Discover and share: ways to promote positive values in arts and cultural settings

December 2017
Common Cause Foundation Guide, written in partnership with Happy Museum and Manchester Museum

Any organisation with a social purpose needs to understand values: both the values that its work promotes, and the contribution it makes to shaping people’s perceptions of others’ values. This guide draws on learning from a year-long collaboration between Manchester Museum and Common Cause Foundation, inspired by the work of the Happy Museum project. Over the course of the project, we developed new approaches to modelling intrinsic values (referred to as ‘compassionate’ values throughout the guide) in interactions with visitors, volunteers and staff; and found new ways to facilitate visitors in exploring one another’s values.

The guide is designed to help arts and cultural practitioners explore such questions as: what is our role in society? How should we be engaging with the world around us, and bringing people together? What is our role in promoting social justice and encouraging action on climate change? How can we ensure we’re places and spaces that reach out to and welcome people from all parts of our communities?

this if...

  • You work or volunteer for a museum, library, gallery, theatre or other arts and culture institution and want to develop your understanding of values and their importance to what you do.
  • You wish to understand how best to apply an understanding of values to your work to become a values-led organisation.

Key Takeaways

By championing intrinsic values and providing opportunities for visitors to hear and see what matters most to their fellow citizens, arts and cultural organisations can play a role in reflecting shared values. This, in turn, can lead to increased tolerance, broadmindedness and protection of the natural world.

Toolkit resources

Why fundraise?

Is there a way to fundraise without being in direct competition with other charities?

Do you feel like a fraud?

Are your communications engaging people as citizens or consumers?

Free gifts and supporter journeys

Exploring some of the challenges posed by the pressures of short-term fundraising

Reasons to volunteer

Reflecting on intrinsic motivations to volunteer

Value surveys and maps

More information on the two values surveys that Common Cause draws on in its work

Material tested in our experiments

Further information on the texts used in the study with WWF and Scope

Summary of published research

A summary of results from research into priming values

Other resources
you might like

The Common Cause Handbook

The Art of Life: understanding how participation in arts and culture can affect our values

Perceptions Matter: Report & Summary

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