Catherine Bunting (Arts Council) on Arts Participation


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Presentation given at the 'Measuring Digital Participation' seminar at Birmingham City University on 19th July 2010

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  • Today most of our insight into arts audiences and overall levels of arts engagement in the population comes from the Taking Part survey. Taking Part is a national population survey of cultural participation. Like many other surveys it works by collecting data from a representative sample of the population through door-to-door interviews. The survey is a major collaboration between DCMS, the Arts Council, Sport England, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and English Heritage. Taking Part is a continuous survey which means the researchers are out in the field all the time – they interview several thousand people every month and the database builds over the course of the year. The fieldwork began in July 2005 which means we’re currently in the fifth year of data collection. For the first three years we collected data from around 28,000 people a year. We’ve reduced the sample size for years 4 to 6, but it’s still a substantial dataset. We ask questions on whether and how often people attend a range of arts events, museums, galleries, libraries and heritage sites; whether and how often they participate in arts activities and sport; and we collect a wide range of socio-demographic information such as age, gender, ethnicity, income, education, occupation and so on.
  • I’m going to give you some of the headline results of the 2008-09 survey, which is the most up-to-date full year dataset available at the moment. These are the arts events and activities which we asked about that year. For the events on the left, people were asked whether they have attended an event like this in the previous twelve months and if so how often; for these events on the right people were asked whether they have participated in the activity in the previous twelve months and again, how often. Try to make it as wide as possible
  • A bit more detail on methodology We conducted our segmentation in three key stages with market research agency BMRB First, we took the Taking Part dataset and we used a technique called cluster analysis to segment the population according to whether and how often they attend and participate in a range of different arts events and activities and also their overall attitudes to the arts Secondly, we fused the Taking Part dataset with another dataset called the Target Group Index or TGI. This dataset contains a great deal of information on broader consumer behaviour – where people shop, what products they buy, what media they consume, how they spend their leisure time and attitudes to life in general Using the fused dataset, we took each segment at a time and built a rich profile – so for each segment we can see their demographics, patterns of arts engagement and a fairly detailed picture of how they spend their time and what’s important to them in life When we come to describe the segments it’s important to note that we’re not guessing or making judgements about how people are likely to behave – we’re basing our descriptions on information people have provided themselves about what they do and think
  • We found that when it comes to the arts the English population breaks down into thirteen different segments of different sizes. Percentages show the proportion of English adults that are in each segment. Relative size varies from 2% to 20%. A very quick run through the 13 segments. They fall into three broad types: 2 highly active segments, with different types of preferences. The urban arts eclectic are younger with a broad range of tastes, from video arts to live music gigs and also high rates of participation; the traditional culture vultures tend to be older and the most frequent attenders at opera, ballet, theatre etc. In the middle there are seven segments that we refer to as ‘occasional engagement’. These segments are a lot less active than the top two; they engage much less frequently and have a narrower range of interests. On the left are 4 attender groups with medium to low levels of engagement The most active of these are fun, fashion and friends: infrequent attenders at fairly mainstream events, many also participate Mature explorers are more into street arts, carnivals, exhibitions, craft exhibitions – something active; day-time activities that they come across and engage with spontaneously Dinner and a show – typically approaching retirement, very infrequent attenders at big name rock/pop music, musicals or theatre – low levels of participation Family and community focused – interested in events where they can spend time with their family or be part of a local community; typically attend carnivals or pantomime/theatre Three participant groups divided by age The youngest (under 30s) we call Bedroom DJs: into playing an instrument, computer art – solitary activities – but also go to the cinema, clubs, hang out with their friends Mid-life hobbyists – not very active, occasionally photography, playing an instrument, painting or crafts, maybe some with their children Retired arts and crafts – textile crafts but also playing an instrument, photography, painting or drawing And then 4 unengaged segments – currently unlikely to either attend or participate in the arts – doesn’t fit into their lifestyle. They cite different reasons for not engaging Time-poor dreamers are often quite harassed parents - they lack both time and interest when it comes to the arts A quiet pint with the match are typically older, male, working-class – they have a routine they are very content with and the arts are pretty far removed from their experience of life Older and home-bound are elderly people, often suffering poor health Relaxing on a budget have limited means; often dealing with social or economic hardships; practical issues such as cost, transport are real barriers
  • Catherine Bunting (Arts Council) on Arts Participation

    1. 1. Learning from experience: participation in the arts Adrienne Hart taking part in Dance SCAPES project, Swindon Photo: Kevin Clifford Catherine Bunting Director of Research, Arts Council England Birmingham City University July 2010
    2. 2. Measuring arts participation: the Taking Part survey <ul><ul><li>national population survey of cultural participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>led by DMCS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>continuous since July 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>annual sample size of 15,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collects data on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>attendance at arts events, museums, galleries, libraries, heritage sites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>participation in arts activities and sport </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>wide range of socio-demographic factors </li></ul></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Arts activities surveyed 2008-09 <ul><ul><li>Attendance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Museum or gallery visit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Art exhibition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Craft exhibition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public art display </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video/electronic art event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book/writing event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Street arts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carnival </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Circus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culturally-specific festival </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Play/drama </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Musicals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pantomime </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opera/operetta </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classical music </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jazz </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other live music </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ballet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contemporary dance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>African/Asian dance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other live dance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ballet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other dance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Singing to audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Playing instrument to audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Playing instrument for own pleasure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing music </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performing in play/drama </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performing in opera/operetta </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take part in a carnival </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take part in street arts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learned circus skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Painting, drawing, sculpture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making films/video </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer art/animation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Textile crafts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wood crafts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other crafts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing stories/plays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing poetry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book club member </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Segmentation method <ul><ul><li>Segment the population using key arts variables: attendance, participation, motivations, barriers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fuse Taking Part with a consumer database </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-depth profiling for each segment </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Arts audience segmentation
    6. 6. Urban arts eclectic Early stages of developing career and life. Highly qualified and affluent with ambitious with career aspirations – they believe in seizing life’s opportunities. They seek new experiences and show interest in other cultures, and have been educated to act as global and responsible citizen. Consider themselves arts-savvy and actively engage with it as a way of relaxation , developing their skills and meeting new people . Describe themselves as optimists, creative and open-minded . 5% of English adults
    7. 7. Urban arts eclectic: lifestyle and attitudes young, diverse, urban shaping their lives hedonist and utopist relish challenges and experiences global, not local career aspirations, entrepreneurial outlook balanced lifestyle, healthy diet, physically active confident internet users travel, socialising, eating out contemporary and progressive
    8. 8. Family and community focused Typically in their 30s and 40s , with a strong sense of community and family. Having built a comfortable nest with their moderate financial means, their priorities lie with their children , connecting with the local community and holding on to their cultural roots. Food plays an important role in their lives, bringing people together and often acting as an expression of their cultural heritage . 11% of English adults
    9. 9. Family and community focused: lifestyle and attitudes diverse, average income and education profile food as an expression of culture, heritage want their kids to do better; dream of a better life for them simplicity hold on to cultural roots juggling work and family commitments watching TV, reading a book or going for a cycle ride or a run shop at Argos, Next, Superdrug, Tesco enjoy entertaining people at home follower not leader living within their means
    10. 10. Using the segmentation <ul><ul><li>informing policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prioritising and targeting campaign audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>geographic modelling – segment breakdown by local area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>helping arts organisations analyse their audiences </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Tackling the digital question <ul><ul><li>new online survey of arts participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>comparing ‘live’ with ‘digital’ participation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>wider online behaviour and attitudes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>emerging markets for digital arts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>core audience 29% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>older demographic 21% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>leading edge 11% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>launching September 2010 </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Research challenges <ul><ul><li>highly reliant on survey data – what’s happening ‘under the radar’? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>segmentation or stereotyping? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lack of local data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>measuring trends – how to keep up with the pace of change? </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Summary <ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. The Company Chameleon, Headstand Photo: Brian Slater Thank you