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Cultural Appropriation vs Cultural Appreciation

Explore why you need diversity in your creative processes and how to make sure to exemplify appreciation, not appropriation.

A black and white picture of Charles Holgate, Creative Director of Raider_Zero. In the foreground, a simple globe, drawn in luminous green marker appears to travel from the bottom of the picture to the top.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Develop ways to effect change in your work and processes

It may seem difficult to understand the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. Ultimately, it is a difference in intent and transaction; voyeurism vs cooperation.

On this two-week course from Livity, you’ll learn how to recognise cultural appropriation and how to develop cultural appreciation in your work instead.

Discover the key differences between appropriation and appreciation

When organisations don’t have a diverse range of perspectives and therefore don’t put the right amount of effort, forethought, or understanding into their work, it can lead to offensive and damaging displays of cultural appropriation.

This course will guide you through a brief history of appropriation, from Alexander the Great in 356BC to Victoria’s Secret 2012 show.

Then, you’ll look at a variety of personal stories of success and failure involving appropriation and its effect on specific individuals and communities.

Dive into the nuance of cultural appreciation

It’s important to be wary of anyone that tries to reduce a culture down to single words or phrases. Similarly, we should be wary of allowing a single aspect of a culture we don’t fully understand to ‘inspire’ our work.

You’ll explore the various facets of cultural appreciation through case studies and examples. You’ll then explore the work that individuals and communities are currently doing to encourage appreciation over appropriation, and discuss where your own opinion sits within a broader context.

Learn how to avoid appropriation and focus on appreciation

At the end of this course, you’ll examine steps that you can take to use your understanding to effect change in your work and processes. And based on the examples throughout this course, you’ll look at what organisations can do to progress.


  • Week 1

    What is cultural appropriation and is it even a bad thing?

    • Introduction to the course

      In this activity, you'll get an introduction to the course. You'll also get the opportunity to appraise a piece of media content and discuss whether you believe it is an example of appropriation, appreciation or something else.

    • Part One: Historical examples of appropriation, appreciation or diffusion?

      In this activity, we'll look at some historical events in which one culture exploited the artefacts of another. You'll get to discuss whether they are examples of cultural appropriation, appreciation or diffusion.

    • Part Two: Historical examples of appropriation, appreciation and diffusion

      In this activity, we'll continue our exploration of historical examples of diffusion, right up to the modern-day.

    • Wrapping up Week 1

      In this activity, we'll consider everything we've learned so far this week and look forward to Week 2.

  • Week 2

    Defining cultural appropriation and its affect on society

    • Welcome to Week 2

      This week, we'll look at some definitions of cultural appropriation, and we'll analyse an argument against its existence. We'll also examine how data interpretations can skew our work.

    • Defining our terms

      The definition of cultural appropriation causes almost as many arguments as the act itself. Definitions vary wildly. We can't have a constructive conversation unless we define what we mean, so that's what we're going to do.

    • Cultural appropriation's impact on arguments and business

      In this activity, we'll explore the effects of cultural appropriation on businesses and the faulty arguments that can lead people to excuse it.

    • How data-driven approaches can lead to cultural appropriation

      In this activity, we'll look at how bad data practice can lead creators to culturally appropriate. You will also define cultural appropriation for yourself, and differentiate appreciation from appropriation.

    • Appreciation vs consumption

      In this activity, we'll explore the difference between appreciation and consumption. You'll also get the chance to provide your best practice responses for businesses that make a mistake.

    • Wrapping up Week 2

      In this activity, we'll recap everything we addressed in Week 2 and get ready for Week 3.

  • Week 3

    How to avoid appropriating cultures in creative media

    • Welcome to Week 3

      In this activity, we'll take a quick look at what you'll cover in your final week.

    • What can you do to increase understanding and diversity?

      In this activity, we'll offer you some advice about how you can gain a better understanding of other cultures.

    • Peer Graded Assignment

      In this activity, we would like you to choose a cultural activity you have never experienced and believe you won't appreciate, then answer some questions in response. Afterwards, you'll grade the responses of other learners.

    • Exploring other cultures and getting involved

      In this activity, we'll look at how we can explore other cultures without engaging in cultural appropriation. We'll also discuss how our opinions may have changed throughout the course.

    • End of the course

      Well done on completing the course. In this final activity, we'll review everything you've explored and introduce you to the next course on this ExpertTrack.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Assess cultural media and arguments for appropriation.
  • Create logical arguments to support your beliefs about cultural appropriation.
  • Compare appropriation to appreciation.
  • Collaborate with other learners to define your beliefs.
  • Critique faulty arguments regarding cultural appropriation.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone wanting to contribute to and foster diversity in their processes, specifically within creative industries.

You may find it especially useful if you’re looking to hire a diverse team, whether you’re the founder of a creative start-up, part of a HR team, or in a senior leadership position at a creative agency.

Who developed the course?


We’re living through the greatest uncertainty of our lifetimes. But it’s not a blip — it’s the new reality of constant disruption. And the next generation are putting on notice the brands and institutions who don’t play their part in making it better.

LIVITY is a creative business that works hand in hand with brands and the next generation to build the future better. Built in co-creation with our next gen network, our courses will build your relationship with your future audience.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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