People in the South East and London most engaged with the arts, survey finds

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18th July 2018 14:20 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

People in the South East and London most engaged with the arts: A major government-backed survey has revealed that there are more people engaged in the arts in the South East and London than any other part of England.

The Active Lives survey polled 500 respondents from each of 326 local authorities in England to find out more about their involvement in the arts. The study, conducted between November 2015 and May 2017 (published June 18), was the first of its kind since 2009-2010 and will help the Arts Council England decide where to spend £37 million in its Creative People and Places scheme. The initiative has been set up to develop and encourage an interest in the arts in the least culturally engaged areas of England. 

The study found that one in seven respondents had visited a museum, an art gallery, or engaged in some form of activity linked to 'the arts' in the past year. 

It also found that although the City of London region had the highest rate of arts engagement at 92%, other areas of the capital such as Dagenham and Newham had the lowest rate, with 55% and 58% respectively.

After City of London, the areas with the highest rate of arts engagement were Richmond-upon-Thames (88.1%), Kensington and Chelsea (86.7%) Hammersmith and Fulham (85.1%), Islington (83.7%) and Wandsworth (83.15). while outside of London, Cambridge (86.7%), Brighton and Hove (84.3%), Chiltern (84%) and Oxford (83.9%) fared best.

The areas with the lowest levels of engagement  were Blackburn and Darwen (44.1% North West), Sandwell in the West Midlands (51.5%), Slough (South East 54%), London's Barking and Dagenham (55,2%), while Ashfield in the East Midlands had the lowest engagement  (58.2%).

Overall, engagement was highest in the South East (74.1%) closely followed by London (72.8%), while it was lowest in the West Midlands (64.8%) and the North East (66.2%).The study also found that it is the youngest age group polled (16-24) with the highest number having visited a gallery, museum or enjoyed an arts activity in the past year, closely followed by those in the older age group of 65 - 74 at 72 percent.

Women were found to be more engaged with the arts than men in the past year, with 74 per cent having actively engaged in some form of art-related event or activity, compared to 66% of men. 



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