The Connectivity of the Arts and Humanities: New Analysis of Missing Links (CBR project)


Project outline

This research examines the role of the arts and humanities in the UK economy. It provides evidence on the connectivity of the arts and humanities, enhancing our understanding of knowledge exchange, the Creative Economy and cultural capital. This brings the multiple connections of the Creative Economy – between arts and humanities research, cultural institutions and the creative industries – into one study. The project is broken down into modules.

There is significant evidence that academics from the arts and humanities in the UK are engaged in a wide range of interactions with a wide range of partners. Previous research by the CBR shows that, in general, this does not take the form of technology transfer through patents, licences and spin-outs, but through other mechanisms which include people-based, problem-solving and community-orientated activities (Hughes et al, 2011).

Module 1 will supplement the previous research by providing an analysis of large-scale qualitative data. In addition to providing responses which could be analysed using quantitative techniques, the CBR survey of academics allowed respondents to provide individual comments about their academic life, motivations and knowledge exchange activities. This module will analyse these responses using the Leximancer software which is an analytical tool for evaluating unstructured, qualitative, textual data. 

Previous CBR research covered surveys of academics and the private sector. Module 2 will complete that picture by focusing on cultural institutions in the public and third sectors. A new survey will reveal, in combination with the previous surveys, the multiple connections of the Creative Economy, including arts and humanities research, cultural institutions and the creative industries. This will be the first UK-wide survey that focuses on these multiple links. This module will complement and enhance Hidden Connections, providing new evidence on the Creative Economy, and will also form part of the foundation for the development of Module 3.

In the current period of austerity, there has been an increasing focus on the needs to rebalance the economy and achieve sustainable economic growth. There is widespread debate on how competitiveness can be fostered and increased. Traditionally, it has been argued that competitiveness can be improved through improvement in physical capital (through firms) and human capital (by improving the skills of workers). But there have also been arguments that skilled workers and physical capital tend to be concentrated in clusters because of the so-called benefits of ‘agglomerations’. It is often argued that skilled workers (especially the ‘creative classes’) tend to be attracted to locations that have ‘buzz’. Module 3 will examine how the arts and humanities (including academia) can contribute to such ‘buzz’ and so the competitiveness of locations.

Principal investigators

  • Alan Hughes
  • Michael Kitson


  • Anna Bullock
  • Isobel Milner