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The Design Museum in Kensington High Street exceeded its projected target of 650,000 in the first year but only 20% were prepared to pay for visiting an exhibition. Many will not need to make a return visit if the main purpose was to see the refurbished building. The impact on Kensington High Street has been imperceptible – it was supposed to have a regenerating effect.
On the other hand, Hull will have had three times the visitors and UK City of Culture 2017 has rekindled investment and a burning pride in the city – although it was always there!
Stupid article – investment in culture should not only be evaluated by ‘economic impact’ – the social, educational and placemaking factors are of equal importance. Economic benefits of investment in culture are often not seen until many years down the line – but in my experience inward investment almost always follows culture if the investment is strategic and sustained!? The Middlesbrough Museum of Modern Art (MIMA) case study / reference is ridiculous and inaccurate – MIMA is part of the thriving Teesside University and provides a programme of arts / culture activities and outreach that the local population are immensely proud of and which is internationally recognised as world leaders for accessibility, community cohesion and inclusion.
In general I agree with your blog. Manchester’s many large cultural institutions are wonderful in their own right but have little role to play in addressing Manchester’s long-term ingrained poverty as evidenced by some of the worst health stats in England.
However, culture is about more than large institutions and I think you should have made that a lot clearer in your blog. At a community level cultural approaches do have a major role to play in bottom-up regeneration.
Investment in culture helps the diversification of areas which have lost a significant part of their economic base. It encourages people with skills to stay and attracts new talent. The Directors of Baltic, Mima and Sage, Gateshead are a case in point.
In the ‘North East Case for Culture’ we argued that support for culture creates a greater sense of distinctiveness in a place, based on cultural identity.