Chair of the Board of Trustees, Arts Research Digest
Paul Allin heads one of the analysis and reporting divisions in the UK Office for National Statistics. He is responsible for a range of statistics, including on the labour market, social wellbeing and Social Trends.
Paul was previously the Chief Statistician and Head of Statistics and Social Policy in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. He retains a strong interest in statistics and research on the arts, the wider cultural scene and the cultural industries. His research interests have covered the UK film industry, the economic contribution of the cultural industries, and the challenges of producing meaningful cross-country comparisons of cultural statistics.
Interview with Paul Allin
What inspires you most in the arts, cultural and sports sector?
What inspires me most in the arts and cultural sector are those things with the tingle factor, that raise the hairs on the back of my neck, like an exciting performance, a moving work of art, an eye-catching building or a record-breaking sporting achievement. Recent spine-tinglers have been the performances of Lee Hall's 'The Pitmen Painters' and the recent production of Luigi Pirandello's 'Six Characters in Search of an Author' in Cardiff, as well as the Anish Kapoor retrospective at the Royal Academy in London. I'd have to add to that any recording or live performance by British jazz pianist Stan Tracey, who is currently on tour and playing at the Sage in Gatehead at the end of March this year.
Can a thriving cultural sector help pull national or global regions out of recession?
A thriving arts, cultural and sports sector is part of the solution for helping to pull local, national and global regions out of recession. This is not a time to jettison the arts, but to draw on the cultural sector for inspiration, reflection, and pathways for development and renewal.
How was your field of specialisation affected by the economic downturn?
The economic downturn has affected my field of specialisation as it has many others. As a statistician working in the public sector, my role is to keep a careful eye on spending while maintaining employment levels as far as is practically and reasonably possible.
How can Arts Research Digest support the cultural sector's recovery?
Arts Research Digest can support the cultural sector's recovery by making sure that good research continues to be widely available, and by expanding its subscriber base to ensure more researchers, consultants, public bodies and cultural organisations benefit from the service we offer.
If Arts Research Digest was a colour, what would it be and why?
If Arts Research Digest was a colour, it would cover the whole spectrum! Historically, the printed digest has had many vibrantly coloured covers, representing the new ideas, and new research we publicise, as well as the range of interests and specialisms we cover. I'm sure we will continue to use the whole the spectrum in our new, electronic format!
What message would you like to give to Arts Research Digest subscribers and site users?
To Arts Research Digest subscribers and site users I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new, exclusively on-line service.
We're convinced that publishing online is the best way of providing the most up-to-date information as well as new services. Do let us know how we are doing. If you don't like anything then do tell us: if you do like it then do tell others!