Co-producing Cultural Policy was awarded funding by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as part of the student-led strand of its Collaborative Skills Development scheme.
Based in the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries & Heritage (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds), the project was developed in collaboration with Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of Warwick. Non-university partners included Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The project consisted of two one-day workshops, the first at Leeds and the second at Warwick, on the topic of co-producing cultural policy. The postgraduate student team took responsibility for different themes; lead applicant, Liz Stainforth (University of Leeds), worked with co-applicants Leila Jancovich (Leeds Metropolitan University) and Alice Borchi (University of Warwick) to coordinate these sessions.
The first workshop, on participation and cultural policy decision-making, covered topics including grassroots approaches to policy planning, the principles of participatory decision-making and barriers to policy implementation or research interventions. The second workshop, on cultural value, considered the issue of cultural value in relation to debates around impact, and examined concerns relating to the role of culture in society, the impact agenda for culture, models for measuring the social impact of the arts and the value of academic research in relation to policy. Topics for both workshops were developed beforehand in dialogue with participants, specifically in response to their research interests.
The project facilitated cross-disciplinary exchange and presented valuable networking opportunities for postgraduates and early career researchers. Designed to encourage reciprocal dialogue between the speakers, participants and organisers, these sessions were responsive to key research questions and issues of policy relevance.
The award period facilitated the collaborative development of knowledge transfer partnerships and a peer research network. It was envisaged that this network could contribute to a research agenda that aims to bridge the gap between the academy, the cultural sector and the sphere of policy, and act as an incubator for post-PhD research projects.
The workshops took place in April and July 2014, including:
Theme: Participation & Cultural Policy Decision-making
Date: 7 April 2014, 10am-4.30pm
Venue: University of Leeds