Arts Council England public perceptions of arts and culture
Poll of British adults on public spending on arts and culture.
  • There is little appetite among the public for the government to increase public spending on arts and culture. In line with the broader research we have conducted, frontline services are perceived to have priority over arts and culture among the public.
  • Reported participation in arts and cultural activities has remained broadly consistent since 2014. The public are most likely to say that they attended a museum or gallery, followed by use of a public library and attended any creative, artistic, theatrical or musical events or activities, whereas a lower proportion report that they spent time actually doing any creative, artistic, theatrical or musical activities.
  • As seen in 2014, adults are most likely to select ‘providing education’ as the way in which arts and culture has contributed to their personal lives.
  • Providing entertainment is seen as the top way in which arts and culture contributes to life in Britain, second to its contribution to generating tourism, which was the top most-selected option in 2014.
  • In terms of government investment, tourism is perceived to be the most important goal for government investment in arts and culture.
  • The decline in support for funding of arts and culture seen between 2013-2014 is consistent this year, with little change in levels of support and opposition since 2014. In addition, levels of support for Lottery funding remain fairly consistent overall, and indeed since 2013.
  • As in 2014, the areas of desired government support for arts and culture are libraries and museums, and most adults say that a national public body independent of government should be responsible for public spending on arts and culture.
  • Awareness levels of the Arts Council are consistent with those reported in 2014; the most commonly held view of the Arts Council is that it is important for enabling everyone to access arts [and culture], of the statements tested. Going forward, most of the public agree that the Arts Council should make funding decisions based on how it can achieve an even spread of funding across the whole of England.
  • Those who receive the additional information ‘in 2014, public money invested in arts and culture by Arts Council England made up 0.1% of all government spend’ are more likely than those who receive no additional information to say that they agree that arts and culture provides good value for money.
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Date Published
17th June 2016

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ComRes conducted a survey of 1,727 English adults aged 18+ online between 7th-9th October 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all English adults by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade.

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