A study of the economic and social impact of the arts in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County
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With public spending on the arts coming under ever greater scrutiny, studies of the economic and social impact of the arts need to make a stronger, more impartial case for the continuation of funding. A number of reports published to date on the economic impact of arts have been criticized for being advocacy driven and containing exaggerated findings. The importance of the cultural and social benefits associated with attendance at arts events has received limited attention: the arts provide a sense of identity and in turn create social cohesion and a sense of community. They contribute to well-being and provide a source of meaning in challenging times. This study of both the economic and social benefits arising from the arts programme supported by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council attempts to identify these benefits using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the impact of selected theatres and venues. The research findings demonstrated a combined economic impact for the festivals and theatres of just over €2 million while providing enriching world class cultural experiences to both residents and non-residents of the county. The venues and festivals in this study form a vital cultural and recreational asset for the residents of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and greater Dublin while enhancing the image of the County. The findings suggest there are opportunities to increase engagement with current audiences and to further develop new audiences. Recommendations are made in this respect.
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