Snapshot of Cultural Citizenship

This survey data presents a brief snapshot of people's cultural lives, highlighting key domains of arts and cultural participation, capacity and belonging.

The survey sample size was n=479 and included a relatively even distribution between those born overseas and those born in Australia. While the sample was skewed towards females there was no statistical differences between any key variables to suggest this had a significant influence on the data.

Cultural participation

The survey results illustrate a pluralisation of forms and spaces of cultural participation.

While arts and cultural policy frameworks tend to focus on public institutions like museums and galleries the survey results confirm that people's cultural participation is diverse, mobile, and dispersed across a range of sites, including the media, the home, commercial venues and community faciltiies.

Definitions for each of these domains of participation are contained in the indicator framework.

  • The sample tended to participate in media more often than any other participatory dimensions measured.
  • On average, people were least likely to attend cultural institutions in comparison to other types of participation.
  • Dimensions of participation were related to each other. Participants who attended cultural institutions more often, were more likely to attend commercial venues, community facilities and participate in creative activities.

Country of birth by participation

There were some key differences between those born overseas and those born in Australia.

  • Overseas-born people listened to music more often than those born in Australia.
  • Overseas-born people also used the internet more for overseas contact in comparison to people born in Australia.
  • Those born in Australia listened to radio/podcast shows and watched TV/movies more often than people born overseas.
  • Participants born overseas more frequently host meetings and community activities in the home than those born in Australia.
  • Those born in Australia visit community gardens and community centres significantly less than overseas born participants.
  • Those born overseas more frequently attend: classical music concerts or opera; musicals and comedy shows; classical and contemporary dance performances; cultural/community festivals; and, restaurants, compared with those born in Australia. However, those born in Australia more frequently attend School performances.
  • Those born overseas volunteer more frequently for church groups, ethnic groups, and neighbourhood organisations. However, people born in Australia volunteer for political organisations more often.

Otherwise, there were a number of similarities between people born overseas and the cultural participation of those born in Australia.

  • Reading, internet and physical activity frequency did not differ between these two groups.
  • Similarly, those born overseas and those born in Australia are equally engaged with creative participation activities, with the exception of craft. Australian born participants were more likely to participate in craft activities compared with overseas born participants.

English language fluency

English language fluency is an important determinant of cultural participation.

  • People who spoke a language other than English were more likely to participate in political and civic activism, and more likely to attend community facilities.
  • Those who spoke a language other than English also reported greater levels of media participation than those who spoke English as their first language.
  • Those born overseas are more likely to agree that their English is not good enough to do the things they need, compared with those born in Australia.

A sense of belonging

People's sense of belonging to different communities and spaces differed depending on whether they were born in Australia or overseas.

  • Those born in Australia have a stronger sense of belonging to Australia and their neighbourhood in comparison with those born overseas.
  • However, those born overseas are more likely to feel home in multiple cultures compared with Australian born participants. Furthermore, they are significantly more likely to feel that maintaining heritage and fitting into Australian culture are importance.
  • Those born overseas feel comparatively less able to find someone to help them in an emergency and less comfortable accessing all the services they need.
  • Those who felt like Australia was their home, were more likely to also feel likely their neighbourhood was their home.

Download Multiculturalism and Governance: Evaluating Arts Policies and Engaging Cultural Citizenship. Final Report.