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Arts and Cultural Attendance and Participation: Local Region Rates

Jan 16, 2017

From dancing in Darwin to art gallery attendance on the Gold Coast to creative writing in Parramatta, this interactive tool presents the proportions of people in local communities who attend and create the arts. Using 2013/14 Australian Bureau of Statistics data, it covers cultural attendance and participation across art, craft, theatre, dance, music, and literature. You can profile your local region, compare it to other regions, select a metropolitan location and compare it to a regional location, and compare any region to the state or national average.

The figures draw on data at Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) – the smallest geographical areas for which these numbers can be published.


Attendance data

Performing arts includes: theatre performances; dance performances; other performing arts

Total any music includes: popular music performances; popular music performances in a pub, club or café; classical music concerts; and musicals and operas

Participation data

Craft includes: jewellery making, textile, paper or wood crafts; glass crafts, pottery, ceramics or mosaics.

Visual arts includes: sculpting, painting, drawing or cartooning, including digital pieces; printmaking, screen printing or etching; photography, film-making or editing, apart from recording personal events.

Performing arts includes: performed in a drama, comedy, opera or musical, including rehearsals; performed in a cabaret or variety act, including rehearsals; sung/played musical instrument as soloist or in band/choir/orchestra including rehearsals/classes; participated in dancing, including rehearsals or classes.

Writing includes: written song lyrics, or mixed or composed music, including digital composition; written any fiction or non-fiction, such as stories, poetry, scripts or blogging.

Other cultural participation includes: designed websites, computer games or interactive software; fashion, interior or graphic design.

Comparison to the Australia Council Arts Participation Survey

The Australia Council also conducts its own survey of arts participation and attendance, which differs from the ABS surveys. Here is a guide to some of the ways the data sets differ, and different ways in which each one might be used.

Use the ABS data for:

  • fine-grained geographic analysis (e.g. by Statistical Area 4); or
  • analysis that includes broader cultural activities such as attendance at cinemas, museums or zoos.

Use the Australia Council’s data for:

  • picking up a wider range of arts engagement (e.g. attending art exhibitions outside of public galleries, community arts, playing music at home);
  • more detailed breakdowns within art forms;
  • attitudes towards, and benefits of the arts;
  • digital engagement in the arts; or
  • donation of time or money.