The activities of the SIG have so far consisted of a combination of national and international workshops and a series of one to one meetings between the Chair of the Group, Robert Crawshaw, and a range of experts: theorists, practitioners and policy-makers based mainly in the UK.  These have led to a number of on-line reports and publications (see below)

An initial workshop sponsored jointly by The Institute for Social Futures, Lancaster University and the CLE Forum was held at The Free Word Centre, London on Tuesday June 14th, 2016 .

The workshop, attended by colleagues from the UK, France, Poland and Italy explored the concept of ‘Cultural Literacy’ as a field of research and considered the contribution it might make to the position of Arts and Humanities Research in the UK and Europe more generally (view more for complete report).

The London Workshop was followed in May 2017 by a joint presentation/discussion as part of the biennial CLE conference held at the Polish Academy of Sciences at Warsaw.

The Warsaw panel presented proposals for a work programme involving a series of five workshops to be conducted between 2017 and 2019 by a network of six universities: Lancaster, Kings London, Bath Spa, the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the University of Łódź, the Institut National des Langues et Cultures Orientales, Paris and the Tate Museum, Liverpool. The programme’s objective was to promote cooperation between researchers and practitioners already engaged in the integration of cultural practice and social life in different areas of the arts:  writing, filmmaking, music and performance and exhibition.  An extended network of collaboration had been established with cultural agencies and creative practitioners in the UK and with schools in those areas.  It was to be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the England and Wales (AHRC).

In the event, in the absence of AHRC support, the programme of workshops was replaced by a series of in-depth one to one interview/discussions with leading practitioners in the UK and abroad.  These would be written up by the Chair over the subsequent two years and form the basis of an overview study of the field.

The outcome of the first phase of interviews led to a detailed report which was presented in outline at the CLE Forum in Prato, Italy in July 2018.  The interviews incorporated a one-day workshop at Bath Spa University on 21st February 2018 focusing on Music, Performance and Creative Writing, while the report as a whole covered issues connected to research policy, funding and exciting innovations in the promotion of cultural literacy which were forming the object of current UK-based research.

This work continues.  A second cycle of interviews is being undertaken and will complement the range of material covered in the first year.  An update on the findings of the study will be presented at the CLE forum conference in Lisbon in May 9-11 2019.

Robert Crawshaw

Lancaster October 2018