For the first time, more people living in rural areas of Northern Ireland are taking part in arts activities than those living in city locations.
According to the 2014 General Population Survey, conducted in January and February and released today, 80% of adults living in rural areas engaged in the arts, compared to 78% from urban locations. The most popular participation activity is craft, followed by singing or playing a musical instrument, with photography and film making coming close behind. It also shows that men are now just as likely to take part in arts activities as women (79%), a rise of 7% since 2006.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has published a report covering the last five General Population Surveys, which provides a snapshot of the characteristics and behaviours of those attending and participating in the arts in Northern Ireland over the last 10 years. It reflects an overall upward trend as the number of adults engaging in the arts has grown from 75% to 79% between 2004 and 2014. Youth engagement remains strong, with 96% of 16-24 year olds saying they enjoy the arts.
The proportion of people attending one arts event each year has grown from 73% to 77% and those attending on more than three occasions has saw a boost from 37% to 43%. Film remains the most popular artform, followed by visits to the museum, theatre and concerts.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, which is the official provider of statistics for the arts in Northern Ireland, commented:
“This latest General Population Survey has produced some very positive findings. I am particularly pleased to see that engagement in the arts has increased in rural areas, showing that the arts really are for everyone. It demonstrates that public investment in the arts is working. As a sector, we’re successfully reaching out to communities and providing new routes into the arts.”
Over the last 10 years the surveys have reflected that people believe that the arts make a significant contribution to building communities, personal development, enhancing the profile of Northern Ireland and helping to enrich the quality of our lives. They also show a strong consensus in favour of Government funding for the arts, with three quarters of adults in agreement, a figure that has been remarkably stable through the sharp fluctuations in economic prosperity over the past decade.
See the report at the link below