Asian audiences ‘turning away from the arts’ – DCMS report

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Of those surveyed, 59% of people with an Asian background said they had engaged in the arts in the last year. Photo: Shutterstock
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A government report has revealed that people of an Asian ethnicity are increasingly less likely to engage in the arts compared with people who identify as white.

The new report from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport compared diversity figures from Taking Part household arts engagement surveys from 2005/6 to 2015/16.

According to the findings, only 59% of people with an Asian background said they had engaged in the arts in the last year compared to 78% from the white and 70% from the black ethnic groups.

Over the past 10 years, there has also been a “significant” decline – of seven percentage points – of the proportion of Asian people engaging in the arts.

Other key findings include that people from a higher socio-economic group are more involved in the arts than those from a lower socio-economic group, having been 17 percentage points more likely to have engaged in a cultural activity over the past year.

The report also revealed that, while the proportion of people with a long-term disability or illness involved with cultural activities has risen by three percentage points over the past 10 years, engagement in the arts is still significantly higher in people with no disability.

DCMS also looked at arts engagement in different regions across the UK.

Cultural involvement was the lowest in Yorkshire and the Humber (70%) and highest in the South West (84%).

In the North West, engagement with the arts has risen to 78% in 2015/16, compared to 2005/06, when it was just 72%.

A DCMS spokeswoman said: "Our Culture White Paper was published in March 2016 with the clear aim of promoting diversity, and requires publicly funded bodies to show how they are improving access to arts and culture for all.

DCMS' recent tailored review into Arts Council England shows it has made diversity a priority and must continue to work towards building a fully diverse arts and culture workforce and to reach out to new audiences."

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