top of page
Image Gradient
BOP Consulting Logo | HomeButton
Culture: The cornerstone of the UK
image gradient

Image Credit: Jamie Davies on Unsplash

Culture: The cornerstone of the UK’s high streets

Our research into the UK's high streets found that 69% of people think culture on their high street makes their area a better place to live.

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

Planning a new project?

If you are interested to learn more about our work or if you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch.




Arts Council England


Projects Sectors

Culture is experiential in nature and is encompassed by interactions of an intangible nature, whether it be through a theatre performance or a museum showcase. 

But how has the pandemic affected culture on the high street and what kind of place does culture have in a post-pandemic world?

In July 2021, we published our report for Arts Council England on the potential and drive for bringing more cultural experiences to high streets in which we presented a thematic literature review, results from our polling survey, and a series of case studies.

Our key findings:

  • During 2020, with more than 17,500 chain store outlets closing on the high streets, culture has remained more resilient despite the restrictions of the pandemic;

  • Half of adults (50%) reported that they would want to see more cultural experiences on their high streets. Those within the 25-34 age range and those identifying as black Britons expressed this sentiment even more strongly, with 54% and 57% of these respective groups expressing their preference for more cultural experiences along the high street;

  • High streets have an untapped audience with younger people, as evidenced by 25% of those aged 18-25 reporting that they expect to spend more time on high streets post-Covid;

  • About 62% of UK adults agreed that the presence of cultural experiences on the high street increase their civic pride in their local area, particularly for women, those in the North and Midlands, and those aged 55-64.

  • In comparison to retail, culture requires more in-person experiences and therefore may require greater coordination in terms of events and space management, marketing, and place branding.

Strengthening the presence of cultural experiences on the high street can allow local areas to resist widespread closures with the move of retail to online platforms. In particular, in a post-pandemic context, high streets should recentre their purpose around being multifunctional spaces for social connection and building place identity.

You can download the full report below.

Culture and High Streets

This report points to a body of evidence that demonstrates the role culture and creativity plays in attracting footfall to the high street, generating spend and creating civic pride.

Project Report

Culture and High Streets – Final Report

The report outlines the findings from a major study into the international activity of the Arts Council England-supported cultural ecosystem.

International Activity Report

Arts Council England

BOP Consulting was appointed to outline a pilot for a Creative Worker Income Guarantee for Brighton & Hove, working on behalf of the University of Sussex and the ABCD Cultural Recovery Programme. 

Cultural, Creative and Collective Recovery: Exploring a Creative Worker Income Guarantee

University of Sussex

The report on how global cities tackle climate change with cultural policies and programmes. Insights from the World Cities Culture Forum's latest report.

The Green World Cities of Tomorrow: Culture and Sustainability – Special Report Prepared for WCCF Global Conversation

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Unique case guide is co-produced with the participating cities of WCCF, highlighting city examples and a global cities approach to evidenced-based policymaking.

Culture Counts: New Approaches to Evidence Based Cultural Policymaking in World Cities

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Working alongside CRAIC, a new research and collaboration centre at Loughborough University, we conducted an extensive survey of virtual production assets throughout the United Kingdom to map the country’s growing ecosystem.

Mapping the UK's Virtual Production Ecosystem

Loughborough University

The World Cities Culture Report (WCCR) 2022 builds on the ground-breaking 2018 and 2015 Reports. It gives insights on the major challenges world cities facing.

World Cities Culture Report 2022

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

BOP's contribution to the 2nd edition of the report UNESCO's Global Creativity Report, examining policies safeguarding the creative and cultural sectors.

UNESCO's Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity Report – Addressing culture as a global public good


Our strategy will guide the creation of a new digital service aiming at supporting and developing the creative scene in Downtown Kingston.

Leveraging the creative potential of Downtown Kingston through technology

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

Our research into the UK's high streets found that 69% of people think culture on their high street makes their area a better place to live.

Culture: The cornerstone of the UK’s high streets

Arts Council England

BOP’s updated Handbook for the Inter-American Development Bank sets out strategies for sustainability and urban resilience

Creative and Cultural Industries and Urban Revitalisation in the post-COVID era

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We investigated the potential impact of AI for European cultural and creative businesses. Explore the transformative opportunities AI brings to industries.

Opportunities and Challenges of AI for the Cultural and Creative Industries

European Commission

Published today: ‘Design for Good: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards’, a new publication from the RSA, co-authored by BOP

A History of Bright Ideas: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards

The Royal Society for Arts (RSA)

Research in the Gulf Co-operation Council States in collaboration with British Council and BOP Consulting helps identify opportunities for festival development.

An evidence-base for the growing Gulf festivals sector

British Council

Our research into the museum workforce is launched, emphasizing the importance of conscientiousness and advocating for a diverse and well-supported sector.

Conscientiousness, optimism, and curiosity

Museums Galleries Scotland

BOP’s report on creating a healthy night-time economy for the Nanjing City Government demonstrates the importance of cross-cutting policies.

Creating Healthy Night-time Economies in World Cities

Nanjing Creative Center

Findings from our work at Great Ormond Street Hospital reveals how visual arts enhance the patient, visitor, and staff experience.

Creativity in health settings


How is China influencing the future of Cultural Tourism? China's cultural infrastructure projects are redefining the global tourism landscape.

Cultural Infrastructure for the 21st Century

Chengdu Media Group

Our new report for UNESCO sets out the huge global impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector. We estimate $750 billion lost for the CCI and 10 million job cuts.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on the Cultural and Creative Industries


Our analysis of the strengths and challenges of music in the Midlands report published for Arts Council England.

Hitting the right notes in the Midlands

Arts Council England

New handbook 'Making Space for Culture' explores how world cities address the challenge of preserving cultural infrastructure while promoting growth.

How can cities make space for culture?

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Related Projects

Research, Data and Insight

Jonathan Todd - Chief Economist | BOP Consulting

Jonathan Todd

Chief Economist

bottom of page