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Rethinking the Social Impact of the Arts

Are the Arts Good For You?

Professor Oliver Bennett and Dr Eleonora Belfiore from the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies will speak on rethinking the social impact of the Arts, considering the possibility of 'art for art's sake'. The Centre is currently working on a three-year Research project on Arts Impact Assessment, which studies the claims made for the arts and the extent to which these claims may be tested empirically .  Dr Belfiore is the Research Fellow for the project and Professor Bennett the Director.


Tuesday 17 October, 16:00-18:00.


Room B2.13 (Chemistry Building, across the bridge, opposite the Library)

Current debates over cultural policy and the rationales for state funding of the cultural sector have become increasingly dominated by a perceived dichotomy between 'instrumental' and 'intrinsic' values of the arts. The former is seen as dominating the policy discourse at the expense of the latter. Yet, despite calls for the establishment of 'art for art's sake' as a new guiding principle of cultural policy, the alleged contributions that the arts can make to social cohesion and inclusion are still high on the government agenda.

Nonetheless, the lack of convincing evidence for the beneficial impacts of the arts means that British cultural policy is currently caught in a deadlock. This seminar will investigate alternative ways of articulating the debate over the social impacts of the arts by presenting the interim findings of the Arts Impact Assessment.

More information on the Arts Impact Assessment can be found at or visit the insite feature at