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A Statewide Report on: PARTICIPATION IN THE ARTS. Prepared for: Arts Queensland CB Contact(s): Sharon Bird & Lisa Scott, Colmar Brunton Research Services Final Report: 18 th Sept 2006. CONTENTS. Overall Background, Objectives & Methodology. BACKGROUND.

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A statewide report on participation in the arts l.jpg

A Statewide Report on:


Prepared for: Arts Queensland

CB Contact(s): Sharon Bird & Lisa Scott,

Colmar Brunton Research Services

Final Report: 18th Sept 2006

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  • This research was commissioned to help Arts Queensland build a body of knowledge about the Arts participation habits and preferences of the Queensland public.

  • This research was intended to complement an earlier report commissioned by the Australia Council (prepared by Saatchi & Saatchi in 2000), which looked at the Australian publics attitudes to the Arts and their Arts participation habits. The Australia Council report proposed that (within Australia) there are five segments in terms of Arts Participation, as follows:

    • The Arts Lovers – High consumers and/or patrons of the Arts who could not increase their already heavy involvement.

    • The Satisfied – Those who are perfectly happy with the state of the Arts, who have set participation levels and on this basis will not increase their involvement.

    • The Interested – Individuals with busy social lives, who enjoy incorporating some arts activities in their schedule. This group would go to the Arts more if it suited their regime/needs better.

    • The Disinclined – Those who are doubtful about the personal or social relevance of the arts and who face strong practical barriers to participation. They do not have major attitudinal objections to the Arts and indeed may value their contribution to society, but do not view them as a priority activity.

    • The Disengaged - Individuals who feel no engagement with the Arts and view them as personally and culturally irrelevant to their lives. They are unlikely to develop any connection with the Arts.

  • The overarching aim of the current research was to identify the characteristics, thoughts and feelings of the Interested and Disinclined segments in Queensland, as these are the groups that are most likely to increase participation, if the Arts can be delivered in a way that tackles their particular barriers to participation.

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  • A two stage research project was undertaken during the period May-August 2006.

  • The first stage was 6 focus groups – 5 in Brisbane and 1 in Cairns. The second stage was an online survey of a representative panel of Queenslanders.

    • The specification for the sample included in both the focus groups and the survey was that respondents could be identified as being from the Interested or Disinclined segments as defined in the Australia Council’s 2000 “Australians and the Arts” Australia wide survey.

    • It was also a specification that respondents were not already heavy participants in the Arts.

    • The qualitative stage of the project aimed to profile the characteristics of these segments as they are particular to Queensland. The discussion during the focus groups was guided to uncover whether particular barriers and triggers to participation in the Arts are experienced in Queensland and to identify what perceptions or experiences people have around major arts venues in Brisbane.

    • Another aim was to discuss peoples’ views of promotional strategies and ticketing for the arts, as well as looking at how they normally source information about entertainment.

    • The major objective of the following quantitative stage of the research was to confirm and consolidate the qualitative findings, providing a stronger basis for inference upon which strategies for targeted promotion of the Arts in Queensland could be based.

    • During the quantitative stage, 429 persons across five locations in Queensland were surveyed (see page 10 for sample specifics).

    • The quantitative survey was designed to probe further into certain areas - such as use of information sources or how barriers and triggers are experienced on a venue by venue basis – to provide more immediately actionable information that Arts Queensland can use as a basis for developing strategies to promote the Arts to the Queensland public.

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  • The overall aims of the research were to:

    • Identify general attitudes towards the arts and seek to establish how similar Queenslanders’ attitudes towards participation in the arts are to those of the general Australian population, in order to establish the generalisability of the Australia wide research findingsto Queensland.

    • Identify gaps in knowledge regarding what Arts Queensland venues do; namely, the range of venues in existence and the range of arts on offer.

    • Identify perceived applicability of events/performances to individuals, particular age groups or families.

    • Explore barriers that restrictparticipation.

    • Explore views about what could increase participation.

  • A number of objectives were explored in the qualitative research only. Namely:

    • Identify the effectiveness of current promotional materials, for example;

      • Are events advertised so as to seem important in terms of personal identity and development or to seem culturally (or sub-culturally) relevant?

      • Is the impression of promoted events that they are high-brow or that they are accessible?

      • Are the right aspects of the event emphasised – can people find information important to them?

    • Elicit suggestions for improving the types of promotional material currently used in a way that could combat the barriers to participation perceived by the various cross sections we involve in discussion.

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  • The specific aims of the Quantitative stage were:

    • To quantify the breadth and depth of participation in the Arts by querying participation in regular spare time activities and general experience of the arts.

    • To quantify what sources of information respondents use to find out about arts events and to quantify how these sources are used e.g. specific sections of a newspaper or specific entertainment radio or TV shows. Also, to quantify which sources are preferred so that Arts Queensland can identify the most appropriate channels to reach these people.

    • To investigate perceptions of pricing for different kinds of events to quantify any misperception about cost, as the perceived cost of participating in the Arts (or more accurately – whether the Arts offer value for money) emerged as one of the more significant barriers to participation during the qualitative stage of the research.

    • To investigate how and where people purchase tickets for the Arts and how they would like to do so.

    • To quantify general awareness and attendance at various venues in Brisbane and in regional Queensland, amongst these segments.

    • To assess actual experiences or perceptions of venues established in Brisbane, versus perceptions and experiences of venues in Regional locations.

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Project Planning

The majority of this report is based on the quantitative stage, as quantitative research provides inferential power to draw conclusions about the general population, whereas qualitative research does not.

The qualitative stage provided findings upon which the quantitative stage was based.

Generally, the qualitative stage then gave insight as to what lies behind the findings of the quantitative stage.

However, it happens that differences may still exist between qualitative and quantitative findings. Where differences exist they are discussed in the body of the report.

All research is used to interpret the quantitative findings and to draw final conclusions & recommendations.

Where conclusions are based upon qualitative research - which has no inferential power – it is clearly indicated in the section header.

The conclusions and recommendations from the qualitative research can be found in Appendix I.

Qualitative Research Stage:

6 Focus Groups

2 x Interested Segment; Brisbane Metro

(1 x 18-30yrs; 1x 31-60yrs)

3 x Disinclined Segment; Brisbane Metro

(1x 18-30yrs; 1x31-45yrs; 1 x 46-60yrs)

1 x Mix Interested and Disinclined; Regional

(Cairns; 25-45yrs)

Presentation and Quantitative

Survey Development

Online Survey: n= 429

Sample Specifications

50:50 Brisbane Metro: Regional QLD Respondents

Split between Interested and Disinclined Segments

Representative Spread of Age, Gender and other demography

Final Report and Presentation

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* Total Surveys commenced incl. respondents screened out = 829

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  • Proportion of respondents per segment was balanced between the Regional areas and Brisbane Metro.

  • A significantly higher proportion of the Disinclined segment were in the 30-44 year age group.

  • Those who attended more than 3 arts events were screened out of both stages.

  • Still, significantly higher proportions of the Disinclined had attended less Arts events in the last quarter than the Interested.

  • Disinclined assigned a significantly lower mean value to the Arts, in personal life and in society, than the Interested.

  • Based on the totality of findings from the research, we know that certain demographic factors play a role in segment inclusion and we suspect that inclusion in one segment or another is fluid depending on life stage.

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The major aim of the research was to investigate the Arts participation habits of the Disinclined vs. Interested segments and to explore the triggers and barriers to participation experienced by these segments.

However, certain parts of the report e.g. Use of information sources and general satisfaction with Arts venues, explore the data on a region by region basis, as this split provided a more appropriate basis for future development of Arts promotion strategies.

Throughout the report, where an area is explored by region, or segment, the results have been tested for statistical significance.

Where differences are significant a red circle is used to highlight this fact

Section 4 looks at awareness of and attendance at, venues around Queensland. It also deals with perceptions and experiences of venues around Brisbane and at a regional aggregated level.

Significant differences are circled in red EXCEPT where the slide deals with a mixed positive-negative scale. In this case significant differences are circled in green where they are more positive and in red where they are more negative. The purpose of this is to try and distinguish between a significantly more positive experience/perception and a significantly more negative experience/perception. This will become clearer when looking at the charts!

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Key Models from the Qualitative Research

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Financial Risk

Social Inclusion Risk

Practical Risk

Enjoyment Risk

Several major areas of risk which impact on the decision to participate and general feelings about the Arts were identified at the Qualitative stage. Across segments these have varying levels of influence.

Cost risk occurs where there is enjoyment or social or practical risk involved in participation

e.g. Having the right clothes to wear; Not understanding what everyone is talking about; Being culture specific



e.g. Being able to find food or parking close by; Having to travel further than for local entertainment; Getting wet.

e.g. Unfamiliarity with the genre or the Subject matter – may not like it or companions may not like it





Arts Lovers

Prepared to accept more risk

Prepared to accept less risk

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  • Based on the types of risk associated with the arts and entertainments discussed, the risk model can be broken into the following four sectors:

High Risk, Individual Activity:

Generally introspective; people may choose to engage in these alone and they are artistically challenging. Social risk is high, there is pressure to understand the message in the display or the views of the people who are there. Practical risk may be moderate. Venues accessible i.e. open during the day and conveniently located.

High Risk

High Risk, Social Activity:

Activities in which people engage to socialise and be highly entertained. They are probably expensive, they may be socially elite or have unfamiliar subject matter. The organiser might feel pressure that their companions do not like the event. They may be less practically accessible i.e. unsuitable timings with limited parking.

Individual Activity

Social Activity

Low risk, Individual Activity:

Activities in which people can engage alone. They are free or cheap to do, are not socially elite and are practically accessible i.e. open during the day and conveniently located.

Low risk, Social Activity:

Activities in which people engage with a strong social purpose, but which are free or cheap to do. They are not socially elite and are practically accessible i.e. open during the day and conveniently located.

Low Risk

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  • Based on the qualitative research the risk levels Queensland respondents associated with different types of Arts and entertainment or activities were as detailed below.

  • These activities and types of venue were then explored further in the quantitative research.

High Risk

Art Exhibitions

Exhibition Opening



Outdoor Arts Festival

New Media Installations


Comedy Show




Rock Concerts



Volunteer work



Low Risk