Future Trends Series
The Future Trends series explores different aspects of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021). It aims to provide accessible, research-led accounts of issues related and relevant to the development of the UK City of Culture programme.
The paper Addressing Cultural and Other Inequalities at Scale: Art for the Many Not the Few was released in December 2022.
Publicly funded arts organisations are seeking new ways of engaging with communities to ensure art can be for the many and not the few.
While the UK City of Culture programme has – like similar cultural mega-events rooted within place, and the priority area funding programmes from Arts Council England – reduced spatial inequalities, they do not seek to reduce social inequalities as a priority.
Social and spatial inequalities are intrinsically linked. Coventry UK CoC 2021 was unique in recognising this when it put hyper-local co-creation front and centre.Addressing Cultural and Other Inequalities at Scale: Art for the Many Not the Few (page 3)
By focusing on hyper-local offerings, the UK CoC 2021 programme offered local proximity and the potential for a sense of ownership by the kinds of people who are most often missing from cultural spaces.
The paper explores:
- social inequalities in cultural consumption
- spatial inequalities in cultural consumption
- social inequalities in cultural production
- spatial inequalities in cultural production
- the levelling-up agenda
- the COVID-19 pandemic.
A case study entitled How did Coventry UK CoC 2021 Challenge Inequalities? considers:
- cultural participation within Coventry before the UK CoC 2021 year
- proximity to events
- reach to lower economic groups
- co-creation of the programme
- ways to move forward.
This Future Trends paper was written by Dr Orian Brook – University of Edinburgh and Mark Scott – Warwick Business School.
These papers are published as part of the UK Cities of Culture project and commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.