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 economic contribution of culture
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a discussion paper about measuring the economic contribution of cultural and creative activity in Australia.
In Australia and internationally, there is strong public interest in the role of these activities in the economy, as highlighted recently by Australia’s National Cultural Policy Creative Australia.
Statistics have been published for these activities in other countries such as Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom and Spain.
The ABS’ discussion paper explains how cultural and creative activity could be measured in Australia and invites comment on the proposed approach, data and investment priorities
The proposals in the discussion paper were prepared in consultation with key government organisations and academics.
The ABS is seeking comments on the proposals by 30 August 2013.
Further information can be found in Discussion Paper: Cultural and Creative Activity Satellite Accounts (cat. no. 5271.0.55.001), available for free download from the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au
Direct link to report: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/5271.0.55.0012013?OpenDocument
Dr Claire Donovan has been blogging and carrying out research for DCMS, exploring whether and how the value of culture can be measured. Her report, A holistic approach to valuing our culture, concludes that relying on economic indicators alone is unrealistic in practice – but that by combining economic and non-economic material, useful evidence can be gathered. She argues too that DCMS can draw from the AHRC’s recently announced Cultural Value project to set up benchmarks from which it could built a toolkit for the sector.
Her work combined online dialogue with the sector and desk research. She says “the strength of the blog discussion was that the cultural sector saw no contradiction in valuing our culture using an array of monetary or narrative approaches, and with capturing the unique value that the cultural sector creates”.
Scottish Government report: Influencing Behaviours – Moving Beyond the Individual – A User Guide to the ISM Tool
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
A user guide to the individual, social and material (ISM) approach to influencing behaviours.
The ISM user guide is designed for policy makers and practitioners whose work ultimately aims at engaging people and influencing their behaviours.
ISM is based on ‘moving beyond the individual’ to consider all of the contexts that shape people’s behaviours – the Individual, the Social and the Material. By understanding these different contexts and the multiple factors within them that influence the way people act every day, more effective policies and interventions can be developed.
This user guide introduces and explains the Individual, Social and Material contexts and the different factors that influence behaviours, with various examples that illustrate the applicability of ISM for successfully influencing behaviours. The guide then outlines how the tool can be used in a workshop setting to develop new strategies and ideas, and gives an example developed in a workshop at the Scottish Government (purchasing an electric vehicle). It also briefly notes how ISM can be used to evaluate new and existing interventions.
An accompanying technical guide provides all the background on the development of the tool, and the contextual factors and influences.That guide is effectively a short introduction to the field of behaviour change, seen through the Individual, Social and Material contexts. It also outlines the three main behavioural disciplines that have been brought together within ISM, and provides recommendations for further reading.