A change of direction for regional Cultural Observatories?

An options study (PDF, 815kb) launched last month by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) culture and sport evidence programme has shed new light on the future of regional level culture and sport research.

You may remember that there’s been uncertainty over the future of regional research since the release of the DCMS review of regional infrastructure in July 2008 and the subsequent closure of Regional Cultural Consortia  (see previous CRAIN newsletters: August 2008–March 2009).

The vision cast by the new CASE report (PDF, 815kb) is one whereby the regional tier research function would provide a link between national and local tiers, working closely with local government in order to pull together local data and case studies, while disseminating national data across regional and local networks.

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New research on the impact of culture in the West Midlands

Culture and prosperity report coverNew research produced by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory has boosted understanding of the social and economic role that culture has played in the West Midlands over recent years.

Long term economic trends suggest that the sector is expanding, employing more people and increasing its GVA and turnover output year-on-year.

For example, the Culture & Prosperity (PDF, 1.2MB) paper describes how the region’s creative industries had a 36% increase in turnover between 2004 and 2007: a level which exceeded the national average increase in turnover for creative industries (+13%) and the average growth in turnover within the whole West Midlands economy (+19%) over the same period.

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Uncertainty over the future of regional cultural research

Chair of the Cultural Research & Intelligence Group and Chief Executive of Museums, Libraries & Archives (MLA) in the West Midlands, Jon Finch provides some insight into the current situation for regional cultural research:

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Cultural Research and Intelligence Network newsletter: call for information

Thumbnail of CRAIN newsletter

The next Cultural Research & Intelligence Network (CRAIN) newsletter is due out in October 2008.

If you have any information on recent research and intelligence in the arts, media, heritage, sports, play and/or tourism fields that you would like to share with the 120+ CRAIN members across the West Midlands region, please forward them to me (lauren.amery@wmro.org) by Friday 17th October 2008.

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Forthcoming research from the West Midlands Cultural Observatory

You may be interested to know about research currently being conducted at the West Midlands Cultural Observatory.

Over the next year, we will be producing three evidence papers which draw together what we know about the impact of culture on ‘prosperity’, ‘people’ and ‘place’ in the West Midlands. Not only will this help to inform regional policy, the aim is that the papers will also provide a useful reference tool for everyone in the sector needing to ‘make the case’ for culture.

The first paper to be developed will look at the economic impact of culture, building on Culture West Midland’s Growing the Cultural Economy in the West Midlands (2007) report. The 2007 study estimated that the region’s cultural sector accounts for:

  • 12.5% of the region’s Gross Value Added (from a total turnover of £18 billion p/a)
  • 10.1% of the region’s employment
  • 14.5% of businesses in the region

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