Arts and the 'big society'

Arts and the 'big society'

By François Matarasso


This article suggests we need to think about what the 'big society' means to us as individuals and organisations - and what we want from it. Taking themes such as participation, communication, consultation and testing, the author outlines a selection of projects which take a 'big society' approach by using the arts to empower internal and external audiences.

It is important to understand that people do not just benefit from culture, they benefit from participating in culture. Think about organising an event, proofing a brochure or other outcome driven tasks. It is not just the outcome that is fun or rewarding; it is the process of getting there that one often enjoys the most. This is the same when asking people to get involved in your organisation. Ensuring they are content in when participating will give you a much stronger advocate and volunteer.

There are some great examples of ‘Big Society’ already in action in the North West, these include:

Imperial War Museum North & the In Touch project - making sure that a broad variety of people work in the spaces makes a difference to how people feel about being there.

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Communication Participation
Resource type: | Published: 2013