In contemporary accounts of cultural value, young people’s perspectives are often restricted to analyses of their encounters with formal cultural institutions or schools or to debates surrounding the cultural implications of new digital spaces and technologies. Other studies have been dominated by instrumental accounts exploring the potential economic benefit and skills development facilitated by young people’s cultural encounters and experiences. In this paper we examine the findings of a nine month project, which set out to explore what cultural value means to young people in Bristol. Between October 2013 and March 2014, the Arts and Humanities Research Council “Teenage Kicks” project organised 14 workshops at 7 different locations across the city, with young people aged 11–20. Working in collaboration with a network of cultural and arts organisations, the study gathered a range of empirical data investigating the complex ecologies of young people’s everyday/“lived” cultures and values. Young people’s own accounts of their cultural practices challenge normative definitions of culture and cultural value but also demonstrate how these definitions act to reproduce social inequalities in relation to cultural participation and social and cultural capital. The paper concludes that cultural policy-makers should listen and take young people’s voices seriously in re-imaging the city’s cultural offer for all young people.
- cultural value
- young people
- youth voice
- social and spatial inequalities