The Contribution of Culture to Local and Regional Development
Evidence from the Structural Funds
Joint project of CSES (UK) with the ERICarts Institute, the latter has been supported by the Budapest Observatory
Mike Coine (CSES) and Andreas Wiesand (ERICarts),
with contributions from Danielle Cliche, Olivier Göbel, Péter Inkei and János Zoltán Szabó.
The authors of individual projects assessments can be found under Research Teams.
European Commission (DG Education and Culture)
While culture is recognised as an important factor for economic development and the attractiveness of European regions and cities, its contributions to EU cohesion and regional policy are are less known. The study - which has been carried out in 2009 and 2010, including a conference held in Brussels in late 2009 - was to address this gap by providing evidence of the range of contributions made by the cultural and creative sector to the objectives of EU cohesion policy since 2000. In order to back this up, the ERICarts Institute and its national correspondents collected and assessed ca. 80 "cultural" projects which had received support from EU Structural Funds. Around 40 examples of this collection were used to illustrate the contributions in the Final Report.
Each example is presented in a separate project fiche, while the study itself is accompanied by an online practical information kit. The latter provides details of culture's place in development supported by the Structural Funds (SF) and is addressed both to cultural operators and to regional policy managers.
The study's main conclusion is that resources available for culture-based interventions under the SF are, at present, not in line with the size, dynamics and potential benefits of the European creative sector.
Since the implementation of the SF objectives and decision about the distribution of financial incentives is, for the most part, the responsibility of local and regional level administrations (Operational Programmes), a longer-term and more strategic approach to culture-based development is required at these levels and in national policy making. This should be mainstreamed into development strategies that are integrated and built on partnerships between public authorities, cultural organisations, relevant business circles and representatives of civil society.
With this aim in view, the study lays out a typology of culture-based activities contributing to regional development and proposes a model for an integrated strategy that can be used as the basis for investment in culture at a local or regional level.