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  • Writer's pictureLaura Parsons

Hidden Culture, and why cities need to know about it

Part of what makes a Collaborative Doctoral Award different to a standard PhD is that the researcher works closely with a partner organisation in order to put their work into real life context.

My PhD is in partnership with Leicester City Council, who are looking for ways to increase the breadth and reach of their already-excellent cultural offer. Leicester in particular is an interesting location for such research given the diversity of the populous, and the various waves of migration which have taken place during the 20thand 21st century.

This rich mix of communities has some challenges, certainly, as evidenced by the current second lockdown which Leicester is experiencing, but it also offers the opportunity for uncovering exciting insights into the lived experiences of its citizens.

A demanding and enjoyable aspect of the CDA has been learning to write like an academic for conference settings and papers, but also like a policy-maker for partner meetings and governance documents. Policy outlines for city heads demand a totally different writing style. Policy papers rely far less on the work of other academics who have gone before and more on the core message behind and purpose for the research in question.

This paper (opens a separate Google Drive link) is a paper for urban leaders, with thoughts on methods and approaches which may build upon their current research and evaluation of cultural activity in their cities.

If you work in local government, or research culture, or are simply an interested reader, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions, suggestions or feedback.

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