Participating in culture and sport equivalent to a pay rise?

Research funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has suggested that the boost to individuals’ wellbeing achieved through weekly participation in sport is equivalent to £11,000 per year in household income. Cinema (c.£9,000) and concert (c.£9,000) attendance are not far behind in terms of annual ‘value’.

The research, Understanding the value of engagement in culture and sport (pdf, 291kb), which is based on a statistical analysis of the British Household Panel Survey, estimates the equivalent boost in household income required to achieve the same boost in wellbeing generated by cultural participation.

The work is something of a departure from previous estimates (such as those which calculate the monetary value of sport by referring to the cost of physical inactivity to the NHS) in that it factors in other influences on wellbeing such as socioeconomic status, thereby isolating the effect of culture.

As the authors note, the findings have the potential to guide policymakers, indicating the level of investment that may be warranted in interventions aimed at increasing participation in culture and sport.

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Making the CASE for culture

Last month saw the culmination of a Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) project to bring together a range of statistics and figures on the impact of culture at local, regional and national level. In addition to individual summary reports for each English region, you can download recent data on:

  • Economic impact (xls, 6.7mb) – employment, turnover etc. within cultural organisations.
  • Investment data – levels of public/private investment in capital (xls, 1.8mb) and non-capital (xls, 7.9mb) cultural projects.
  • Tourism data (xls, 613kb) – overnight visits by domestic tourists, visits to visitor attractions etc.
  • Education data (xls, 4.9mb) – number of Higher Education students for cultural subjects etc.
  • Engagement data (xls, 915kb) – levels of participation in cultural activity.
  • Physical assets data (xls, 1.3mb) – count, percentage and density of cultural assets.

Notably, some of the spreadsheets also contain wider demographic data that gives a useful hint as to the kind of analyses users could undertake.

For example, the working age population data for each local authority and region (contained in the investment spreadsheets) allows users to calculate investment per head of working age population (or per 10,000 of working age population as in the summary reports) without having to hunt high and low for the population data separately!

For further advice on how to use the data contact CASE (case [at] culture.gsi.gov.uk). Alternatively, feel free to contact us here at the Cultural Observatory (lauren.amery [at] artscouncil.org.uk / tel 0121 631 5705).

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Notes

‘CASE’ is a joint DCMS research programme involving Sport England, Arts Council England, English Heritage and Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (MLA).

The definition of ‘culture’ used in the research focuses on those sectors most relevant to the CASE partnership, consisting of Arts Council England, English Heritage, Museums, Librarires and Archives Council and Sport England. So, for example, while data on tourism can be downloaded separately, tourism sector organisations such as hotels and restaurants have not been factored into ‘CASE sector’ analyses.

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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A change of direction for regional Cultural Observatories?

An options study (PDF, 815kb) launched last month by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) culture and sport evidence programme has shed new light on the future of regional level culture and sport research.

You may remember that there’s been uncertainty over the future of regional research since the release of the DCMS review of regional infrastructure in July 2008 and the subsequent closure of Regional Cultural Consortia  (see previous CRAIN newsletters: August 2008–March 2009).

The vision cast by the new CASE report (PDF, 815kb) is one whereby the regional tier research function would provide a link between national and local tiers, working closely with local government in order to pull together local data and case studies, while disseminating national data across regional and local networks.

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Creative industries economic estimates

Gathering at the New Art Gallery WalsallThe annual creative industries economic estimates are now available from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Statistics are provided on:

  • Gross value added of the creative industries
  • Exports of services for the creative industries
  • Creative employment
  • Numbers of businesses within the creative industries in the UK

The figures are for 2006/2007, the latest available period.

Dave Harte has usefully pulled out the highlights from the figures.

Changes to regional cultural co-ordination

Arts Minister, Margaret Hodge has announced the closure of the Regional Cultural Consortiums by March 2009.

Her intention is that in their place, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s four key agencies in the regions – Arts Council England, Sport England, English Heritage and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council – will have a duty to work together to jointly deliver a core set of shared priorities across the culture and sport agenda.

In terms of regional cultural research, this change in structure may have implications for the future of the West Midlands Cultural Observatory. In the meantime, the Cultural Research Analyst post that supports this initiative is currently funded until March 2009 and there is a strong commitment to joined-up cultural research by regional cultural agencies.

It would be interesting to know your thoughts on this topic. For example, you may have a view on which elements of regional cultural research should, if possible, be retained under the new structure?