Creating our future: results of the National Arts Participation survey

Arts citizen participation Community engagement Arts Australia

Australians increasingly recognise the vital role of arts and creativity in almost every aspect of our lives, from education to mental health to strengthening local economies.

This research from the Australia Council shows growing numbers of Australians agree arts and creativity build social cohesion and support health, education and the future economy – critical areas as our nation recovers from the impact of COVID-19.

The research shows Australia is a creative nation: nearly every Australian – 98% of us –  engage with arts and culture. An increasing majority of Australians acknowledge the positive impacts of arts and creativity on our lives and our communities (84% up from 75% in 2016).

This is the fourth report in a landmark series spanning over a decade that examines Australians’ attitudes towards and engagement with arts and culture.

Conducted immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey results also provide important information as the nation works toward recovery.

Key findings:

  • 84% of Australians recognise the impacts of arts and creativity, and there is growing recognition of the value of the arts across a range of areas including:
    • child development (63%, up 13 percentage points)
    • our sense of wellbeing and happiness (56%, up 11 percentage points)
    • dealing with stress, anxiety or depression (56%, up 11 percentage points)
    • understanding other people and cultures (60%, up eight percentage points)
    • bringing customers to local businesses (41%, up nine percentage points)
    • One in two Australians believe the arts build creative skills that will be necessary for the future workforce (47%, new in 2019).
  • Nearly every Australian – 98% of us – engage in the arts in some way.
  • Prior to COVID-19, live attendance at arts events was thriving. More than two in three Australians attended the arts in person in 2019 (68%), up nearly ten percentage points since 2016.
  • More than one in three Australians connect with, and share, their cultural background through arts and creativity (36%), including by attending arts events (31%).
  • A growing majority of Australians (75%) feel that First Nations arts are an important part of Australia’s culture, and both attendance (32%) and interest (40%) are increasing. However only half feel that First Nations arts are well represented.
  • Young people (15-24) are highly engaged, more likely than other age groups to recognise the impacts of the arts and creativity, and more willing to give time and money to the arts.
  • Support for public funding for the arts is strong and growing (63%, up 12 percentage points) and Australians have clear priorities for investment, including ensuring access to the arts and creative experiences for young people to support learning and development.
Related Information

Connecting Australians: results of the National Arts Participation Survey, June…

Arts in daily life: Australian participation in the arts

More than bums on seats: Australian participation in the arts

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