The Audience Agency's nationwide longitudinal (ongoing) panel survey of changing views about participating in creative and cultural activities through the pandemic.

This research starts from a belief that everyone’s experiences, and everyone’s cultural engagement, matters. That we cannot understand the cultural impact of this moment without listening to the whole of our society. And that we need to recognise the different situations from which people came into this crisis and the different ways — whether in its apparent changeability, or in reinforcing existing disadvantages — that it has affected people as they have passed through it. We hope that it will also help us to ‘build back better’, responding to a far wider range of experiences and needs than before.

Key Findings

  • Physical engagement: 27% had done any​ in the pandemic year (Mar ‘20-Feb ‘21) cf. 87% before: only 19% of 45+, 36% of those younger.
  • Digital engagement: (only) moved from 41%-43%, but 53% engaging more.
  • Creative activities: slight drop, not just for ‘outside the home’ activities.
  • Reinforced inequality: impacts worse & less vaccination for younger, Black/Asian, lower income, (disabled), lower engaged.
  • Missing arts and culture: 77% strongly agree missing something; highest for live events (29%) and film (27%).
  • Willingness to attend: 27% happy to, 31% willing with reservations, 24% not until reduction in risk, 11% not until virus virtually eliminated, 7% not interested. Different profiles, different attitudes.

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To get a full overview of where we think audience thinking is at as of Spring 2021, sit down with a cuppa for 45 minutes while Oliver Mantell, Director of Policy Research, takes us through what different types of people have been doing during the pandemic, how they feel about coming back, and what the implications might be for the sector:

Download these slides as a PDF

Headline Reports

We are regularly releasing a series of substantive reports that explore the full breadth of the monitor's findings about audiences' experiences, expectations and intentions before, during and after COVID.

Wave 3 | Summer Audiences 2021

Wave 2 | Inequality through COVID - Spring 2021

Wave 1 | Autumn Audiences 2020

Deep Dives

We're also producing a range of supporting articles that dive deeper into particular aspects of the monitor's findings.

Willingess to Attend

Vaccine Certification Effect

Digital Engagement

About the Monitor

This research is part of a national research programme led by the Centre for Cultural Value in collaboration with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and The Audience Agency. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through UK Research and Innovation’s COVID-19 rapid rolling call. This collaborative approach is what has allowed us to conduct such an extensive national programme of ongoing research, helping us to understand and track changes in the public’s cultural participation through and beyond COVID-19.

Key things to note about this research are that it:

  • Samples the whole population
  • Covers all sectors
  • Shows change over time
  • Is linked to Audience Spectrum

'Waves' of the Cultural Participation Monitor Survey so far reported on are:

  • Wave 1: 6,055 responses, Oct-Nov 2020
  • Wave 2: 1,503 responses, Feb 2021
  • Wave 3: 2,002 responses, June 2021

We will continue to build on this foundation to provide an ever-richer understanding of our communities and their cultural engagement. Importantly, this research is focussed on the whole of the UK public and will track and explore their behaviours, attitude and intentions throughout and beyond the crisis, running in a series of further waves of nationally representative panel surveys well into 2022.

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Deep dives into particular aspects of the monitor's findings