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  • Professor Sara Selwood
  • Honorary Professor
  • sara@saraselwood.co.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Sara Selwood

I am an independent cultural analyst, research and writer. I previously worked as an art historian and a curator of contemporary visual art.

I edit the journal, Cultural Trends, which champions the need for better evidence on the cultural sector.

Much of my work focuses on cultural policy and the public sector. I have written extensively on the relationship between the expectations of policy and the publics’ experience of cultural provision. My books include The Benefits of Public Art: the polemics of permanent art in public places, the first critical analysis of public art in England, and The UK Cultural Sector: profile and policy issues, which remains the most comprehensive overview of the sector.

I am currently concerned with museums and heritage. My work includes evaluations of major national and international programmes, including Renaissance in the Regions, a £300m government programme of investment in England’s regional museums, and UNESCO’s Strategic Programme Objectives in Culture.

I am leading a project based on a time series of 150 years’ worth of visits to English museums. This is raising a number of questions about factors that determine museum visiting in general.  

I am a former Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and currently chair the Portrait Trust, which promotes the public’s learning through the medium of portraits. I was formerly a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Strategy Group and Chair of its Cultural Policy Reference Group.

Future Policies, frameworks and legislation: the conditions under which English museums operate (co-author, Stuart Davies) in McCarthy, C (ed). Museum Practice: Critical debates in the museum sector. International Handbooks of Museum Studies. General editors Macdonald S & Rees Leahy H. Oxford: Blackwell
2013 Literature review: Public attitudes towards museums London: Museums Association. http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums2020/11122012-what-the-public-thinks

Mapping Heritage Craft. The economic contribution of the Heritage Craft sector in England (Pomegranate, TBR & Qa)

London: Creative & Cultural Skills. http://creative-blueprint.co.uk/library/item/451
2012 Practical Futurism: the value of culture and the key cultural trends of the future Future Forecasting: the challenges facing museums and cultural institutions. The Republic of Ireland: National Gallery of Ireland
2011 Evaluation of UNESCO’s Strategic Programme Objectives in Culture (strategic programme objective 9: Strengthening the contribution of culture to sustainable development and its strategic programme objective 10:Demonstrating the importance of exchange and dialogue among cultures to social cohesion and reconciliation in order to develop a culture of peace (in conjunction with Education for Change) Paris: UNESCO. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001918/191822e.pdf

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