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The Ecology of Culture

Date uploaded: February 13, 2015

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has published a report by John Holden, Visiting Professor City University, London, called the 'Ecology of Culture'. The report argues that the UK’s cultural ecology is intensively interlinked, with many strengths, but also points of vulnerability.

Based on interviews with 38 cultural practitioners and experts from across the cultural field, the report covers a wide variety of cultural forms, including the visual arts, dance, fashion, choral music, popular music, and film.

The report examines the interdependencies of publicly funded culture, commercial culture and homemade culture that interact and “shape the demand for and production of arts and cultural offerings”. The report suggests that rather than seeing these interactions as an economy, they are better understood through an ecological approach that “concentrates on relationships and patterns, showing how careers develop, ideas transfer, money flows, and product and content move, to and fro, around and between the funded, homemade and commercial subsectors”.

Professor Holden said: “It is more helpful to understand culture in terms of how it is organized, rather than simply stating what it does. The use of ecological metaphors creates a rich way of discussing culture, and different perspectives then emerge. New taxonomies, new visualisations, and fresh ways of thinking about how culture operates will help promote a rich, diverse and fruitful cultural ecology.”

The full report can be downloaded below or for more information click here.

Download AHRC Ecology of Culture.pdf(581 KB)