Research shows significant numbers of Irish People attending Arts Events nationwide

Nearly one third of respondents said there are still barriers to attending or taking part in arts activities

Research conducted by Kantar Media on behalf of the Arts Council published today shows significant numbers of Irish people attending arts events nationwide. 60% of people surveyed had attended an arts event in the preceding 12 months. Nearly a third of respondents said there were still significant barriers to them attending or taking part in arts activities such as, cost, family commitments and the distance to travel to attend events.

Attendance at arts events is evenly distributed across the country per head of population demonstrating strong engagement with the arts throughout the regions. The research shows that where arts events take place is a major factor influencing attendance. Those who attended events in their local community/arts venue are more likely to have attended a greater variety of arts events than the average arts attender indicating the importance of local arts development and ensuring access to the arts at a local level when it comes to public engagement in the arts.

The top five arts venues in terms of attendance figures are:

  • the cinema – this remains the most popular art-form in Ireland with 75% of adults having attended the cinema in the last 12 months.
  • the pub/hotel
  • local church
  • theatre
  • library

The more arts activities available in a local community, the more likely people are to attend as travel is identified as one of the main barriers to attendance.

Particular communities for whom access to the arts is still difficult include those with disabilities, those on lower incomes, older people and ethnic minorities. 60% of people with disabilities surveyed indicated difficulty in accessing the arts with 40% of those specifying health issues followed by 30% saying it came down to cost. Nearly 20% of people said it came down to a lack of transport and having nobody to go with. Out of the communities listed, those of ethnic minority origin indicated the least difficulty.

Speaking today at the launch in Create in Temple Bar, Director of the Arts Council Orlaith McBride said that “the Arts Council believes that the more people who engage in the arts, either as audience or participant and the greater their social and geographic diversity, the more significant the impact of public investment in the arts.  This research allows the Arts Council to better understand who and where people are participating in the arts, giving us better insights into the public value placed on the arts.  As a consequence of this research, the Arts Council will launch a Creative Place Programme in 2018 that will generate more access to the arts across the country in local communities. The emphasis will be on allowing communities to develop, create, generate and participate in arts experiences in the places where they live. The programme will be developed in places where people have fewer opportunities to get involved in creative activities.”

The Arts Council has also increased its investment in a range of arts participation programmes and organisations in 2017 based on evidence from this research over the last number of years.

The Arts in Irish Life: 2016 sets out the results of market research for the Arts Council into levels of public engagement with the arts. These findings were derived from questions incorporated into Kantar Media’s TGI study. The questions sought to capture information on patterns of attendance at arts events and participation and attitudes of the Irish adult population. Since this study runs on a repeating annual basis the Arts Council is now able to receive an up to data snapshot of the behaviours, attitudes and participation levels as they relate to the arts and use these insights and trends in its policy and investment decisions.

See full report here –

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