Understanding Everyday Participation - Articulating Cultural Values

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Social Sciences

Abstract

This project proposes a radical re-evaluation of the relationship between participation and cultural value. Bringing together evidence from in-depth historical analyses, the re-use of existing quantitative data and new qualitative research on the detail, dynamics and significance of 'everyday participation', it will create new understandings of community formation, connectivity and capacity through participation. Orthodox models of the creative economy and ensuing cultural policy are based on a narrow definition of cultural participation; one that captures formal engagement with traditional cultural institutions, such as museums and galleries, but overlooks other activities, for instance community festivals and hobbies. This frame, founded historically on deficit based assumptions of the logics for state cultural support, misses opportunities to understand the variety of forms of participation and their (positive and negative) consequences. We argue that by creating new understandings of the relationships between everyday participation, community and cultural value, we will reveal evidence of hidden assets and resources that can be mobilised to promote better identification and more equitable resourcing of cultural opportunities, generate well-being and contribute to the development of creative local economies.

The central research questions are:

- How, historically, did we arrive at the definitions, fields of knowledge and policy frames informing notions of cultural participation and value today?

- What are the forms and practices of everyday participation - where do they take place? How are they valued? And how do these practices relate to formal participation?

- How is participation shaped by space, place and locality?

- How are communities made, unmade, divided and connected through participation?

- How can broader understandings of value in and through participation be used to inform the development of vibrant communities and creative local economies?

- How do we reconnect cultural policy and institutions with everyday participation?

Using a variety of methodologies, including historical analysis, qualitative work with communities of practice and use, and the reanalysis of existing data on participation and time-use, this project focuses on six contrasting 'cultural ecosystems' to investigate the connections between multiple understandings of community (geographical, elective, identity based etc), cultural value, 'cultural economy' and everyday participation. The findings from the situated case studies will inform four partnership-operated trials of new policy interventions or of professional or community practices. Throughout the project research will be integrated with key partners, stakeholder cultural and community organisations in order to evolve better, shared understandings of everyday cultural participation and the implications of this for policy makers and cultural organisations at national, local and community levels.

Planned Impact

1. Public benefit

The project will benefit the public as a whole and communities in the ecosystems where the case studies will be carried out. The research will give voice to people and practices that typically fall outside the scope of 'official' cultural models. It will recognise and legitimate the meaning and stakes that attach to ordinary, everyday participation and may reveal the existence of rich cultural lives among people who are often marked out as passive or excluded. Thus the project seeks to develop notions of culture that are more democratic and inclusive and that in turn lead to policies and organisational practices that are responsive to the needs and concerns of communities. By applying an arts and humanities approach to questions of value, the project creates the potential for new articulations and measures of value that more fully reflect how people live today and what is important to them.

In the case study locations, community and neighbourhood groups will have the opportunity to reflect on and revalue their participation practices through participatory practice-based research and to build their own capacity through collaborating on the design, delivery and evaluation of application projects. The experience of these groups will pave the way for the development of new approaches to devolving decision-making powers and responsibility for cultural provision to communities across the country.

2. Transforming national policy

The project will have major benefits for agencies working to develop national policy in relation to culture, participation and the creative economy including central government, Non-Departmental Public Bodies, funders and membership organisations such as the Museums Association. The project represents a shift in focus from the 'supply' of cultural facilities to the 'demand' for cultural experiences and an opportunity to reverse the current, primarily 'top-down' approach to cultural policy. It will generate new understandings of how cultural policy can be developed 'from the bottom up', based on in-depth knowledge of what people value about their own participation. In this way the research opens up the possibility of radical change in the nature of UK cultural policy over the next 5-10 years. National policy makers will also benefit from the project's holistic view of cultural ecosystems, which will help illuminate the specific contributions of and relationships between a diversity of participation practices - everyday, community-based, voluntary, professional and institutional. This all-encompassing lens will enable more richly informed decision-making about when to intervene and how best to target resources to maximise return on investment.

3.Informing local practice

The research will benefit organisations working at local level to promote the vibrancy of communities through cultural participation, including local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, regeneration and economic development agencies, cultural institutions and voluntary groups. By producing detailed knowledge of how local people participate in their everyday lives and what this participation means to them, the project will help organisations to better understand and articulate their purpose and role and stimulate new ideas and ways of working with communities to encourage and enrich participation. The research will reveal resources that local agencies can mobilise to build capacity within and connectivity between communities and to enhance initiatives focused on community wellbeing and the development of local economies. For example, local stakeholders in Peterborough hope the project will help them to understand and activate the 'seeds of a creative ecology' in the town and Manchester City Council hopes to better understand how to promote and connect communities to their services across local authority and neighbourhood boundaries.
 
Description Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into public parks
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Gave comments at Culture Media and Sport Select Committee on Countries of Culture Inquiry
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Written evidence to Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Inquiry into the social impact of participation in culture and sport
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Written submission to Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee Prof Andrew Miles with Dr J Ebrey and R Webber
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Written submission to Department for Communities and Local Government Running free: consultation on preserving the free use of public parks A Miles and A Gilmore
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description ESRC IAA funding: Research into practice: The challenges and opportunities faced by urban-rural transitional 'edge' communities -
Amount £35,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2016 
End 12/2018
 
Description Public Engagement Programme
Amount £174,000 (GBP)
Funding ID CS-1403-12892/GB10770 
Organisation Creative Scotland 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2012 
End 03/2017
 
Description Understanding Everyday Participation in Glasgow 
Organisation Glasgow Life
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supervisor of Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship
Collaborator Contribution Supervisor of Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship
Impact None yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description A. Gilmore - WEP methods conference presentation: Talking, Walking & Making: Participatory engagement methods and the co-production of knowledge in Cheetham Park, North Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Methods discussion for research in sociology; arts management; museum and heritage studies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description A. Gilmore conference panel - "I think the boxes will have to get larger" : equity and policy in measuring quality and articulating values 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference panel presenter for Creative People and Places event; cultural sector and academic audience discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2016
 
Description A. Leguina Advisor on cultural engagement, inequalities and quantitative research methods to Centre for Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Advisor on cultural engagement, inequalities and quantitative research methods to Dr Predrag Cveticanin, Centre for Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe, Belgrade, Serbia (CECS) (Belgrade, Serbia) across several projects. Capacity building.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description A. Leguina appointed methodological advisor EU Horizon 2020 project 'Closing the gap between formal and informal institutions in the Balkans'. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Teaching Multivariate Statistics using SPAD capacity building
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A.Gilmore conference panel presenter - 'The Park, the Museum and the Commons: vernacular spaces and social infrastructure for everyday participation' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact academic and practitioner discussion; museum and heritage studies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description BSA Roundtable: Everyday participation, community assets and public spaces: methods and practices for locating cultural value 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Understanding Everyday Participation
project challenges traditional boundaries
of 'culture' and exposes their role in the
making of inequalities. Issues of space,
place and scale are fundamental to this
account. In this roundtable we reflect on
the methods and contexts through which
we have approached cultural participation
as a situated process. Research and policy discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Everyday participation community assets and public spaces round table 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Round table discussion event exploring innovative partnerships between universities and civil society organisations engaged in co-creating, re-inventing and improving life in the city and its surroundings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Everyday participation community assets and public spaces: methods and practices for locating cultural value podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact podcast available on two websites
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.everydayparticipation.org/co-creating-cities-and-communities/
 
Description Geographical inequalities in Britain invited presentation to MPs in Parliament A Miles 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact invited presentation to MPs regarding UEP research outputs relevant to Geographical inequalities in Britain impact through increased understanding and discusion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description How can we safeguard public parks? A Gilmore and A Miles 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact participants shared research evidence and good practice guidance to support joint work between
cultural institutions, parks and outdoor spaces and their communities of interest; interactive discussion took place concerning the recommendations of the CLG Select
Committee on the Future of Public Parks and of parks strategies in Greater Manchester;an exploration of sustainable models for future joint-working and community engagement in parks and co-produced document is on going
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited speaker - Department for Culture media and Sport - Mark Taylor 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The main theme of the event was data accessibility and Taking Part analysis tools
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description L,Gibson & M. Taylor 'Habitus and Value: the 'situatedness' of participation and its value' - British Sociological Association Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact academic debate and networking
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description L. Gibson & D. Edwards 'Understanding Everyday Participation- Articulating Cultural Values' Care Experienced Young People and Participation Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Part of Connected Communities Festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description L. Gibson & D. Edwards 'Understanding Facilitated Participation and Cultural Values' - Museum Studies Distance Learning Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact academic capacity building and debate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description L. Gibson Countries of Culture Inquiry by the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport expert wittnes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Communicated Research results to Countries of Culture Inquiry by the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport expert wittnes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description L.Gibson & E. Belfiore 'Governing Place Through Culture' Histories of Cultural Participation, Value and Governance Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Arts and humanities and cultural policy; culture and heritage sector Knowledge exchange debate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description L.Gibson 'Facilitated Participation and Everyday Participation: Enabling the Agency of young people in care' The Museum in the Global Contemporary Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussion on academic findings and real world implications
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description L.Gibson Facilitated Participation: Cultural value, risk and the agency of young people in care ICCPR International Conference oin Cultural Policy Research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact academic networking, debate and capacity building
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description L.Gibson Understanding Everyday Participation- The Gateshead ecosystem - Useful Knowledge Workshop- Heritage, Arts and Visitor Research Collaborative 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Key note at event reaching practitioners. Exploration of research results and practice implications
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description L.Gibson Understanding Facilitated Participation and Cultural Values - Connected Communities Soundings and Findings Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Joint paper; discussion of findings with practitioners; academic debate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Manchester Community Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Component of written literature disseminating project information to a general public audience at a Manchester wide community festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description National cultural policy, rebalancing participation? Abigail Gilmore 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Increased dialogue on whether arts and cultural policy can become more culturally democratic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Panel presentation by mark Taylor at international conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Academic dialogue, capacity building and network building
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Parks as Commons 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Article on cultural commons in action on Voluntary Arts website, also received much attention on Twitter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Policy round-table: The Country and the City: Devising everyday cultural policies for communities on the edge Creative Scotland, Edinburgh, May 2017 A Miles & J Ebrey 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Closed door discussion feeding into policy development and considerations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Research Seminar - invited speaker - Abigail Gilmore - Understanding Everyday Participation in Manchester-Salford 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Increased understanding of subject area
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description The Space to Thrive: Public parks and everyday participation - Abigail Gilmore 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dialogue around recent select committee inquiry into the future of public parks highlighted
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The future of parks in the city and beyond news broadcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Local television broadcast about the saving public parks event, related issues and the role of the project in this including interview by academic A. Gilmore. broadcast repeatedly for two days. available on Tv station web site and project website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.everydayparticipation.org/how-can-we-safeguard-public-parks/
 
Description UEP Hebrides website and blogs 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Website with on going blog reporting on UEP research and experience engaging with the non academic stakeholders involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL https://uephebrides.wordpress.com/author/uephebrides/
 
Description UEP PhD student Susan Oman has discusses student well-being in article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact THES article grounded by UEP PhD student
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/blogs/student-experience-survey-2017-investigating-well...
 
Description UEP panel at BSA 2017 conference: sociology of cultural consumption 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact UEP panel at BSA 2017 conference: sociology of cultural consumption three papers A Miles; J Ebrey; A Gilmore A Leguina much discussion with academic audience and on twitter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017