3.1m to create a basis to evaluate the societal benefits of heritage and culture

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and DCMS have backed six culture and heritage research projects with £3.1m.

The research projects will contribute to the DCMS Culture and Heritage Capital Programme, and are hoped to create a basis on which to evaluate the contribution of culture and heritage to society.

Among the projects is research into The National Museums Liverpool Waterfront Transformation project, which is hoped to provide a case study for local and regional culture-led initiatives.

Another will apply techniques from behavioural economics to assess the economic and cultural value of digital culture and heritage assets.

AHRC Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said the culture and heritage sectors are ”a vital part of our economy,” but added “we do not have a clear or agreed set of criteria for measuring all their relevant benefits, including the undoubted impacts of intangible benefits.”

Smith said it is hoped that the research will provide “sound evidence to inform innovative and globally respected policy for our cultural and creative economy.”

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson added: “It’s important that we can measure these benefits so that we can make the most effective decisions to maximise their potential – especially where taxpayers’ money is being invested.”

The six projects will be run by The University of Liverpool, University of Portsmouth, University of Exeter, University College London, University of Glasgow, and Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England.

UKRI said “there is no agreed approach” to measuring the contribution of the cultural and heritage sector, and the “valuation of benefits and costs plays an important role in deciding how the government should spend taxpayers’ money.”