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Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well-Being--Findings From a Qualitative Study

December 9, 2021

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track is a collaborative effort to keep the cultural sector in dialogue with its communities and participants during the pandemic and inform deeper equity and justice in the years to come. The project pivoted from examining public attitudes and behaviors in a "time of crisis" in 2020 to doing so in a "time of transformation" in 2021, with a crucial focus around racialized experiences in connection with cultural participation and cultural organizations.The first phase of the research, conducted in Spring 2020, was a large-scale survey intended to inform not just resilience but also innovation and progress toward equity in the cultural sector, and to give the U.S. public a voice in the future of cultural engagement. But that first phase was designed and conducted before the murder of George Floyd ignited a national upswell of anger, sadness, and activism and the Movement for Black Lives began to reshape the discourse around racism in every aspect of American life. In a follow-up statistical analysis of the same (early 2020) data published in December as "Centering the Picture," we and our colleagues explored respondents' experiences in relation to their racial and ethnic identities to highlight and amplify what people of color have been going through and what they would like to see changed in the future. The report revealed some unique experiences and perspectives that Black and African American adults in the U.S. have in relation to cultural engagement, digital connection with arts and culture, and social change. The Slover Linett team, knowing that qualitative methods would be necessary to understand those perspectives in a more nuanced and holistic way, advocated for an additional phase of research in 2021 that would offer a triangulation with — as well as departure point from — the twowave quantitative survey.To that end, and in order to authentically amplify Black voices and stories, we dedicated this qualitative phase of the research solely to Black and African American participants' perspectives, since those viewpoints have historically been excluded or sidelined in most research studies and planning efforts in the cultural field. We intentionally took a broad approach to this inquiry, exploring general dynamics of creativity, trustworthiness, welcome, and community support rather than focusing narrowly on arts and culture organizations and attendance. This allowed us to hear and explore how culture and community experiences and organizations naturally fit into peoples' lives, and it led to rich insights that can inform practice, funding, and policy.

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: Key Findings from Wave 2

November 23, 2021

The second wave of the national study, Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track, includes an even broader frame for culture (from libraries to parks, music venues, and festivals), as well as deeper involvement with small, rural or BIPOC-serving organizations.Culture + Community is a national research initiative aimed at bridging the cultural sector with the experiences and needs of its communities and audiences during the pandemic and beyond. The findings coming out of this survey also aim to provide the field with actionable insights towards becoming more equitable, inclusive spaces and toward a movement of transformation as cultural organizations become more active participants within movements for social and racial justice. In April and May of 2020, we conducted the first wave of research with a large-scale online survey that asked about the experiences, needs, and behaviors of a representative sample of the U.S. population plus a large sample of people on the contact-lists of more than 650 cultural organizations around the country.In this second wave of research, we broadened the kinds of organizations in our sample by actively inviting new organizations from categories of institutions who were underrepresented in our Wave 1 work: BIPOC-serving organizations, cultural organizations located in rural parts of the country, festivals (film, food, crafts, music), libraries, for-profit arts, and national and city parks. We also re-invited all 653 organizations from the first wave of the study to participate again in this second wave of research.

Centering the Picture: The role of race & ethnicity in cultural engagement in the U.S.

December 16, 2020

"Centering the Picture," released in December 2020, provides an analysis of response patterns by race and ethnicity in the first phase of Culture + Community in a Time of Crisis (CCTC), a national audience and community survey conducted in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic. The authors explore how and why Americans of all racial/ethnic groups connect to arts, culture, and creativity; what they need from the sector during times of challenge and change; how they've engaged digitally during the lockdowns; and how they want arts and culture organizations to change. The 56-page report includes an executive summary, introduction, findings, "snapshots" for each racial and ethnic group, a concluding discussion, and several appendices (see below), with a foreword by the distinguished museum educator Esther J. Washington of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.CCTC is a multi-phase research collaboration between Slover Linett and LaPlaca Cohen, with consulting partners Yancey Consulting and a number of expert advisors. Some findings from the study are disseminated as part of LaPlaca Cohen's ongoing Culture Track study; this report builds on the overall Key Findings shared with the field in July 2020 (http://culturetrack.com/research/reports). Generous support for Wave 1 was provided by the Wallace Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, Art Bridges, FocusVision, and Microsoft Corporation. Upcoming phases will also be supported by the Barr Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and Institute for Museum and Library Services.The authors welcome questions and comments at CCTC@sloverlinett.com.