ISBN: 0-7287-1042-0

The Art of Inclusion

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Jermyn H

Year of Publication:

Arts Council England

Publication Type:


This report by Arts Council England explores social inclusion work in the arts, including the four policy indicators of health, education, employment and crime.

Twenty-eight arts organisations participated in the research. Fifteen projects were developed into case studies. Most of the projects were participatory arts projects with a wide range of arts and crafts represented, including digital arts, textiles, painting, mural-making, photography, writing, music-making and drama. Participating groups ranged from older people living in sheltered accommodation to families with children aged under 5, and projects took place in settings ranging from prisons to theatres, from community centres to hostels for the homeless. The research methods included interviews with arts staff, participants and stakeholders, observation of projects in action and analysis of organisations’ own evaluations.

The research documented a broad range of arts practice but raises the question of whether it all counts as ‘social inclusion work’. Some projects targeted groups that some might define as ‘socially excluded’ or at risk of exclusion, such as young offenders, homeless people or recovering drug addicts. Other projects targeted geographic areas or neighbourhoods that were identified as experiencing social exclusion (because they ranked highly in deprivation indices, for example). But arts projects were not necessarily seeking explicitly to tackle the four policy indicators of social inclusion that are commonly referred to (health, education, employment and crime). The crux of the matter is that arts projects involving work with excluded groups or in excluded communities can have different purposes – for some, a key purpose may be to use the arts to address certain problems associated with social exclusion, while other work may have no such social objectives and be offered purely as an opportunity to participate in arts activities.

Evidence Type: Case Study

Main Focus: Community Development

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Jermyn, H. (2004). Research report 35: The art of inclusion. London: Arts Council England.