European inventory of
societal values of culture

About the Invent project

European Inventory of Societal Values of Culture as a Basis for Inclusive Cultural Policies in the Globalizing World (INVENT) is a Horizon 2020 project (No. 870691), carried out from February 2020 to July 2023 in nine European countries: the Netherlands, Spain, France, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Switzerland, Croatia, and Serbia. The consortium included more than 40 researchers—sociologists of culture, cultural policy and cultural management scholars, and media experts—from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay, University of Copenhagen, Tampere University Foundation, University of Haifa, University of Zurich, Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar from Split, Croatia, and The Centre for Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe (CECS) from Niš, Serbia.

The project’s starting point was the insight that Europe and the world had undergone fundamental changes over the last thirty years related to megatrends of globalisation, migrations, digitalisation and increasing social inequalities, but that cultural policies had not kept pace with these changes.

Accordingly, creating inclusive and participatory cultural policies suited to the contemporary world required gaining scientific insight into how the citizens of Europe view culture and its societal values and how they perceive and understand the changes that megatrends have brought into their everyday lives, lifestyles, and cultural participation.

To achieve that, a bottom-up approach to research was needed, one that begins with mapping the diversity of culture in Europe and the multifaceted understanding of culture and its societal values on the part of its citizens, cultural producers and mediators (both amateurs and professionals). Instead of moving from some predefined concept of culture and building arguments regarding its significant societal value, our project, through explorations and comparisons, gradually identified complex and often contradictory notions of culture and its societal values held by different social groups in European societies. In this way, a significant step has been made towards the creation of participatory and inclusive cultural policies.

In addition, new methodologies for capturing the societal value of culture in contemporary societies adapted to this approach were required, considering contemporary novel modes of cultural production and participation.

Using a multi-method and mixed-methods research design (surveys, a smartphone study with experimental stimuli, data scraping of online content, focus groups, case studies, and interviews) and focusing on the effects of the megatrends on the everyday culture of the citizens of Europe and their cultural participation, the project European Inventory of Societal Values of Culture as a Basis for Inclusive Cultural Policies in the Globalizing World (INVENT) aimed to contribute to the change in the state-of-the-art of cultural policymaking and research and introduction of a much needed ‘social turn’ in cultural policies.