28 June 2017
Music is the winner: Australia Council's National Arts Participation Survey
The Australia Council for the Arts has released the results of its National Arts Participation Survey, measuring Australians' engagement with the arts in 2016: attending arts events, exhibitions and festivals; reading; listening to music; sharing and connecting with the arts online; and creating art themselves. According to the results, an impressive 98% of Australians engage with the arts. Younger Australians (aged 15-24 years) create and experience the arts at the highest rates. One in four give time or money to the arts, reflecting the value of the arts in the lives of Australians. A worrying trend identified in the survey was the increased ambivalence about whether the arts should receive public funding.
Music is the most popular art form, with 97% of population listening to recorded music and more than half attending live music events including opera, classical music, musical theatre, art music and contemporary popular music. Despite the obvious ongoing importance of performed live music, the proportion of Australians attending live music events decreased between 2013 and 2016, from 59% to 54%. This reflects the decline in the proportion of Australians attending contemporary music events across Australia (from 39% in 2013 to 32% in 2016).
The 2016 survey follows two earlier editions, in 2009 and 2013, and includes, for the first time, engagement with a participant's own cultural background through the arts, along with festival attendance and community arts and cultural development activities. The survey also captures the value of the arts to Australians through their attitudes, views about the impacts of the arts, and propensity to donate time or money to the arts. For the purposes of this survey 'arts' encompassed theatre, dance, visual arts and craft, music, literature, First Nations and cross-art form work. According to the results, 7 million Australians experienced First Nations arts last year - an increase of 100% compared to 2009.
The other recent online resource from the Australia Council is the National Service Organisations Scan, analysing over 100 arts organisations all over the country. The research was undertaken to develop a greater understanding of the scale and nature of arts organisations whose core purpose is to provide programs and activities that support artists and other arts organisations. The results give an idea of the kinds of services these organisations provide and the activities they engage in, from communication activities (newsletters, social media, journals etc.) to advocacy, research and capacity-building programs. The scan did not evaluate the quality of these activities and programs. The scan results are available on the Australia Council website.
> National Arts Participation Survey 'Connecting Australians' (June 2017) - see also: direct link to pdf report
© Australian Music Centre (2017) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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