The role of grassroots arts activity in communities: a scoping study

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Institute of Applied Social Sciences


Research undertaken by the Third Sector Research Centre (McCabe, Phillimore and Mayblin: 2010) identified the lack of knowledge about the impact of amateur or grassroots arts activity on individuals and communities. This report sets out the findings of a scoping study which assessed the learning about the impacts of the amateur arts from the academic and grey literature across a range of disciplines. It also includes a brief discussion of findings from a day conference held with amateur arts organisations in October 2011.

The study identified a range of impacts and outcomes. For individuals, participation in amateur arts could promote their mental health and wellbeing. Some involved, particularly young people, made the transition from amateur arts to paid employment in the creative industries. Improvements in educational attainment and functioning in the work-place were also reported as positive outcomes. Claims were made about the economic role arts activities play in communities: through the hire of village halls, the management of local assets, equipment hire or the employment of professional artists in, for example, preparing for performances. However in this, and other areas, there was a lack of empirical evidence exploring or quantifying the exact nature of impact.


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Description To brief the then Government Minister for the Arts
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Creative Economy
Impact Types Policy & public services