• arts & culture

21 July 2017

Eight out of ten Victorians believe that the arts make for a richer, more meaningful life; three in four attend the arts and almost half of us get involved in creative pursuits, the latest national research has revealed.

Following on from the release of the Australia Council for the Arts' latest national arts participation survey, Connecting Australians comes the Victorian breakdown, which delves deeper into the attitudes toward, and engagement with, the arts across the state.

Centred on the arts sector only, the research encompassed both professional and amateur exploits - ranging from attending a theatre production, to reading or streaming music - to gain insights into the role that the arts play in the everyday lives of Victorians.

Highlights of research include that:

  • 98% of Victorians engage with the arts in some way (ranging from going to the opera to reading a book)
  • 47% of us creatively participate (making art themselves, playing an instrument etc)

We are a creative state and Victorians are higher, or on par, with the national average in each of the following measurements:


Vic

National

Engagement with the arts

98

98

Listen to music

97

97

Read books

79

79

Attend live events

74

72

Festivals

46

45

Music

57

54

Literary events

23

21

Attend live dance and theatre

56

53

Attend First Nations arts

34

35

Attend visual arts and crafts

49

46

Are involved with cultural development

14

14

Engage with the arts as part of their cultural background

37

35

Engage with the arts online

82

81

Creatively participate

47

46

Highlights:

  • Victorians are more likely than the national average to think the arts have a 'big' or 'very big' impact on stimulating their minds (72% compared to national average of 69%) and our ability to express ourselves (71% compared to 69%).
  • Around one in three Victorians are more likely to give time or money to the arts (30%), a higher rate than other Australians (26%).
  • 69% of Victorians agree that the arts should receive public funding. This is higher than the national average of 66%
  • 'The arts make for a richer and more meaningful life (78% compared to the national average of 74%)
  • 'Indigenous arts are an important part of Australia's culture (82% compared to the national average of 80%)

The research also explored the impact the arts can have on the next generation, and on local businesses, and found that:

  • Almost half of Victorians agree that the arts bring customers to local businesses (45%)
  • Two in three Victorians agree that the arts impact child development (66%) and their understanding of other people and cultures (65%) and
  • Around eight in ten Victorians agree that the arts should be an important part of the education of every Australian (78% compared to the national average of 75%)

Online engagement

Eight in ten Victorians engaged with the arts online in 2016 (82%) up from 2013 and 2009 and in line with national trends.

In 2016:

  • 77% of Victorians listened to music online;
  • 34% researched or reviewed the arts or artists;
  • 29% viewed visual arts, music, dance, theatre or literature online; and
  • 13% created, learned to create or sold art online.

For the first time, the research looked into how people interact with artists of arts organisations online and found that Victorians are more likely to have followed or interacted with an artist or arts organisation online (28%) compared to compared to the National average (25%)

Comparisons to previous years

The research,  which builds on studies undertaken in 2009 and 2013, also shows how community attitudes and activities are changing over time.

Most prominently, the data showed significant changes in how Victorians feel the arts impact on:

  • their ability to express themselves (71%, up from 59% in 2013)
  • their wellbeing and happiness (61%, up from 52%)
  • shaping and expressing Australian identity (59%, up from 45%).

The research didn't just measure the positives. Commensurate with the national results, the research also showed that, compared to the 2013 results, more Victorians now agree that the arts are too expensive (43% up from 38% in 2013), the arts tend to attract people that are pretentious and elitist (43% up from 28% in 2013) and the arts and 'not for people like me (22% up from 13% of other Australians).

For the first time, the research also explored the impact the arts can have on the next generation, and on local businesses, and found that:

  • Almost half of Victorians agree that the arts bring customers to local businesses (45%)
  • Two in three Victorians agree that the arts impact child development (66%) and their understanding of other people and cultures (65%) and

Around eight in ten Victorians agree that the arts should be an important part of the education of every Australian (78% compared to 75% of the national average.)

View the raw National Arts Participation Survey data for all states here