In a new inquiry the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is to investigate ways in which taking part in the arts, cultural activities and sport can have a positive impact on health, community and education.
Participation in cultural activities has been linked to a wide range of individual and community benefits including health, education and community engagement. Despite this, there is no single cross-Government strategy of support for this work. While music making, for example, has been shown to have benefits for participants' health, opportunities to take part are mostly provided by charities, non-profits and private organisations with little joined-up government assistance (beyond funding through governmental bodies like Arts Council England) to extend their reach and influence.
This new inquiry seeks to
"...draw the Government’s attention to the importance of these activities and ‘join up’ currently separated departmental efforts."
The new inquiry’s focus echoes work by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, (which spent two years assessing the impact of dance classes and other arts interventions on healthcare) which concluded that the arts can help the health service save money, and urged the Government to develop a cross-departmental arts in health strategy.
How can you help?
The inquiry is currently calling for case studies of success from individuals and organisations with 'relevant expertise'.
Making Music will be responding on behalf of the leisure-time music sector as a whole, but we think many of you (as individual music makers or on behalf of your group) will have useful experience, case studies and perspectives on one or more of the key questions asked, so we'd encourage you to consider submitting your own responses as well:
What are the key questions asked?
- Which programmes best demonstrate the positive social impact that participating in sport and culture can have on the five central themes (social mobility, health, crime reduction, education, community engagement and diversity)?
- How can access to cultural and sporting professions be improved to enable greater diversity? How can the Government build a pipeline of talent?
- Why has the Government not co-ordinated its efforts more effectively?
- Where are the examples of departmental best practice and how could it be shared?
- How can museums, galleries and other cultural venues boost access and social impact?
How to respond
Submissions (in the form of a Word doc) are being collected through the inquiry's online 'evidence portal'. The deadline is Thursday 22 February 2018.
When writing your submission:
- State clearly who the submission is from, i.e. whether from yourself in a personal capacity or sent on behalf of an organisation, for example the submission could be headed ‘Written evidence submitted by xxxxxx’
- Be concise – no more than 3,000 words in length, unless otherwise stated in the inquiry terms of reference
- Begin with an executive summary in bullet point form of the main points made in the submission
- Include a brief introduction about yourself/your organisation and your reason for submitting evidence
- Have numbered paragraphs
- Include any factual information you have to offer from which the committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses for their reactions
- Include any recommendations for action by the Government or others which you would like the committee to consider.