Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

COVID-19 Research

The Australia Council is working with Patternmakers and WolfBrown to understand changes in behaviours and sentiments of arts-goers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tracking study is designed to support important decision-making and forward planning across the sector in the coming months.


The COVID19- pandemic has impacted our daily lives in many ways including how we engage with arts and creativity. Necessary restrictions around public gatherings and travel have resulted in the closure of cultural venues and cancellation or postponement of events and programs. Many artists and arts organisations have pivoted to digital content during this time.

To gain insights into how Australians are engaging with the arts in COVID-19 lockdown, the Australia Council commissioned Lonergan Research to explore this topic as part of their regular Omnibus Survey.

This summary presents key findings including online arts engagement, creation, reading and the reasons for engaging with the arts.


Many artists, organisations, venues, galleries and communities are being impacted by COVID-19 in the short term and are expecting longer term effects.

In the wake of restrictions on public gatherings and travel, a number of peak bodies initiated surveys to track impacts of the pandemic on artists and arts organisations. The Australia Council has brought together the results of the surveys, along with context and commentary, to build a picture of the impacts of COVID-19 across the sector.

This summary will be updated as new information becomes available so please check back regularly.

Please see survey links below for further detail, and if you would like to contribute your own experiences.

I Lost My Gig Australia: For performers, production, crew and others who have lost work through the cancellation of concerts, conferences, events or festivals.

PAC Australia and Culture Counts are working together to amalgamate data collection. Event producers, presenters, supporters and venue managers working within the broader cultural sector can provide information about how the COVID-19 situation has affected their business and if they are adapting their strategies to continue reaching audiences in the current climate.

The survey is available through both Culture Counts and PAC Australia, but you need only respond to one to be counted in the combined results.

Culture Counts COVID-19 Impact on Cultural Industries

PAC Australia CIVID-19 Impact on Venues

NAVA: COVID-19 arts impacts: For visual artists or visual arts organisations impacted by cancellations or changes to events, programs or activities.

Diversity Arts Australia: Lost Work for Artists and Creatives of Colour: For culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) creatives affected by cancellations and postponements in the creative industries.

Impact of COVID-19 on writing practice: For writers and others in the literature sector who have experienced cancellation of events and subsequent loss of income.

Ausdance National COVID-19 Impact Survey: For dance professionals who have been impacted by COVID-19 through lost income and project cancellations.

MEAA: Coronavirus and you: Have you lost work? For workers in the media, entertainment and arts industries affected by COVID-19.

Effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on screen production: For the Australian screen industry to share how coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected their production slate and release schedule.


This paper outlines the immediate and longer term needs, concerns and potentially catastrophic impacts for First Nations arts and culture in light of COVID-19. This includes potential for the most significant loss of arts, culture and language since the arrival of the First Fleet. Drawing on research and sector intelligence, the paper highlights opportunities for First Nations arts specific support and cross-portfolio advocacy and engagement.

Creating Art Part 1: The makers’ view of pathways for First Nations theatre and dance

Creating Art Part 1: The makers’ view of pathways for First Nations theatre and dance is the latest study in a series commissioned by the Australia Council with the aim of supporting the First Nations arts sector to connect more Australians to First Nations arts experiences and grow opportunities for First Nations artists.

Conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the research provides vital insights that can inform the recovery and future sustainability of the First Nations arts ecology.

Based on in-depth interviews with 45 dance and theatre makers, Creating Art Part 1 explores First Nations artists’ experiences realising work; maps pathways for works; and highlights opportunities, challenges and calls to action.


Re-imagine: Sector Recovery Initiatives – applications are now closed

$2m will be invested in sector-led initiatives to support the recovery of Australia’s cultural and creative industries.

The Re-imagine: Sector Recovery Initiatives fund is offered in acknowledgement of the significant forces of change and evolution facing the cultural and creative industries. This investment will support the sector to re-imagine practice and operations, and test ideas and models for a more resilient, equitable and thriving future.

The Re-imagine: Sector Recovery Initiatives are a direct response to the disruptions and challenges experienced by the cultural and creative industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been informed by conversations throughout the Re-imagine: What next? consultation (September to October 2020).

Applications are now closed.


Cultivating Creativity: A study of the Sydney Opera House’s Creative Leadership in Learning Program in schools

Cultivating Creativity: A study of the Sydney Opera House’s Creative Leadership in Learning Program in schools is the result of a research partnership between the Australia Council for the Arts and Sydney Opera House.

The report provides powerful evidence of the ways in which creative learning approaches can build confidence, improve academic engagement, positively impact the culture of a school and enhance a sense of community.

The research also demonstrates the value of arts and creative activities for anticipating times of challenge and change. Creative methodologies can equip both students and the teaching community with the skills and capabilities required to meet difference, difficulty and the previously unimaginable with confidence. 


Protocols for using First Nations Intellectual and Cultural Property in the Arts

First published in 2002 and revised in 2007, this protocol guide endorses the rights of Indigenous people to their cultural heritage and supports Indigenous creative practice. This protocol guide encourages self-determination and helps build a strong and diverse Indigenous arts sector. These are key goals and priority areas of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Creative practitioners who work with Indigenous artists or engage with Indigenous cultural heritage in projects, and are funded by Australia Council for the Arts grant assessment panels are required to comply with this protocol guide as a condition of funding.

Over the years, the principles and protocols contained in this protocol guide have also been applied nationally and internationally – educating readers and users on Indigenous Australian cultural heritage, and encouraging meaningful collaborations with Indigenous artists and creators.


Survey for First Nations Music Artists

How do First Nations musicians feel about the music industry? What is working? What could be improved on in the music business in relation to their cultural practice and community responsibilities?

First Nations music plays a vital role in Australia’s music identity. At this critical time, it is essential that  the voices of First Nation musicians – custodians of the oldest musical practice in the world – are at the centre of dialogue and decision-making to ensure opportunities for the sector continue to grow and thrive, so the next generation can participate in a cultural future.

The results of the Survey of First Nations Music Artists provide much needed insights into the strengths, challenges and needs of the sector. The responses gathered can provide insights to inform the music industry as it recovers, rebuilds and looks to the future – a future in which First Nations talent and artistry is nurtured, celebrated and central in the music industry and Australia’s culture.


Creating Our Future: Results of the National Arts Participation Survey

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?