Friday, 20 February 2015

Ressults of 24 Hour Culture Survey revealed

Major survey to find out about the cultural life of the West Midlands

98% of respondents said arts, culture and heritage are important to them

Over 24 hours, libraries were the most-visited cultural venue and reading a book was the most popular activity  

‘Mental stimulation’, ‘giving meaning to life’ and ‘health and wellbeing’ are main reasons why arts are important

Results of the 24 Hour Culture Survey have today been released, giving an insight into how and why residents of the West Midlands get involved with arts and culture. The 24 Hour Culture Survey sought to discover how people experience arts and culture in their everyday lives in the West Midlands.

2303 people took part, saying what cultural activities they took part in during one 24 hour period, from noon on Friday 24th to noon on Saturday 25th October 2014. The findings show that arts and culture are integral to the lives of many:

98% of respondents said they believed that arts, culture and heritage are important to them.

The main reasons for appreciating arts and culture were that they keep the mind stimulated and give meaning to people’s lives. Other major reasons include increased health and wellbeing, keeping communities together, improving the lives of children and young people and the positive effect of arts and culture on jobs and economics.

Libraries were the most popular cultural venue over the 24 hours, with 14% of respondents visiting a branch. 12% saw a play or drama over the 24 hour period, and 11% visited an art exhibition.

Participation in the arts remains strong. 72% read a book over the 24 hour period, and just over half watched a television drama.

24% of respondents sang for their own pleasure over the 24 hours, and 15% took part in textile crafts such as knitting or sewing. Respondents were also asked about their cultural life over the past year. 94% had read a book in that time, 85% had seen a play or drama and 82% had visited a museum. 78% - nearly 4 in 5 people - had watched a video online over the past year.

Respondents’ comments on why they considered arts and culture to be important included:

“ I have often seen a play to help me escape stress in my life. For example seeing a play the day before a planned operation.” 55 year old woman, Shrewsbury

“ They [the arts] give me joy and the beauty and inspiration that I see and feel is uplifting and helps me to cope with the pain and sadness of life and my work. I am a nurse who works with the dying.” 54 year old woman, Alcester

“Arts and culture is at the heart of a healthy, tolerant and happy society and I want to be a part of this kind of community. I also want to bring my daughter up in this kind of world.” 43 year old man, Birmingham

Joanna Reid, Director, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, commented: “This report is powerful evidence for Government and Local Authorities that people want arts and culture to continue to be available to them. For a very small investment from Government, less than 0.05% of the national budget, the return is enormous in health and social terms as well as in economic terms. We want politicians of all parties to be aware how much people value their libraries, theatres, museums and galleries and how much they contribute to people's lives.
It would be false economy to do without them.

Liz Thompson, Director of Communications at the Royal Shakespeare Company said: “The 24 Hour Culture Survey shows that the arts are part of everyday life in the Midlands. People told us that taking part in the arts makes them feel good and they reported being healthier and happier as a result. 51 arts organisations across the region helped promote the survey and we hoped that the survey would give a snapshot of how the arts have a positive effect on our daily lives.  We have had a fantastic response and will be sharing these results with decision makers, funders and supporters across the region.” 

2303 people filled in the short questionnaire at

Findings were analysed by the Audience Insight department at the Royal Shakespeare Company.The survey was commissioned by 22 of the West Midlands’ arts organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Compton Verney, mac birmingham, the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, DanceXchange, Ironbridge Gorge Museums and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. It was promoted by a further 29 organisations including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. 

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