Future Trends: Addressing Cultural and Other Inequalities at Scale

Addressing Cultural and Other Inequalities at Scale: Art for the Many Not the Few

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.

Addressing Cultural and Other Inequalities at Scale: Art for the Many Not the Few

The paper 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.

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 Future Trends 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 Future Trends papers were published as part of the UK Cities of Culture project and commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


This website reflects a variety of UK CoC 2021 activities, funded by different funding bodies. It has been created as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project City Change Through Culture: Securing the Place Legacy of Coventry City of Culture 2021 (Grant Reference AH/W008769/1).

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