Understanding Well-being Data

chapter 7 Evidencing Culture for Policy

7 Evidencing Culture for Policy

This chapter looks under the bonnet of research, interrogating data and evidence used in social and cultural policy. It looks at data in the culture-well-being relationship in three ways. First, if well-being data can indicate whether policy spend on culture is good for society. Second, a review of two projects that evaluate ‘cultural occupations’ and ‘artistic practice’ in the UK and the US. Despite ostensibly similar approaches with well-being data, different understandings of these categories affect findings. Third, Italian research found ‘cultural access’ was vital to well-being, but its operationalisations are curious in ways that affect the conclusions and recommendations. Understanding well-being data—and the contexts of their use—is critical in appreciating evidence, its limits and uses in social and cultural policy.