United Kingdom/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.2 National definition of culture

There is no official UK definition of culture. British culture, with its national, regional and linguistic distinctiveness and multi-cultural diversity, is not regarded as a single entity. Today, it is more accurate to refer to the cultures of Britain to reflect the broad range of that diversity.

From an institutional perspective, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has adopted a broad definition of culture, used mainly in cultural strategies for local and regional government. The definition is more a list of artforms, activities and cultural expressions that can occur in local public spaces (e.g. libraries, cinemas, parks, venues, etc). "Culture" has been increasingly used by government over the past decade or so as a more encompassing term, and one which better reflects the extent of arts, museums, heritage, libraries, film, etc.

It is noteworthy that the UK Government uses the term "creative" industries to incorporate sectors such as fashion, advertising and software development as well as the traditional "cultural" sectors such as the arts, museums, heritage, etc. What they have in common from a UK Government perspective is economic potential.

Chapter published: 15-04-2011