Recent UK research, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council Cultural Value Report (2016) and the Future of Cultural Value (2015), highlighted the creative and cultural sector as a motor for urban regeneration, boosting local economies and attracting talent and investment. Responses have warned that this may be at the exclusion of certain communities and forms of culture, favouring the 'spectacular and newly built' (Oakley) over inclusive and long term social development. In parallel, evidence of a shift in emphasis from the ‘hard’ to the ‘soft’ city (from cultural infrastructure and the built environment to people and lived culture) is creating new models and spaces for interaction and production, and going to scale.
As the Industrial Strategy places cultural and creative industries as key to UK future prosperity, this session will explore the shifting role of the arts and cultural sector in the public realm today. What are the new dynamics of social participation and creative enterprise? What challenges do they pose to the complex ecology of institutions, talent, and funding authorities, and with the opportunity to reimagine the city, what can be achieved in terms of impact and sustainability?