Our Stories

What stories do arts and cultural organisations want and need to share about the value of their work? How has the Relative Values methodology helped arts and cultural organisations to tell their stories?

Below we have shared our theoretical framework for the project, the different ways we have put these theoretical principles into practice, and also some of the results we have achieved through partnership and collaboration with arts and cultural organisations. 

Relative Values evolved from a discussion between Brazilian economist Leandro Valiati and British theatre academic Paul Heritage about developing a research methodology that would enable arts and cultural organisations to produce new narratives about the impact of their work. The starting point for their discussion was that the creative industries have been promoted as a source of productivity and development by the UK and Brazil, but the evidence and justification for their value is focused on direct economic impact, such as the sector’s contribution to GDP.

Such measures have rightly been criticised as inadequate. Cultural activities produce multidimensional impacts, and need to be measured and understood using multidimensional tools.  

Video Statements

from Paul Heritage

Paul Heritage talks about the concept of Relative Values and how the methodology has been applied so far in three different contexts.

“We’ve been thinking together about how can arts organisations count the value of their work. What is that relative value, in terms of the way in which they provide health, well-being, security, employment? We know that the arts are great at doing that sort of thing, but we’re not always so good at finding ways to tell that story.

“Of course, we can use case studies. We can look at what happens to a particular participant or group of participants during the work with that arts organisation, and afterwards. But we wanted to try and find a way that we could produce evidence … that arts organisations themselves could learn and acquire new tools to look at how their work has impact.”

As Director of People’s Palace Projects, Paul Heritage puts performance at the frontier of research on social transformation in prisons, favelas and in indigenous territories, forging new connections between academics, artists, activists and audiences.  His current focus is on the relationship between arts and wellbeing, cultural value, and the role of the arts in tackling the climate emergency and environmental disasters.

You can learn more about Paul and his work here: QMUL site and here: PPP site.

from Leandro Valiati

Leandro Valiati provides an overview of the questions and challenges being explored in Relative Values as we develop ways for cultural initiatives to produce quantifiable socio-economic evidence about the cultural value they generate. The aim is to support policy-makers, funders and practitioners working in the creative sector in the UK and Brazil.

As Valiati says: “We understand that it is absolutely relevant to co-create … how the multidimensional value of culture can be narrated in a slightly more objective way, and how this can become a decision-making tool for policymakers and cultural agents, to generate power in the narratives about the socioeconomic relevance of art and culture. Wellbeing should be the great aim of a society’s economic efforts”.

Leandro Valiati has been tenured Professor of Economy of Culture at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul; founder and director of the Centre of Creative Industries and Cultural Economics (NECCULT); senior advisor to the former Brazilian Ministry of Culture; and recognized, in 2018, as an Exceptional Talent in Global Leadership for the Creative Industries by the British Academy (UK).

Currently, he is an Associate of People’s Palace Projects and of QMUL Network Centre for the Creative and Cultural Economy, a Visiting Professor at Labex-ICCA (Sorbonne, Paris 13), a member of the International Council of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (NESTA/AHRC) and Senior Policy Fellow of the Global Policy Institute at QMUL.

You can learn more about Leandro’s work here: PPP site.


Creative economy and disparities Inspirations and challenges from Cool Britain to a Creative Brazil

This article provides an overview of the concept of Creative Economy, and considers its position in relation to contemporary capitalist development. Since 2000 Brazil’s public policies for the creative industries have been modelled on many of the approaches adopted by the United Kingdom which has itself looked to Brazil for inspiration in cultural policies that stimulate social development. This article examines the historical relationship between policy making in Brazil and the UK, and explores the ways each country’s creative industries have evolved in respect to this. Considering the structural differences between the UK and Brazilian models, as well as the different ways the creative industries have evolved in each context, the ambition of this article is to locate the debate in a contemporary vision for global development, and consider the wider implications of the world’s dominant economic systems.