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The Spillover Effect

New evidence for the broader impacts of the arts, culture and creative industries

Last month, the European Research Partnership on Cultural and Creative Spillovers (CCS) launched its latest publication. This looks to better understand how the arts, culture and creative industries have a broader impact – on places, society or the economy.

Spillovers are defined here as: “The process by which activities in the arts, culture and creative industries has a subsequent broader impact on places, society or the economy through the overflow of concepts, ideas, skills, knowledge and different types of capital”.

Partnered with a range of organisations from 14 countries across the EU, such as national cultural funding agencies, regional cultural development bodies, and organisations operating Europe-wide, it provides key case studies and examples of new best practice. Some interesting headlines and associated case studies included:

  • Spillovers effects are often strongly linked to each other and often emerge together rather than appearing in isolation (Cupore Center for Cultural Policy Research, Finland)
  • Outsourcing activities trigger employment spillovers in other sectors. A diverse range of products and services are required from suppliers, many of whom are located beyond the locality of a cultural activity (e.g. a festival or event), spreading the related spillovers over many sectors, such as logistics, PR and video production, and across a wide geographical area (Lucca Comics & Games festival, Italy)
  • To nurture and develop this spillover effect, it’s important to balance ‘elitism’ (dedicated creative workshops and consulting for businesses) and ‘egalitarianism’ (open, free access to creative lectures and workshops, and festivals for children, senior citizens and others). Achieving this balance is a significant challenge for organisations, but can be done through maintaining a culture of transparency, honesty and openness (Concordia Design, Poland)
  • In the cases of annual festivals, a key spillover outcome is a positive experience of a sense of belonging and connectiveness among people from different cultures, social backgrounds and generations (Rotterdam Unlimited festival, Rotterdam).

These findings speak directly to some of our own research; demonstrating that cultural practice and process often spills over into both expected and unintentional areas and agendas. Notably, our research into Ireland’s live entertainment sector, our ‘Silicon Spa’ growth strategy, and our impact study for Edinburgh Festivals.

Further findings and CCS’s full report can be downloaded here.

- Joshua Dedman, Researcher