School of Social Policy & Practice
Founded as one of the nation's earliest schools of social work in the United States, the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) has trained social work professionals for over 110 years. In the 21st century, its scope expanded to include public policy and nonprofit leadership as natural extensions of applied social research. Today, SP2 offers masters programs in social work, public policy, and nonprofit leadership; doctoral programs in social welfare and clinical social work, and a wide range of certificate programs and specializations. The school is home to several research centers, including the Center for Carceral Communities, the Center for Guaranteed Income Research, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the Center for Social Impact Strategy, the Center for Social Mobility and Prosperity, the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research, and the Ortner Center on Violence and Abuse. Faculty and graduate work is rooted in social justice, community care, and advancing equity-based policies worldwide.
PublicationCulture’s Role in Community Revitalization in Philadelphia(2003-03-01) Stern, Mark JSIAP grew out of the belief that a better understanding of how the arts fit into urban social processes could provide a stronger foundation for policy making beyond a narrow focus on economic development. Its research to date can inform urban policy and community development strategies in several ways: highlight upcoming trends beyond “urban crisis”; measure the impacts of cultural engagement on urban neighborhoods; and document the mechanisms through which cultural sector works in urban communities. Thus the arts and culture are not marginal but rather are at the center of the new urban reality—characterized by a mix of decline and revitalization. Looking forward, SIAP wants to document how cultural engagement—along with other forms of community involvement—fit into an evolving “new civil society.” PublicationCultural Ecology, Neighborhood Vitality, and Social Wellbeing—A Philadelphia Project(2013-12-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CFrom 2011 to 2013, SIAP with Reinvestment Fund undertook new research that featured development of multidimensional indexes of social wellbeing for the city of Philadelphia. This report presents the results of that collaboration. Chapter 1 documents construction of a neighborhood-based social wellbeing index for the city. Chapter 2 uses the social wellbeing index to analyze patterns of advantage and disadvantage in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Chapter 3 draws on SIAP's historical data to examine changes in Philadelphia's cultural ecology between 1997 and 2012. The summary highlights how the policy tool helps conceptualize and measure culture as a dimension of social wellbeing as well as a contributor to equitable communities. Publication“Natural” Cultural Districts: A Three-City Study—Report Summary(2013-02-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CThis summary of the full research report--"Natural" Cultural Districts: A Three-City Study (February 2013)--presents the rationale for the study as well as findings and implications for policy and research. Policy issues noted are: differential ecology of "natural" cultural districts; economic inequality and location advantage; and trends in the development and management of cultural space. Research questions noted are: change in neighborhood cultural ecology over time; new models of cultural production; displacement vs community revitalization; and reconnecting the arts with culture. PublicationCulture and Community Revitalization: A Framework for the Emerging Field of Culture-Based Neighborhood Revitalization(2011-08-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CThis summary flyer provides an overview of the publications produced as part of the Culture and Community Revitalization project. The SIAP - Reinvestment Fund collaboration was undertaken from 2006 to 2008 with support by the Rockefeller Foundation. http://repository.upenn.edu/siap_revitalization/ PublicationCultural Participation and Distributive Justice(2002-07-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CExpanding cultural participation has been an important goal of cultural policy, among both public and private policymakers, over the past half century. In its work with the Urban Institute from 1996 to 2006, the Arts and Culture Indicator Project (ACIP) took a unique approach to the issue in its emphasis on overcoming historically-based exclusion and giving voice to cultural expression by ethnic minorities and poor communities. This paper builds on ACIP’s approach, first, by making explicit the policy question--that is, what are the consequences of cultural expression for distributive justice? The authors then draw on SIAP research in Philadelphia to examine the ways in which different forms of cultural participation connect with indicators of social inequality. They found that much of mainstream cultural expression actually reinforces social inequality. However, two parts of the cultural sector—the “alternative” regional cultural sector and the community cultural sector—show more promise in providing resources for historically disenfranchised groups and marginal neighborhoods. The paper concludes that, if public support of cultural expression is justified on its promotion of social justice, these sectors would likely provide the best opportunities for addressing this goal. PublicationArts In Place: Philadelphia's Cultural Landscape(2005-05-01) Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP)
To inform the debate over costs vs benefits of arts-based development to neighborhood revitalization, Penn Urban Studies Program chose "arts in place" as the theme of its Third Annual Public Conversation Series 2003-04. This document is a synthesis of the narratives and insights gleaned from the series--eight events with 23 speakers over five months--to share with a wider audience. The report describes the models and theories about how the arts influence development raised in six site-based discussions. Lastly, the report presents themes and issues that cut across Philadelphia's cultural landscape aired during the culminating session and throughout the series.
PublicationThe Dynamics of Cultural Participation: Metropolitan Philadelphia, 1996 - 2004(2005-10-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CThis paper uses data on over 800,000 cultural participants in 1996 and 2004 to examine changes in patterns of cultural participation over these years. The authors discover a consistent pattern in which areas of metropolitan Philadelphia with a large number of cultural organizations are those most likely to have high rates of participation. The connection between institutional presence and cultural engagement was one of SIAP’s first discoveries in the mid-1990s and remains one of its most durable findings. With respect to change over time, there were also unexpected findings. Participation became more tied to both social class and ethnic diversity. The authors explain this seeming paradox in the context of the “new urban reality”—as ethnic groups became more economically differentiated, high-income, ethnically diverse neighborhoods also became more common. These were now the neighborhoods with the highest rates of cultural participation. Another pattern uncovered in the 1990s—what SIAP called “alternative” participation that linked socially diverse audiences to newer, more experimental cultural production—seemed to wither over the decade. By 2004 the former “alternative” cultural organizations had participation patterns identical to those of more “mainstream” organizations, a trend attributed to the increasing market orientation within the cultural sector. PublicationCulture and Neighborhood Revitalization(2008-04-01) Stern, Mark JThis presentation was prepared for a convening of the Delaware Valley Grantmakers in Philadelphia in April 2008. The purpose of the talk was to draw on SIAP research--in particular, insights from the SIAP/Reinvestment Fund collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation--to shed light on the emerging role of philanthropy in culture-based neighborhood revitalization. PublicationSocial Networks and Inequality in New York City's Cultural Sector(2017-10-01) Stern, Mark JThis paper uses NYC Department of Cultural Affairs data on grantee program sites to address questions about structural inequality associated with the geography of cultural resources across New York City. The analysis supports and expands SIAP findings documented in its March 2017 report about the geography of culture in New York City. On the one hand, the distribution of program sites across the City is consistent with that of other cultural assets. Program sites tend to reinforce rather than mitigate the shortfall of cultural opportunities in the majority of lower-income neighborhoods. At the same time, it demonstrates that civic clusters—low-income neighborhoods with relatively large numbers of cultural assets—have stronger and more diverse institutional networks. This paper suggests that improving social wellbeing in lower-income neighborhoods requires strengthening both local and regional networks. PublicationCultural Participation and Civic Engagement In Five Philadelphia Neighborhoods(1998) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan COne of SIAP's goals has been to examine the links that connect arts participation to other form of civic engagement. In previous papers, the team used a variety of perspectives--the location of organizations, levels of community participation, observation of behavior and physical traces, and levels of regional cultural participation--to examine this process. This paper uses a community participation survey conducted in five Philadelphia case study neighborhoods to examine links between community participation, community arts participation, and regional arts participation. This paper and other SIAP studies have found that the socio-economic status of a neighborhood is a consistent predictor of residents' level of participation. Yet, the paper also suggests that cultural participation is more complex than either the economic model or the cultural capital theory would predict. A neighborhood’s cultural infrastructure is a stronger predictor of participation than either income or education. Moreover, decisions about cultural participation are closely related to engagement in other types of community activities, such as schools, community groups, and social clubs. Thus neighborhood residents effectively function as connectors between arts and non-arts institutions. The paper documents a strong relationship between neighborhood cultural participation and other forms of community engagement. The fact that residents make connections that remain elusive for organizational leaders suggests an avenue for strengthening institutional networks.