Future Trends: Reasons to co-create
Part of the Future Trends series, published as part of the Warwick UK Cities of Culture Project and commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Co-creating is difficult so why do it. This paper looks at what makes co-creation valuable to those who participate and how to evaluate it.
Co-creating is difficult, so why do it? Co-creation is a popular term but the outcomes of co-creative practices and the reasons for doing it—the justifying whys—are poorly understood.
This is a problem because, arguably, the value of co-creation cannot be understood independently of the reasons for which people co-create.
We suggest that the value of co-creation is best understood in terms of what makes co-creation meaningful to those who participate and that it is best evaluated in accordance with the objectives reflecting these reasons: the whys of co-creation described in this paper. This evaluation approach can be developed further through arts and humanities research and tested in future Cities of Culture.
‘Co-creation’ is used to refer to a rapidly expanding body of ideas and practice. But co-creating is not simple. It is resource consuming and logistically taxing, so, why co-create?
The starting point of this paper is that while co-creation has become a popular term, the outcomes of co-creative practices and, more importantly, the reasons for doing it —the justifying whys—are poorly understood.
Drawing on the experience of Coventry as UK City of Culture 2021 we ask: why engage in co-creation during place-based interventions? What can we expect to come out of it?
These questions should be of interest to cultural practitioners, audiences, academics, and policy-makers, who all have stakes in co-creation.
We answer these questions by focusing on the following:
1) What is co-creating?
2) What good is co-creating?
3) Why co-create?
4) Why co-create in the context of Coventry UK CoC 2021?
5) What are the future trends and recommendations for policy, practice, and research?
The Future Trends series, published as part of the Warwick UK Cities of Culture Project and commissioned by the AHRC, discusses ways of thinking about the value of culture: the importance of research in understanding the place of culture in everyday lives, its impact on local people, society, economy and wellbeing and prosperity at large; and how this research-informed approach connects with the needs of policy making