Cultural Well-being and Cultural Capital

There is a challenge for us all when thinking about cultural wellbeing and with it cultural capital.

That challenge relates to finding the keys to transforming our economies, our places and our lives and the aspirations of our citizens, particularly in an economic environment which still struggles with a belief in growth as the only answer to solving debt and income problems.

Thinking relating to how we could develop, invest in and use Culture, by treating it as a valuable public and private asset, which is able to transform our communities, while giving arts and culture a central role in society.

What is important is for us to generate discussion:

a)   to recognise and develop the existing cultural capital within their cities, regions and communities,

b)   toerve as a resource of ideas that can be used as a way to create cultural wellbeing and through using cultural capital.

What I want to see is our readers being inspired to design creative and positive solutions and actions that could enable you and your organisations to transform economies and build creative communities through using arts and culture.

Cultural, wellbeing and cultural capital are defined:

Culture   “..culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs[1]. (UNESCO 2001)

Well-being  “…good health, happiness, and prosperity; the state of being healthy, happy and prosperous[2]”   Although I would replace the word prosperity’ or ‘prosperous’ with ‘comfort’, as I am convinced now that bring prosperous is not absolutely necessary for well-being, but comfort certainly is.

Cultural Capital –”  Cultural capital is an important aspect of social capital and social capital is an expression of cultural capital in practice. Social capital is based on and grows from the norms, values, networks and ways of operating that are the core of cultural capital[3]

Resources available:

Download Free book: Cultural Well-being Cultural Capital

 Also download speech about transforming economies using

Cultural Capital:            World Summit Paper on Cultural Capital

To discuss this theory either download the articles and books below or email

[1] UNESCO 2001) Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. P2

[2] Deverson, T. (2002) The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary

[3] Robinson D, Williams T. (Dec 2001)  Social capital and Voluntary Activity:  Giving and sharing in Maori and non Maori Society.  Social Policy Journal of New Zealand Issue 17:p55

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth McLean July 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Very interesting and inspiring. I would love to read your book ‘Expressions of Freedom and Fantasy’, and would like to follow your blog(s). Thanks!


Penny July 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I suggest you download Songbirds Art in Prison Manual. Expressions of Freedom and Fantasy was published by Arts Access Aotearoa. Visit their website and email and see if they have a copy.


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