Capturing Embodied Value and Tacit Knowledge in Hidden Culture

Ms Laura Parsons1

1De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom


There is, as yet, no common usage of the term ‘hidden culture’ within cultural geography scholarship, but there is considerable evidence that some culture remains in a hidden state (Crossick and Kraszynska, 2016; Belfiore, 2018). The idiosyncratic nature of cultural objects and activities which predominantly occur in the domestic or community spheres means that certain forms of knowledge remain uncodified and thus under-valued (Polyani, 1962; Gertler, 2001).

This paper presents a model of capturing value in hidden culture using Leicester, a minority-majority UK city, as a cultural laboratory. Through the medium of domestic and community food cultures, Social Network Analysis illustrates spatial-relational aspects of embodied knowledge transfer in the creation of cultural products. Phenomenological readings of food culture explore how tacit symbolism is unconsciously accepted by communities of practice yet almost impossible to codify for outsiders, thus exacerbating the disconnect between societal groups on the peripheries and UK cultural policy.


A former classical musician, Laura is now a doctoral researcher working in collaboration with Leicester City Council to find a model for capturing and valuing hidden cultural forms. Her research interests include multi-disciplinary practices; creative and cultural industries employment practices; the effects of austerity policies on the creative and cultural industries; arts and cultural regeneration, and the role of creative industries in regional development; the role of HEIs in creative economies; and aligning cultural policy with education, employment and welfare policies.

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