The Arts Research Monitor, created by Hill Strategies Research in 2002, provides synopses of qualitative and quantitative research findings in the arts and culture. The Monitor should be useful to artists, arts managers, funders, policy makers, researchers and others with an interest in learning more about the arts and culture. The Arts Research Monitor is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.
This brief Scottish report highlighted the statistical relationship between cultural attendance, active participation in culture or sports, and health and life satisfaction based on findings from the 2010/11 Scottish Household Survey, which interviewed nearly 10,000 Scottish adults. The report found that, even after controlling for demographic and other factors, “participation in culture and sport are independently and significantly associated with good health and high life satisfaction”.
Based on five case studies of Canadian and American documentary films, this report argued that documentaries, “coupled with a well-executed social impact strategy, can have substantial impact on social change”. However, the report also acknowledged that “social change involves good luck, good timing, traction of ideas in the broader culture and more than a little magic and zeitgeist.”
Based on qualitative and quantitative evaluations, this report examined the relationship between the arts and well-being among 51 Vancouver seniors who participated in the arts in four community centres. The long-term goal of the project was to “contribute to the development of strong, healthy communities that engage seniors as full and active participants and that value the arts as a key contributor to health”.
Based on a two-year research process, this study attempted to “gain a better understanding of how residents engage with the arts at a community level, explore barriers to arts access, and identify ways to strengthen local arts engagement”. The study’s 17 researchers made “300 connections” including interviews, focus groups, and surveys with 191 “residents, artists, arts groups and social service organizations” in three Toronto neighbourhoods: Malvern, St. James Town, and Weston Mount Dennis.
Beyond simple attendance rates, what can be said of the outcomes of cultural participation? Are there relationships and connections that have broader social impacts? One participant noted that a recent Italian study found a direct correlation between cultural consumption and individual wellbeing. A symposium speaker indicated that Canadian research has shown strong correlations between arts participation and positive social outcomes. The key question of outcomes research, as phrased by one speaker, is “How do we think about healthy places?”