ENYAN Taking Part reports decline in diversity in arts engagement in England

Levels of arts engagement in England have been static for the past decade, and have fallen significantly among the Asian population, according to a new Government report.

Arts engagement overall remains lower among the Asian ethnic group than among White and Black ethnic groups, and there has been a significant decline in engagement among Asian people since 2005/6, according to a new DCMS report on diversity in the cultural sector.

The report is based on the longitudinal Taking Part household survey, which measures engagement with the cultural sector. It presents trends for adult engagement in cultural activity over the period 2005/06 to 2015/16, focusing on differences by ethnicity, socio-economic group, disability status and region.

When the DCMS started collecting this data, two-thirds (66.7%) of people who identify as Asian said they had engaged with cultural activities once or more in the previous year, but by 2015/16 this figure had fallen to 59.3%. In contrast, engagement with the arts has remained “fairly stable” but shown no growth among White, Black or “other” ethnic groups – a category that includes those from mixed/multiple ethnic backgrounds.

Over the same period, the converse is true of museum and gallery visits. Engagement among all ethnic groups has grown significantly since 2005/06. But while levels of engagement with museums and galleries was lower among Asian people than other ethnic groups in 2005/06, by 2015/16 there was no difference between them.

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