Arts Council England
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Over three quarters of the population takes part in the arts - What’s stopping the rest of us?

Lack of interest and lack of time are the main barriers that stop more people from engaging with the arts, according to a survey of over 28,000 adults.

Over a third of people who hadn’t participated in any arts activities over the last year said this was because they had no interest in the arts and a further third of people blamed this on a busy lifestyle.

Last week DCMS released the results of the Taking Part survey, the first in-depth study of how people spend their leisure time, and it emerged that a massive three quarters of the population are attending arts events or enjoying artistic activities.

Arts Council England has carried out further analysis of the results to identify what is stopping the remaining quarter of the population taking part in the arts. The results are published today in a new report Informing change, which will help the Arts Council achieve its aim of getting more art to more people in more places.

The report highlights a variety of reasons why different population groups fail to engage with the arts. Lack of interest is the main reason in lower socio-economic groups, but for higher socio-economic groups lack of time is the key.

Interest and time were seen as greater barriers than cost for both groups; only 6% of people claimed that the reason they had not attended any arts events was because it would cost too much. However, people that did attend events said they would do so more regularly if admission prices were cheaper.

Director of Participation at Arts Council England, Phil Cave said:

“It is encouraging that the proportion of people taking part in the arts is so high, but for Arts Council England to achieve its aim of helping more people to experience art that is meaningful to them, we need to understand what we can do to make it easy for people to get involved.

"This analysis has given us crucial insight into how and where we must direct our attention to achieve that.”

Notes for editors:
The full report and an executive summary are available to download from the Arts Council website.  part

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