If you missed it back in May, here is a study by Nick Ewbank Associates which explored the “cultural value and social capital” of culture-led regeneration in three English seaside towns. It concentrated on individual, community and health & wellbeing impact of culture-led regeneration in the three towns.
What leaps out from this report, for me, is the need for cultural organisations to collaborate with other sectors (e.g. Health) in order to successfully measure outcomes and plan appropriate interventions/support for individuals and communities engaged.
It eloquently expresses the culture sector’s “instinctive” (my word, not the report’s) appreciation that what it does has a positive impact on cultural value and society and highlights the need for some kind (or kinds) of planning and measurement frameworks that clearly recognise cross-sector impacts of this kind and provide the measurement tools that can be understood, and appreciated, by funders and policy makers at all levels.
In many ways this report does not say anything I didn’t know already but it does so in a clear and rigorous manner which is hard to ignore.
To hopelessly mash up a phrase from a jowly British Nobel Prize for Literature winner: We need more jaw, jaw AND Waugh, Waugh…..
Last week I had the great good fortune to meet with Reethah Desi and Jackie Winchester at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery to discuss how museums can contribute to delivering employability skills. We had (I hope Reethah and Jackie agree!) a very stimulating discussion on how museums can help the unemployed back into work. I’m sad to say I was blissfully ignorant of the museum’s excellent project Moving Forward which is delivered by M Shed in collaboration with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and local employment support agencies. The project gives young people the confidence and skills to obtain customer service/front of house style jobs. For many this is simply a stepping stone to future, wider employment options.
This project drew inspiration from Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum North’s In Touch Volunteer Programme which developed adult’s employability skills almost by accident!
The museum sector needs more of these projects. Whether large or small, national or independent, rural or urban, Roman history or geology, whatever your museum is about you can turn your hand to helping adults gain the confidence and motivation they need to re-engage with society and employment. Oh, and they might just become new visitors while they are at it…