In this issue: A summary of four reports on public engagement and arts participation, including a Canadian discussion paper on public engagement, a British study that segments arts audiences, a Canadian study of factors in arts attendance, and a presentation on the changing demographics of arts attendance.
The goal of this discussion paper is to provide “a high-level overview of current thinking and practices in the sphere of public engagement in the arts”. The report indicates that public engagement is increasingly seen to be important “for cultural rights, arts education, expressive life, citizen participation, social cohesion, and cultural diversity”.
Based on large-scale surveys of English adults, this report aims to provide “a tool to inform marketing and audience development plans for arts organisations, local authorities and other agencies working in the arts”. The report outlines 13 arts consumer segments, based on patterns of arts consumption, attitudes toward the arts, leisure pursuits, socio-demographic factors, media consumption, and lifestyle elements. The segments, although tailored to English adults, might also be useful for Canadian artists and arts organizations in thinking about the possible attitudes, opinions, and motivations of their current and potential audiences.
An Analysis of Attendance at Art Galleries, Theatres, Classical Music Performances, Popular Music Performances, and Cultural Festivals
Based on Statistics Canada’s 2010 General Social Survey, an in-depth telephone survey of about 7,500 Canadians 15 or older, this report concludes that “there is an arts-interested public that transcends demographics”. For example, the report indicates that “someone with less than a secondary school diploma was not very likely to visit an art gallery in 2010: only 20% did so. However, someone with the same level of education who attended a classical concert in 2010 was much more likely to visit an art gallery: 44% did so in 2010”.
Value of Presenting Study
The bulk of this presentation provides information about key demographic trends in Canada: a growing and aging population, differences in average age by location, increased immigration from Asian countries, and an increasing Aboriginal population. The report compares census data with attendance data to see whether different age groups are over or under-represented among performing arts audiences. The presentation indicates that classical music and theatre audiences skew older than the overall population, while popular music skews younger. The presentation also provides information about perceived benefits of the performing arts.