In early 2013, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) asked the EENC to prepare a review of recent academic literature and research reports addressing the social and economic value of cultural heritage.
The resulting document, which includes an analysis of 87 publications, should contribute to the implementation of activities in the context of the European Agenda for Culture as well as the recognition of the potential role of cultural heritage for the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU’s mid-term plan to foster smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. A final chapter summarises the main findings and presents some conclusions, as regards the areas of impact observed, the policy relevance, the methodologies used and the research and documentation needs identified.
There is a substantial body of evidence on the health benefits of individual and group engagement in cultural activities in particular health settings like hospitals (Ruiz, 2004). More recently, evidence has grown on the impact of general cultural engagement on health and life satisfaction at a population level (O’Neill, 2010). Much of this research stems from Scandinavian epidemiological studies based on secondary analysis of population surveys (eg Cuypers et al, 2011).
In Scotland, questions on participation in culture and sport have been included in the Scottish Household Survey since 2007. Questions on life satisfaction and self-assessed health were added in 2009. This means that, for the first time at a population level, data is available to statistically explore the relationship between taking part in cultural and sporting activities, attending cultural places and key quality of life measures in Scotland. This report presents the findings of the analysis of this relationship.
There is consistent evidence that people who participate in culture and sport or attend cultural places or events are more likely to report that their health is good and they are satisfied with their life than those who do not participate. This finding remains true even when other factors such as age, economic status; income; area deprivation, education qualification, disability/or long standing illness and smoking are accounted for.
The publication contains the results of the research undertaken by the European funded project The Learning Museum, on the subject of impact evaluation in museums. The aim is to provide a general overview on the main issues concerning the different kinds of impact evaluation in the museum sector – economic, educational, social, relational, environmental – but also practical information and guidelines.