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This is the fourth in the RSA's series of pamphlets on 21st century enlightenment. It aims to deepen understanding and generate public discussion as well as enrich the Society’s thinking about its own role in fostering local networks in the name of progress.

The pamphlet concludes that the sector urgently needs to develop a stronger evidence base demonstrating the impact of the arts in fields such as mental health, education and civic engagement.

'Arts Funding, Austerity and the Big Society' is published to coincide with the second State of the Arts conference. In developing a more transparent debate about how to best allocate public funds, it recommends strengthening the case for both artistic and public good instrumentalism.

This will require:

  • More precise definitions of artistic excellence

  • New approaches to engagement

  • Strengthening the networks that link elite arts producers to amateurs and fans

  • A better account of the relationship between artistic participation and individual and social outcomes


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