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Charities speak

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Using data science to understand the arts and cultural charities sector in England and Wales

Charities affect all walks of life – they care for underprivileged people; they provide spaces for communities both urban and rural; they fundraise for, and invest in, causes; they support interests both general and specialist. They range from large foundations to small meeting groups. With many arts and cultural charities having to close their doors or restrict their activity due to COVID-19, this new research shows why these organisations are vulnerable and why they could be so important to society’s recovery. We expand on this in a blog from Raphael Leung, author of the report, and Eliza Easton, the PEC’s Head of Policy Unit. 

In the report, written in partnership with the innovation foundation Nesta, we analyse the activities and objectives of registered charities involved in arts, culture, heritage of science with a particular focus on arts and culture. Using data science techniques such as machine learning, we have systematically mapped the different activities that charities are supporting and that they engage with. This allows for a more detailed understanding of what charities are doing, and what they are trying to achieve, than is available from existing classifications. 

Future work can extend these methods to map other parts of the charitable sector or build recommendation engines to allow funders and charity workers to find others promoting similar causes. 

Published 31st March 2020

Photo by Kyle Head

This research report is published by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC). All PEC research reports have been peer reviewed prior to publication. In keeping with normal academic practice, responsibility for the views expressed in this research, and the interpretation of any evidence presented, lies with the authors. These views and interpretations do not necessarily represent those of the PEC or its partner organisations.

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