Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture is a research project based at Flinders University in South Australia looking at ways of understanding the value of arts and culture beyond the economic data, ticket sales and spill-over effects. 

Economic impact studies do not tell the full story of the value of an organisation or event. Funding agencies require new ways of understanding the value of arts and culture organisations, events and objects, and policy makers require a new framework for thinking about the value of arts and culture. To remedy this, a team of researchers is partnering with senior arts and cultural organisations in South Australia.

Laboratory Adelaide: the Value of Culture began as a three year ARC-funded Linkage project based at Flinders University (LP140100802) 2015-2018. It was led by Professor Julian Meyrick as lead Chief Investigator in collaboration with Professor Robert Phiddian (Flinders), and Associate Professor Steve Brown (first at Flinders and then at the Australian Institute of Business), Professor Stephen Boyle (UniSA), with industry partners Alan Smith (State Library of South Australia), Karen Bryant (Adelaide Festival Corporation) and Rob Brookman (State Theatre Company of South Australia). Dr Tully Barnett was the project’s co-author and Research Fellow. Heather Robinson joined us to undertake a PhD in conjunction with the project.

In an era in which the cultural sector has grown increasingly interdependent and complex, this project will provide robust mechanisms for stakeholders to properly assess the cultural value they provide to the individuals, communities, cities, states, nations and regions they serve.

The collaboration between Flinders University, the University of South Australia, the Adelaide Festival, the State Library of South Australia and the State Theatre Company of South Australia allows for significant transfer of knowledge, expertise and resources in support of developing real solutions to real problems in the measurement of cultural goods and services.

The Laboratory Adelaide project continues with a second Linkage project LP170100933 “Meaningfully Reporting the Value of Arts” with Chief Investigators Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddian, Tully Barnett and Richard Maltby and industry partners Arts South Australia (now Department of Premier and Cabinet) and Festivals Adelaide (2019-2021).

Contact us

Laboratory Adelaide researchers are happy to discuss the project in greater detail.

The project aims to be of benefit to cultural sectors locally, national, and internationally.

For more information about the project contact Dr Tully Barnett on tully.barnett@flinders.edu.au or 08 8201 5478.