Recognising and revitalising cultural identity

Project Details

Culture, the arts and creative industries are vital to economic prosperity and social reform. Too often, culture is overlooked by policy-makers as they seek, wrongly, to achieve short-term fixes to long-term challenges. We believe that recognising and revitalising cultural identity must be central to Government’s vision for the future.

Culture is community, because it is part of all of us. It defines both person and place. It shapes our identity both individually and collectively. Yet this understanding of culture can be lost in public policy, despite the fact that our country still faces significant challenges of inequality and social fragmentation.

Culture is also creativity. The UK’s creative sector is the largest in the European Union, and in terms of GDP, the largest in the world. From our curators and directors to our publishers and designers, Britain is rightly recognised as an international leader in the creative industries. We believe that such leadership should be reinforced and advanced, particularly as we exit from the EU and find our feet on the world stage.

Culture is economy. It is more than museums, galleries and film. Sole traders and small businesses represent the majority of this market, fuelling entrepreneurialism and local economic growth. As this Government sets out its new Industrial Strategy, we believe that our designers and makers must beat its heart.

Our programme of work

Through a series of reports, policy innovations, events and political engagement, we plan to explore the following themes of people, place and possession:

  • Culture as Local Identity: Culture goes beyond galleries, performance venues and museums. It also defines us in our social lives as individuals and communities. In the wake of the Brexit vote, and ongoing concerns over the cohesion of British identity, this social dimension to culture becomes central to our national debate.
    Recent ResPublica projects that explore this theme include our popular “Backing Beauty” campaign, where a range of partners worked with us to make the case that the beauty of place has an effect on social wellbeing.
  • Culture at the Heart of City-based Devolution: The Government’s devolution agenda brings new opportunities for cities, local authorities and embedded institutions. There remains a need to attract new investment and talent through the creative industries, to forge a vision that puts culture at the centre of devolved strategy, and to revive and advance the unique cultural identity of communities, towns and cities.
    We are working with a range of cities and local authorities to explore how culture and place can become central to their vision for the future.
  • Creative Industries, Brexit and Industrial Strategy: While the ramifications of Brexit on the creative industries remain unknown, the potential for these sectors to play a key role in driving local growth, job creation and a more diverse, inclusive and innovative economy in Britain is unprecedented.
    We believe that the Government’s Industrial Strategy presents a unique opportunity to review and advance the role of the creative industries in response to Brexit.

Work with us

ResPublica is working with partners to address the challenges and opportunities outlined above. Through our thought-leading publications and curated events, we are helping to shape the national debate. To discuss how your organisation can partner with us, please contact our Head of Policy and Strategy, Dr. James Noyes at