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Creative country: 98% of Australians engage with the arts

Jo Caust writes in The Conversation (28.6.17) that the Australia Council’s latest survey of arts sector engagement highlights a huge gap between what the public want and what the government will fund.

'The arts play a role in the lives of 98% of the Australian population, according to a new survey, 'Connecting Australians', released by the Australia Council today. That is, the majority of Australians from all walks of life – different ages, genders, cultures and backgrounds – participate and engage with the arts on some level.

'While this figure is consistent with previous surveys, one major change is the national impact of new technologies on the experiencing and making of arts practice. For example, the survey found that 97% of all Australians aged between 15 and 24 engage with the arts online and 81% of Australians overall, up from 49% in 2009 and 73% in 2013. The major areas of engagement are listening to music (97%), reading books (79%) and going to live events (72%).

'... There are some other areas of concern too that seem to reflect broader social disengagement patterns in the Australian population and culture. For example, there is an increased ambivalence towards public funding of the arts from around 13% of the population in 2013 to 25% in 2016 (they answered “neither agree nor disagree” to the statement that the arts should receive public funding).

'The percentage of those who think the arts are too expensive has also increased (from 36% to 43%). Likewise, more people think the arts attract people who are somewhat elitist, and more people think the arts aren’t for people “like them”.'

 

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