Ashley Smith-Hammond

Published in March 2017, the Social and Economic Impact of Innovation was an evidence review produced by ERS Research and Consultancy for Nesta and the Arts Council of Wales. Although it takes a Welsh perspective, arts organisations in Scotland will find useful insights.


This wide-ranging report looks at the evidence available regarding the social and economic impact of the arts sector. It includes resources that can be used to support strategic planning as well as to help design arts projects and assess their impact.


  • The evidence review finds that diversity is rather limited across UK arts audiences. Both physical and societal factors can be barriers to engagement with the arts, but cases are emerging that show that digital technology has been applied successfully to overcome these.
  • Arts activities have been shown to contribute towards tackling poverty and disadvantage. Detailed analysis of these impacts, however, is currently lacking.
  • There is particularly strong economic data for the arts sector in Wales. In addition to growth in income, the country showed a high output from the cultural sector. However, the report surmises that while promising, this growth is not universal and at the moment it is probable that many organisations are contracting or being forced to use their backup funds if they are lucky enough to have any.

You can access the full report here.


more like this

This series is highlighting a range of relevant research reports. Read the summaries:

Watch for the summary of World Cities Culture Finance Report in the coming weeks.


Main image credit: Innovation by Helgi Halldórsson (CC BY-SA 2.0)