What is MESOC?
MESOC is a Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Action designed to propose, test and validate an innovative and original approach to measuring the societal value and impacts of culture and cultural policies and practices, related to three crossover themes of the new European Agenda for Culture:
- Health and Wellbeing,
- Urban and Territorial Renovation
- People’s Engagement and Participation.
The global aim is to respond to the challenge posed by the H2020 Call (“To develop new perspectives and improved methodologies for capturing the wider societal value of culture, including but also beyond its economic impact”).
To do so, MESOC adapts and further develops a method for “transition based” impact assessment derived from a previous UNESCO Chair publication, building a structural model of the Societal Dimension of Culture, as defined by one of the strategic objectives of the European Agenda.
As a first layer of experimentation during the project, the model will be tested within 10 European city pilots, 4 of them (1 per crossover theme, plus 1 covering all themes) with a more pronounced summative view, and 6 more (i.e. additional 2 per theme) with a formative perspective.
The New European Agenda for Culture with its strategic objective to harness “the power of culture and cultural diversity for social cohesion and wellbeing” builds on three elements of a structural model: Health and Wellbeing, Urban and Territorial Renovation and People’s Engagement and Participation.
These three elements, taken individually, obviously influence each other and involve very important aspects of public policy such as research, education, and planning. Taken together, as we propose to do in MESOC, they form a coherent picture of the way culture carries its societal impacts, creating value to the individuals and the communities in ways that are qualitatively known and to some extent predictable and practiced by policy innovators, yet very hard to bring to quantitative measurement.
State of the art is characterized by the UNESCO Framework of Cultural Statistics (2009) – partly, but not wholly adopted by EUROSTAT with the 2012 ESSnet-Culture report – which has unified into a single view the concepts, codes and definitions used by the different classifications adopted by national statistical offices and data collectors (e.g. by means of surveys and polls). This parsimonious approach, shared by the two institutions, and based on harmonizing ongoing work and existing data sources rather than introducing new, hard to collect and compute data and indicators, has largely increased our level of knowledge on the economic dimension and impacts of culture, in terms of growth and jobs, but was not as successful when dealing with social impacts and value created out of cultural activities.
As an advance over the state of the art, we propose to further develop the ESSnet-Culture framework in the direction pointed at by the New European Agenda for Culture, with a specific orientation to The Societal Dimension of Culture.
Who is behind MESOC?
MESOC will be carried forward by 10 partners from 7 European countries (namely: Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Romania and Spain) to which Finland and Poland should be added as including a non-partner City, which will however be touched by some crucial project activities.
eConcult (ES), KEA European Affairs (BE), DAStU - Politecnico di Milano (IT), University of Barcelona - School of Economics and Business (ES), Relais Culture Europe (FR), City of Rijeka (HR), City of Athens - DAEM (GR), City of Cluj Napoca - Cluj Cultural Center (RO), Worldcunch (FR), University of Rijeka (HR).