This section contains research that looks at the impact of arts and culture. You can use this information when advocating for the value of culture, when compiling funding applications or thinking about how you add value to your communities.

The studies summarised here mostly document the impacts on individuals who engage in arts and culture in some way. A few studies also look at the wider impacts on society as a whole. The best evidence we have on the benefits of cultural engagement is to be found in the education and health and wellbeing sections.

The Impacts section of CultureCase is divided into the following categories:

intrinsic impacts

educational impacts

economic impacts

neighbourhood impacts

health and wellbeing impacts

environmental impacts

international impacts

other social impacts

The summaries in this category are:

Arts engagement has a range of benefits for young people

This research was conducted by Andrew J. Martin and five other people at the University of Sydney and the Australia Council for the Arts


This paper is about the role of arts engagement on the academic and non-academic outcomes of children and young people. It reports a large and multi-faceted …

By | 15 May 2014 |

Cultural activity can improve the health of older people

This research was conducted by Gene D. Cohen and five others at George Washington University and other institutions, USA


This paper reports the results of a study into the effects of a cultural programme on the physical and mental health of the elderly. The research is based on a study …

By | 7 May 2014 |

Lifelong musical experience can offset the effects that ageing has on the brain

This research was conducted by Alexandra Parbery-Clark, Samira Anderson, Emily Hittner, and Nina Kraus at Northwestern University, USA


As people age their brains become slower in processing sound. Musical training is known to strengthen the ability of people’s brains to process sound and so the paper reports the results …

By | 26 April 2014 |

Using talk to affect learning in museums

This research was conducted by Jennifer DeWitt and Jill Hohenstein at King's College London, UK


This paper examined the quality of children’s talk to better understand the ways in which children learn in a museum setting. The research was based upon four separate school visits to the Science …

By | 26 April 2014 |

Instilling innovation: an economic defence of arts and crafts

This research was conducted by Rex LaMore and eight others at Michigan State University, USA


This study examined the artistic experiences of many scientific and technological innovators. Arts education and training can foster one’s ability to innovate – which the authors refer to as 'creative capacity' – in an economically significant …

By | 22 April 2014 |

Using an after-school arts programme to help ‘at-risk’ children

This research was conducted by Michael J. Mason and Susan Chuang at the University of Rochester, USA [Now at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA]


This paper reports the findings from an intervention that sought to prevent anti-social and delinquent behavior amongst children from low-income families in Rochester, New York. They found …

By | 16 April 2014 |

Using contemporary art to explore children’s identity

This research was conducted by Fiona Collins and Susan Ogier at the University of Roehampton, UK


This paper describes what happened when primary school pupils in London participated in a project called Images and Identity, using digital art to interrogate the issue of identity in the context of the European …

By | 16 April 2014 |

Music lessons enhance IQ while drama increases social skills

This research was conducted by Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, Canada


The researchers randomly assigned 144 six year old Canadian children to one of four groups: one received music tuition for the keyboard, another got voice coaching using the Kodaly method, and (by way of contrast …

By | 16 April 2014 |

Helping Parkinson’s sufferers through ballet

This research was conducted by Sara Houston and Ashley McGill at the University of Roehampton, UK


This paper reports the results of a 12 week programme for people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease run by English National Ballet. The researchers observed how people responded to the sessions, conducting tests for …

By | 16 April 2014 |

The arts may improve health, wellbeing and vitality

This research was conducted by Lars Olov Bygren and seven others at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and elsewhere


The paper reports the results of an experiment in which 101 people were randomly assigned to either engage in an arts experience or do nothing artistic at all. The types of …

By | 14 April 2014 |