Createquity Evidence Matrix for Arts Impact on Wellbeing.xlsx
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WELLBEING AREACLAIMAssessmentPractical SignificanceLevel of ConfidenceSupporting EvidenceMixed EvidenceCounter-vailing EvidenceTheoretical notes
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Psychological and Emotional wellbeing Cultural engagement helps to improve understanding of oneself, including being able to reflect on different aspects of one's own life.TRUEMediumLowManchester, Petts: CVP project exploring cultural value among teenagers conducted focus groups and found that youth across demographic characteristics (age, gender, class) see arts and cultural activities as means of reflecting on their lives and identities. Especially listening to and making music, and watching films (p.43).Two CVP workshops exploring collaborations between artists and scientists found that art often provokes reflection and develops creative spaces that challenge conventional ways of thinking in scientific disciplines (for instance, scientists may become less risk-averse or more speculative when working with artists). However, there is less knowledge about the actual processes that facilitate these new ways of thinking (p.45).Trooby & Cosmides (2001): Contributions of cultural engagement to human development incude "skills of understanding and skills of valuing, skills of feeling and skills of perceiving, skills of knowing and skills of moving" (p.46).
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Hancock (1993): Young people that engage with literature go through a process of identification and evaluation (reflecting on characters motives and feelings and comparing to their own), which helps shape understanding of themselves (p.43).For offenders, there are a number of factors that contribute to one's likelihood to reoffend after being released from prison. While arts activities benefit participants individually, there is no clear relationship between personal change and instrumental benefits, like greater impact on reoffending rates. Other issues among such studies include small sample sizes, selection bias, and inability to capture longer-term effects once offenders have left prison (p.49).Desistance, the process of personal change among ex-offenders, has been theorized to have certain indicators. Girodana et al (2002) propose that they are: "improved confidence, motivation and self-esteem, an ability to accept ambiguity, to form more open and positive relationships, and developing an identity as someone who sees options and is willing to go through the learning process to achieve an alternative future." Analyses of arts programs in prisons have thus shifted gears, focusing more on personal change among offenders, rather than reoffending rates (p.47).
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Lambert: Ethnography-based CVP project in which teenagers undergoing cancer treatment engaged in creative activities, allowing them to reflect on issues they face as patients, and present more complex stories about their lives/experiences. Also affected their caregivers (p.43).
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Reinelt (CVP): Noting a difference between affective and cognitive responses to cultural engagement, researchers found that the value theatergoers attribute to a performance changes over time, reflecting on sensory elements immediately after, followed by thoughts about themes and ideas in the play, in relationship to other aspects of their lives and times (p.44).
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Winters: Ethnography-based CVP project on older adults in a dance group found that "the affective experience of dancing has a formative and re-configurative impact on the participants' self-identity." Many participants distinguished between an authentic self that emerges through dance, versus a self that is performed in daily life (p.45).
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Davis: CVP project among health and care groups found that literature read in groups facilitates a non-linear, back-and-forth mode of learning that generate different kinds of understanding, both within texts and personal experiences (p.46).
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Social/CivicParticipation in the arts, through some mechanism, creates a greater capacity for individuals to work together with others in their region or community to solve problemsTRUEMediumLowVia Crossick 2016, Putnam 1994 found a connection between responsiveness to regional needs in Italian governments and choral groups and theorized that the arts improve social capital. ...Subsequent studies have represented core issues in different guises: mutual trust and co-operation within communities for the benefit of all (Kay, 2000; Kay & Watt, 2000), community cohesion and ‘enhanced, collectively felt sentiments of solidarity’ (Lowe, 2000), and the ability of cultural infrastructure to ‘anchor local identities’ and engender ‘a sense of belonging to a community’. (Holden, 2006). All studies found some evidence of these concepts, but they are fuzzy and varied in their definitions.Stern and Siefert 2014, did not find a correlation between arts assets and self-reported social cohesion measures by neighborhood in Philadelphiavia Crossick 2016, Gordon-Nesbitt suggests that social capital is an umbrella term that is too broad for good measurement, suggests thinking about composite approach made up of "social support, social participation and networks,
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and trust and reciprocity"
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CVP project looking at evaluations of Creative Partnership Program (a large scale government program in England where creative practitioners work with schools) concluded that "that the programme ‘contributed to empowerment, understanding of one’s own identity, the ability to collaborate and the development of skills and personal attributes’, as well as facilitating ‘taking action, having an awareness and understanding of global issues, understanding one’s own beliefs and accepting and using broad democratic social norms.’ (Thomson CVP Report Creative Partnerships, p.15).
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Gifts of the Muse, the authors theorize that the community benefits from creating art involve building a sense of community identity and trust through the creation of social bonds between participating members. Of course, art is not the only means of producing these benefits, but McCarthy et al. surmise that perhaps the communicative nature of the arts and the personal nature of creative expression may make joint arts activities particularly conducive to building social capital.
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Matarasso 1997 found case study and self-reported evidence that participatory arts (specifically) are a popular way to become involved in community activities and build participants’ organizational skills and capacity, and that arts activities contribute to social cohesion by bringing people together, providing neutral spaces for friendships, and encouraging partnership and cooperation.
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The lack of evidence may have more to do with a lack of clarity about what "social capital" really means and how it improves outcomes for a community or region.... see theoretical notes column for more information from Crossick.
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Wali (2001)'s ethnographic study of informal arts in Chicago found that one benefit of the activities was their encouragement of collaborative work habits.
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Material Wellbeing Arts and cultural activities result in economic output in spending and employment.MixedMediumMediumCultural Satelite Accounts in specific countries (US, UK) demonstrate this at a basic level, and it is also somewhat self-evident. (Crossick 2016)A review of 36 studies by the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth (2014) found that the effects of cultural facilities on local employment are limited at best. This review included both cultural and sports facilities, and was weighted toward the latter."Cultural satellite accounts are a work in progress
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with considerable potential, though constructing them is time consuming and expensive. One of their major advantages is the possibility of systematizing a variety of statistical data (social, demographic, economic, financial and cultural), so that it can be used not only for measuring the economic contribution of cultural industries, but also for analysing cultural phenomena in a broad sense."
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Dozens of economic impact studies show a relationship between arts activities and organizations and jobs/spending, though the methodology of these have been repeatedly criticized (e.g., Markusen & Gadwa, 2010).Crossick (2016) describes an "impact assessment carried out for Festivals Edinburgh by BOP ... [whose] economic calculations followed Green Book principles and assiduously sought to measure only the additional expenditure. Taking displacement and deadweight into account meant that only 3 per cent of expenditure by local residents was deemed additional, in contrast to 85 per cent for visitors from elsewhere in Scotland and 79 per cent for those from outside Scotland."
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Cebr’s study of the cultural sector for Arts Council England argued that additionality was not relevant, because the sector already existed and its impact in its current form would therefore suffice (Cebr, 2013).
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Sheppard et al (2006) makes a convincing mixed-methods case that the development of MASS MoCA caused overall job and spending growth in North Adams, MA in the years following its opening. However, it is unclear whether any comparable investment would have had the same effect.
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HealthArts therapies contribute to positive clinical outcomes, such as reduction in anxiety, stress, and pain for patients.TRUEMedium+High Staricoff (2004) review of 400+ papers about the health benefits of the arts identified a number of impacts for arts therapies, including visual art and music helping to reduce anxiety and depression among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy; the association between music and reduction in anxiety and blood pressure in cardiovascular care; and reduction in use of pain medicine following surgery. A subsequent review by Bungay et al (CVP) found that music dominated most studies, and that it had a generally positive effect on anxiety, stress and pain reduction among patients (p.101).Sarkamo et al (2008) examined the impact of music listening on post-stroke recovery of cognitive functions and mood (60 patients randomly assigned to music, language, and control groups). "After the two-month intervention, there was greater improvement in focused attention, verbal memory and levels of depression amongst those who listened to music than amongst the other two groups." However, the study notes that effects may not necessarily be attributed to the arts intervention, but rather, an enjoyable stimulus, period (p.102). This is true of arts therapies broadly, especially those examining changes in mental health, which are more difficult to measure than physical conditions.From Gifts of the Muse: Research on the other effects is generally weak, suffering from poor design or relying heavily on subjective information (for example, subjects’ self-reports).
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Petrie (2004) conducted a study in which HIV-infected patients engaged in creative writing (wrote on an emotional topic 30-min a day for 4 days). The researchers found that HIV viral loads improved both immediately and over a 6-month period, while loads remained stable for the control group (p.102).
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