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The Spillover Effect
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The Spillover Effect

Being able to make this argument in clear, tangible ways that can help influence those developing policy is crucial for the sector in lobbying Brussels. 


So it was natural that this was a central theme of the Forum d’ Avignon Ruhr, a major European conference in windswept Essen, expertly moderated by BOP’s Paul Owens.


Although there is excitement around spillovers (and already a fairly substantial library of research) there are few of the hard numbers favoured by decision makers. In their absence, here are two of the best stories we heard at the event:


  1. Creative England seed-funded a documentary investigating Birmingham’s gangs. When the gang leaders looked for rapprochement, it was the documentary filmmaker who had the strongest relationship with the leaders and who could broker the deal. Crime has fallen since – an example of the creative industries bringing about social change.

  2. Artists brought in to a pesticide firm decided they didn’t feel comfortable working with it, because of the awful environmental impact of its products. Instead, they worked with the CEO to push for a more dramatic change – his personal guarantee that negative environmental consequences would be offset. When the firm struggled to breed more flies (to compensate for those killed) without irritating residents, they instead chose to treat one fly exceptionally well, taking it by helicopter to a spa. A symbolic (and entertaining) approach that typifies how cultural actors can help an organisation change radically.


These are great stories but as a sector we need to be realistic about the limitations of using this sort of evidence. It is hard… dare I say it… to make proper decisions around spending public money based on stories. Data is never perfect but is at least comparable and structured. Would we ask the health sector to distribute funds based on similar stories?


So, it was great news to hear another announcement that the European Centre for Creative Economy and Arts Council England have kicked off a research partnership to investigate these spillovers in more detail and bring some of this research together. This may tie in with the European Commission’s own scientific research agenda, which is likely to mean some solid numbers get developed. And if that helps make a stronger case for the cultural and creative industries, that can only be a good thing.

Creative Industries 'Spillovers'

Headlines from this week’s Forum d’ Avignon Ruhr

May 25, 2014

Green Cities helping climate change through culture and sustainability

Nov 4, 2021

How are major cities around the world responding to climate change through cultural policies and programmes?

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability

Paul Owens

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Apr 22, 2021

5 Priorities for World Cities in the post-covid recovery period

Culture and the Climate Emergency

Paul Owens

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Dec 4, 2020

Culture can play an important role in recovery and renewal across the UK, if the right local decision-making is put in place

Culture and the Recovery: Levelling Up Culture?

Callum Lee

Central London’s celebrated

Sep 23, 2020

This focused, coordinated set of measures can not only rescue the sector, but position it to lead the recovery

Central London’s celebrated cultural offer is in peril

Jonathan Todd

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Aug 21, 2020

Three big questions as applications close for Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #3

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Jul 30, 2020

The UK’s £1.57 billion recovery package: priorities for a New Deal

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #2

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Jul 20, 2020

Cities are using their unique capabilities to lead recovery and renewal

COVID-19: Cities, Culture and the 3 ‘P’s: powers, partnerships, place

Paul Owens

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Jul 7, 2020

Investing in recovery, planning for transformation

COVID-19: Government support packages for culture and creative industries #1

Paul Owens

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Jun 30, 2020

Recovery and renewal will depend on how we address the three dimensions of the crisis

COVID-19 is a triple blow to culture and the creative industries

Paul Owens

Take planning and collaboration to whole a new level.

Jun 3, 2020

In the face of radical uncertainty leaders and policy-makers will have to take planning and collaboration to whole a new level

‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’

Paul Owens

Relief, Recovery and Renewal

May 13, 2020

Nobody knows what will happen next, but we have a good idea of the three necessary steps out of the crisis

Relief, Recovery and Renewal: navigating our way to a new kind of future

Paul Owens

The Golden Thread in the 2020s

Dec 20, 2019

A cause for optimism

Weaving the Golden Thread into the 2020s

Paul Owens

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By BOP Consulting

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director

Paul is a leading international advisor and practitioner in cultural policy and creative economy. He is Co-Founder of BOP, and alongside his fellow directors he has pioneered now well-established methods to measure the impact of cultural policy. 

Paul Owens - Founder and Director | BOP Consulting

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Paul Owens

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director