Creating Our Future: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey

August 2020

Creating Our Future: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey webinar series

This webinar series is a deep dive into the main themes of the report, exploring how Australians’ increasingly value the benefits of the arts and creativity.

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Creating Our Future: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey is the fourth study in the landmark research series that explores Australians’ engagement with and attitudes towards the arts.

The National Arts Participation Survey asks how Australians are engaging with arts and creativity in our daily lives. How do Australians feel about arts and creativity? How is our arts engagement changing? Do we recognise the impacts of arts and creativity in our lives and communities? How do Australians feel about public funding for the arts?

The survey was conducted in late 2019, not long before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our world, lives and the cultural and creative industries. The survey results provide a benchmark of Australians’ arts engagement before the impacts of the pandemic, providing much needed information as doors reopen, audiences are rebuilt and the cultural and creative industries are re-ignited.

The report provides vital new evidence about the essential role arts and creativity play in Australian communities, showing the arts are a public good infused and embedded in the fabric of our daily lives.

In 2019, targeted methods were used to ensure better representation of young Australians; regional and remote First Nations communities; communities for whom language might be a barrier to participation in the survey; and Australians with intellectual disability.

We continue to capture and grow our understanding of how people from diverse backgrounds understand, participate in and value the arts.

‘As our families, communities and nation come to terms with the uncertainty, isolation and social and economic disruption of the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the power of the arts and creativity to connect and uplift us, to reduce expenditure across health and social services and to stimulate tourism and local economies, has never been more important.’

- Dr Wendy Were, Executive Director Advocacy and Development

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Key Findings

  • 98% of Australians are still engaging with the arts.
  • Art and creativity are highly valued and significantly more Australians now recognise the range of positive impacts on our lives, communities and our national identity.
  • As well as strong and growing support for public funding for the arts in Australia, Australians have clear priorities for investment. The top three priorities are arts in the lives of young people, access to free or low-cost events and to support health and wellbeing.
  • More Australians now agree First Nations arts are an important part of Australia’s culture and both attendance at and interest in First Nations arts were strong and growing prior to COVID-19.
  • More than one in three Australians connect with, and share, their cultural background through arts and creativity.
  • Prior to COVID-19, live arts attendance was thriving, with more than two in three Australians attending the arts in person in 2019.
  • Entertainment, social connection and understanding other perspectives and cultures were the main drivers of arts attendance. Four in ten Australian would like to attend more arts events with cost and location the main barriers to increased attendance.
  • Festivals are a part of life for many Australians and were growing in popularity prior to COVID-19.
  • More Australians are creatively participating in the arts and the majority of Australians are listening to recorded music, reading for pleasure and engaging with the arts online.

 ‘Art is a way to share…
It’s an experience with others’ cultures that allows you to experience without talking.
You bond.

– Focus group participant


Creating Our Future ‘spotlight’ sections bring together findings on key themes from across the survey results. These themes highlight the value of arts and creativity to Australians and to our nation’s future.

Click on an image below to read more about each spotlight.

Creating Our Future: Spotlight on economic value and future success

Creating Our Future: Spotlight on social cohesion

Creating Our Future: Spotlight on equal access to arts and creativity for all Australians

Creating Our Future: Spotlight on health and wellbeing