Life in the UK: Exploring British Culture is a Sussex University research project that has a set of defined academic principles:
- How do we study the experience of arts and culture? Given that values are always contextualized and temporalized, what can we say about the phenomenological moment of arts/cultural experience? How do participants become mobilized and affected?
- How are British cultural values perceived, negotiated, consumed, enacted and performed by socially excluded or subaltern groups? How can cultural values and a sense of belonging work together to produce citizens (or non-citizens), in dominant and subaltern ways?
We intend to establish an interdisciplinary framework that will contribute original insights to:
- the embodied, experiential, and phenomenological value of arts/cultural engagement
- the acquisition and reproduction of cultural values as a process of acculturation
- the mobilization of ‘outsider within’ perspectives whilst inside cultural consumption (the ‘look aslant’)
- the invention of cultural values, through dialogic methods of comparison and exchange, which may have public policy impacts
In addition we will improve existing knowledge of:
- wellbeing outcomes in arts/culture participation, by under-researched and often traumatized subjects
- how cultural participation can enhance reflexivity and social cohesion for fractured identities
- refugee experience and formations of identity, including British identity (which is itself under-researched)
- and we will use formative and summative assessment to advance the methods by which we can evaluate such cultural engagements by combining approaches from the arts, social sciences, and science.