Arts Research Monitor articles, category = Social benefits of the arts

Based on a literature review, a review of four organizations' mandates, direct observation, and semi-structured interviews, this study examines how socially-engaged visual arts organizations in the United Kingdom "bring about change in individuals and communities". The report argues that socially-engaged visual arts organizations, with strong social or civic missions, coherent philosophies of engagement, and clarity of purpose, have "a key role to play in placing the arts at the centre of civil society."

Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies

Based on four longitudinal datasets, this American report examines the association between in-depth arts engagement and academic or civic outcomes for at-risk youth. The report notes that high-arts students fare at least as well as low-arts students on almost all indicators of academic achievement and civic engagement, and significantly better than low-arts students on a number of indicators.

Attitudinal Research

Based on a telephone survey of 1,000 New Brunswickers, this report examines their arts participation activities and attitudes. The report found that 96% of "New Brunswickers participate in the arts at least once a year", including reading books (86%), attending concerts or live music events (62%), going to plays (55%), visiting art galleries (37%), attending an arts festival (28%) and going to dance performances (26%). The report indicates that the typical margin of error of the survey results is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Based on a literature review and several case studies, this report examines culture-led placemaking and "its contributions to livability, economic revitalization, creative entrepreneurship, and cultural industries". The study indicates that creative placemaking efforts are "using arts and culture to animate downtowns and neighborhoods, to stoke their creative industries, to stabilize population and jobs, and to attract new residents and businesses" to small and large communities.

This symposium, organized as part of Winnipeg's Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 activities, was designed to "deliberate and debate the current and future relationships of art and design to city-making".

Kelly Hill recently conducted a number of presentations in smaller cities, including St. John's, St. Catharines and Barrie. These presentations provide some insights into the situation of arts and culture in smaller and regional centres.

This briefing paper, written for generalist planners, highlights how "arts and culture strategies help to reveal and enhance the underlying identity – the unique meaning, value, and character" – of a community.

How arts and culture can tackle economic, social and democratic engagement challenges in smaller cities

This discussion paper provides British examples of how the arts and culture sector can help stimulate and sustain economic growth, build a sense of shared identity, promote community cohesion, and help address challenges regarding infrastructure and skill levels.

This report explores possibilities for measuring the social impacts of organizations' activities, despite challenges such as "the lack of a common measure of how much good has been done" and the lack of an "agreed unit of social impact" that might be equivalent to financial metrics used in market transactions.

Noting that "Canada has consistently ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world", this report indicates that, on a scale from one to five, the average self-assessed rating of the happiness of Canadians is 4.26. Within Canada, happiness is highest on Prince Edward Island (4.33) and lowest in Ontario (4.23) and British Columbia (4.24). Among Census Metropolitan Areas, average happiness is highest in Sherbrooke (4.37), Brantford (4.36), and Trois-Rivières (4.35) and lowest in Toronto (4.15) and Vancouver (4.20).