We all understand there are societal benefits from establishing new public transport links or creating green spaces in a heavily polluted city. This is because for years, the sectors of Transport and Environment have been able to demonstrate their social value to policymakers and the public by using government-recommended valuation methods. Subsequent transparent decision making around funding, has benefitted these sectors as a result. Meanwhile, the culture and heritage sectors have been left behind. Until now.
Since launching the Culture and Heritage Capital Programme in 2021, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published tools and advice based on Simetrica-Jacobs research. Together, we aim to empower institutions of cultural and heritage significance to independently demonstrate their value to society by providing them with the tools to do so. It is envisioned that this new approach will not only lead to informed decision making, but ultimately will serve to protect arts, culture and heritage with funding to promote and preserve our cultural heritage for years to come.
This research and accompanying guidance notes are now available on the DCMS Culture and Heritage Capital Portal alongside the recent Valuing Culture and Heritage Capital Conference. We have written this article as a quick guide to using these documents to realising your value.
An introduction to the importance of the Culture and Heritage Capital Framework
The value of culture and heritage often goes unevidenced and consequently, unseen. But we all feel it when we admire a historical building, when we stroll through public museums and art galleries, or when we flick through the pages of a book lent to us by our local library. And even if we aren’t the ones visiting our local library, we are happy knowing that others are able to do so.
When government funding is distributed, it is important it is done so to maximise its positive impact on society. While historically, these decisions may have only been influenced by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment, efforts are now being made to account for the cultural and wellbeing benefits provided by our museums and theatres. Simetrica-Jacobs has conducted research together with DCMS, Arts Council England (ACE), Historic England, and the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre led by Nesta. We have calculated many of these cultural and social values, so you don’t have to.
The DCMS Benefit Transfer Table of Economic Values for Culture
The DCMS Benefit Transfer Table of Economic Values for Culture contains over 170 monetary figures for culture and heritage assets to be used by museums, art galleries, theatres, and more.
Within the ‘Culture and Heritage Capital Evidence Bank’, there are values for specific sites, such as the British Museum and Tate Liverpool, but also the wellbeing value associated with visiting museums, the general public’s value of accessing heritage gardens and values associated with living close to restored British canals.
In here, you can find specific values to help you secure funding for your institution. To help you through this process, Guidance Notes published by the ACE, walk you through how to select and apply these values in your own business case. You will be directed to the links below.
Sector-Specific Regional Guidance
Whether you are a regional museum in a UK city or a local museum in a rural town, the ACE Regional Museums Guidance Note or Local Museums Guidance Note have been written for you. Visual and performance arts have also been considered. The ACE Theatres Guidance Note has been created for performance theatres based in regional cities, whereas the ACE Galleries Guidance Note has been created for large art galleries.
It is important for organisations to get to grips with this framework now to ensure they are at the front of this new wave of thinking about the value of cultural heritage. Without considering and calculating these social and cultural values we are risking valuable evidence and subsequent funding to protect our cultural heritage.
Cannot find a value you’re looking for or still unsure how to use it? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Hazel Cranmer