The generation gap: BME participation in culture found to be significantly influenced by age

New research funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport has helped to increase understanding of the factors influencing participation in culture.

Based on a statistical analysis of Taking Part 2007/08, the study, Understanding the drivers, impact and value of engagement in culture and sport (pdf, 575kb) suggests, for example, that:

  • In the cases of visiting a heritage site, attending an arts event, or visiting a museum, young people from BME and non-BME groups were found to have a similar probability of engaging in culture, while among older people those from a BME group were less likely to engage in culture. For example, older ethnic minorities were found to be around half as likely to attend arts events as older people not from ethnic minorities.
  • Households scoring ‘low’ on socio-economic measures were found to be 4 times less likely to engage in culture than those scoring high.
  • Females were found to be 3 times less likely to participate in sport than males.
  • Probability of participation in culture during adulthood is positively correlated with childhood participation levels.

While some of the trends highlighted in the study are familiar (and the subject of past research), the methodological approach taken by authors provides us with authoritative percentages and figures against known trends.

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West Midlanders more likely to rate their last arts experience as ‘high quality’

A detailed review (pdf, 3.5mb) of the arts-related Taking Part Survey (2008/09) results published by Arts Council England has found that arts attendees in the West Midlands are more likely to describe their last arts experience as ‘high quality’ compared to other regions.

When statistical differences are taken into account, the proportion of residents reporting high quality arts experiences in the West Midlands (66%) was higher than proportions in four other regions.

In line with national trends, compared to the previous year, the proportion of West Midlands residents participating in at least one annual arts activity took a statistically significant drop from 47.2% to 42.7%. Also, there was no (statistical) change in the proportion of residents attending at least one art event per year (62.1%) compared to the previous year (64.7%).

Given the evidence (documented in our quarterly recession monitoring papers) that certain sections of the arts sector saw audiences decrease during the 2008/09 economic downturn, it can be speculated that the fall in participation rates may be related to consumer patterns during the recession.

Download the report: Arts engagement in England 2008/2009 (pdf, 3.46mb)

Photo by Gabriela Camerotti

West Midlands residents’ engagement in the arts remained stable since 2005

A new briefing (pdf, 241kb) published by Arts Council England uses Taking Part survey data to examine the trends in arts engagement across the three year period from 2005/06 to 2007/08.

In the West Midlands, the proportion of population to have attended at least one arts event over a 12 month period has remained stable, with no statistically significant difference in the level of attendees in 2007/08 (64.7%) to that of previous years.

There was, however, a statistically significant decrease in the proportion of West Midlands residents to have participated in arts activities in 2007/08 (42.4%) compared to the 2006/07 rate (46.9%).

Nationally, the rate of arts attendance and arts participation remained stable at around 67% and 47% respectively. Continue reading