Guidance for local authorities undertaking research into culture

Stratford Royal Shakespeare theatre at nightEver read through a research report and wished that you could have the same types of information for the geographical area that you live and work in?

With this in mind, the West Midlands Cultural Observatory has just published a guidance paper (Word, 226KB) aimed at local authorities in the West Midlands who want to replicate the research presented in the two recent evidence papers:

This includes, for example, research into:

  • Numbers of people employed by cultural and creative industries.
  • Rates of participation in cultural pursuits such as visits to museums and art galleries and participation in sport.
  • Cultural attractions based in the area.

The short, 15-page guide (Word,226KB) offers practical advice on what data is available to local authorities, how this data can be accessed and what methodology might be used to analyse the data.

You may be surprised, for example, about how much data is available on culture at a local authority level and how much of this can be accessed free of charge through online tools.

But why should local authorities be interested in data on culture?

Although statistics and other types of research may look dry and unappealing at first glance, they can often help to build up a unique picture of local cultural flavour that can prove so important when marketing an area and when planning investment and development.

To get started, why not download download the guide (Word, 226KB) and see if it could be relevant to your area of work?

As this is the first paper of its kind to be produced by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory, we’d really appreciate your feedback in the comments below.

Do you think this kind of guide useful? Do you feel it provides too much or too little detail? Would you like to see this kind of guide produced more often by research writers? (Thanks in anticipation for your feedback).

For more information please contact Lauren Amery (lauren.amery@artscouncil.org.uk/ 0121 631 5705).

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