Study of voluntary arts activity

Department for Culture, Media and Sport,
06 September 2007, England

Minister for Culture, Creative Industries & Tourism, Margaret Hodge, today announced that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is commissioning a new study which will produce, for the first time, a national picture of amateur arts activity in England.
Speaking to the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers (NALGAO) conference, she unveiled plans for the six-month joint Arts Council England research project entitled 'From Ballroom Dancing to Book Clubs: national study of voluntary arts activity in England'. Ms Hodge said 'We know from our Taking Part survey that nearly 70 per cent of people in England attend and participate in a huge range of arts and craft activities from book clubs to amateur orchestras and from lace-making to ballet and ballroom dancing. Much of this activity isn’t through publicly-funded organisations so it is important to take into account the thousands of people who participate in the voluntary and amateur arts sector and consider whether the different kinds of support available are providing the right platform for them to thrive.'
Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said 'The arts - professional and amateur - play an important part in people’s lives and the Arts Council is working to bring the arts to ever wider and more diverse audiences. This research will provide us with valuable information about this type of participation and how it can be developed effectively in the future.'
As well as trying to provide a national picture of the sector, the study will explore what prompts people to take part (and what barriers there are) and the impact voluntary arts groups can have in their communities. A second strand to the research will seek to determine the contribution Adult and Community Learning makes to public engagement with and participation in the arts.