Meeting 1: Culture and Wellbeing

The first in the latest series of APPG meetings on Wellbeing Economics was held on 11th December 2013 under the heading “Culture and Wellbeing”. The role that evidence about wellbeing plays in shaping policy on cultural activities was discussed.



Tony Butler, Happy Museum

Daniel Fujiwara, London School of Economics and Happy Museum

Charlotte Jones, Independent Theatre Council

Alan Davey, Arts Council

Gareth Maeer, Heritage Lottery Fund

Dave O’Brien, City University London

Group Members

David Lammy MP, Helen Goodman MP, Lord (Alan) Howarth


It emerged from the discussion that evidence about wellbeing could be used to serve three key roles:

  • To make a case for increased spending on culture by attaching monetary values to the benefits created by participation in cultural activities
  • To help policy makers maximise the impact of culture policy in terms of increasing wellbeing by understanding whose wellbeing benefits most from different cultural activities, and understanding how cultural policy may be complimentary to policy in other sectors, such as health
  • To help those working in the industry to maximise the impact of their work in terms of increasing wellbeing, by using the evidence to encourage cultural providers to think about the purpose of their work, and inform their strategic decision making,

It was stated that more research is needed in this area to pinpoint which aspects of culture benefit wellbeing, and to be able to prove causation in order to better inform action in these areas.

Full notes of the meeting are available here.