'Impact' and 'Value' in the Neoliberal Monoculture

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Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain and Religion, Philosophy and Education Research Forum seminar

Convener: Dr Alis Oancea (AHRC Cultural Value of the Arts And Humanities Project)

All are welcome. Please email jeanette.atkinson@education.ox.ac.uk if you plan to attend to ensure that enough seating is organised.

Dr Eleonora Belfiore

Questions around the value of the arts and humanities to the contemporary world and the benefits they are expected to bring to the society that supports them through funding have assumed an increased centrality within a number of disciplines, not limited to humanities scholarship. Especially problematic, yet crucial, is the issue of the measurement of such public value, in the context to an ostensible commitment to evidence-based policy making over the past twenty years. This paper takes as a starting point a discussion of the ‘cultural value debate’ as it has developed within British cultural policy: here, the discussion of ‘value’ has been inextricably linked to the challenge of ‘making the case’ for the arts and for public funding. The pragmatic need to articulate the public value of the subsidised arts and culture in ways that might ensure the financial sustainability of the sector have resulted in the development of the often questionable rhetoric of the socio-economic impact of the arts, with particular reference to culture-led urban regeneration. The so-called ‘impact agenda’ therefore has reached a relative maturity in the arts sector, and it is interesting to observe that the more recent development of an impact agenda for arts and humanities research within the HE sector has been following a similar path. The paper discusses the problems with the persisting predominance of economics in shaping current approaches to framing articulations of ‘value’ in the policy-making context for both the arts sector and higher education. It concludes with a plea for a collaborative effort to resist the economic doxa, to reclaim and reinvent the impact agenda as a route towards the establishment of a renewed strategy for the public humanities.

Dr Eleonora Belfiore is Associate Professor in Cultural Policy at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies and Director of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value,
University of Warwick. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/theatre_s/cp/staff/belfiore/


Humanities & the Public Good

Contact name: Alis Oancea

Contact email: alis.oancea@education.ox.ac.uk

Audience: Open to all