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

Explore the Cultural Participation Monitor

The Cultural Participation Monitor (CPM) is our population survey that serves up a quick slice of intel about what people do, want and feel about creative and cultural activity, as it changes. Three times a year we ask the nation(s) what they think about the issues of the moment – cost of living, working from home, climate change and more – and how it’s affecting their creative and cultural life. Are people really behaving badly in venues? Are they more or less likely to donate? What excites and bores them?

We ask a completely representative cross-section of society – so we get to hear from people who are avid culture vultures as well as people whose creative lives take place far away from venues and institutions. The Cultural Participation Monitor serves the wider cultural sector and – most importantly – it’s designed with them. If you have a burning question, please get in touch. And if you want to keep abreast of changes, you’ll always check out the latest key findings or join us for one of our regular free TEA Break sessions. You can also sponsor a wave of the Monitor to ask audiences your own burning questions, though note space is strictly limited…drop the project lead Oliver Mantell a line to find out when and how.

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

This new evidence gives us a glimpse into the future and to what future audiences will expect from us. Now, more than ever, we need to understand our audiences and keep them at the heart of what we do. We need to move through these changing – and challenging - times WITH audiences. These insights point to a changed role for organisations we need to think about amplifying our social values, becoming a community resource, being prepared to join the conversation, creating opportunities for debate. In a content rich, AI-dominated world, we need to cherish our strong relationships with audiences and ensure we create distinctive, experiential offers.

- Anne Torreggiani, CEO, The Audience Agency

Regular Key Findings

Wave 9 | Summer 2023

Wave 8 | Spring 2023

Wave 7 | Autumn 2022

Wave 6 | Spring 2022

Wave 5 | Winter 2021

Wave 4 | Autumn 2021

Wave 3 | Summer 2021

Wave 2 | Spring 2021

Wave 1 | Autumn 2020

The Origins of the Monitor

The Cultural Participation Monitor was part of our work on the Covid-19 Impact Research with Centre for Cultural Value at Leeds, funded by the UKRI Covid Response fund. From autumn 2020 – autumn 21, we did several waves of a survey of the population asking them about their changed and changing attitudes to culture and creativity, going out and staying in, spending their time and money.

'Waves' of the Cultural Participation Monitor Survey:

  • Wave 1: 6,055 responses, Oct 2020​
  • Wave 2: 1,503 responses, Feb 2021​
  • Wave 3: 2,002 responses, June 2021
  • Wave 4: 2,025 responses, Sept 2021
  • Wave 5: 6,057 responses, Nov 2021
  • Wave 6: 3,197 responses, March 2022
  • Wave 7: 3,557 responses, Sept 2022
  • Wave 8: 2,428 responses, March 2023
  • Wave 9: July 2023

What's Next for the Monitor

It has proved so useful to have a robust source of information about a proper cross-section of attitudes right now, we have decided to continue the Monitor as quarterly survey in a partnership between The Audience Agency and Centre for Cultural Value. We are currently crowd-funding it while we secure a long-term funder. Opportunities to participate in the future of the monitor include:

  • Collaboration and partnership | We are now working in partnership on each wave of the Monitor to give it a special focus or resonance - and to help us to spread the cost. Recent partners have included: Vocaleyes and Stagetext, who focused on the experience of disabled people and audiences; the Association for Cultural Enterprises who looked at retail and catering in cultural venues; and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, who examined membership, donations and values.
  • Bespoke Analysis | We have collected a wealth of information over the past 2 years and hold detailed information – including by region and demographics - from a wide range of questions about live and online engagement. If you have specific questions, we may be able to answer them straight away or can offer our services to carry out bespoke analysis for a small fee, contributing to ongoing overheads.

With thanks to our partners to date:

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Deep dives into particular aspects of the monitor's findings

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Willingness to Attend

Looking at which audiences are most and least willing to attend live events in the near future and which are more or less likely to have already booked for them.

Image of Feature | Home Office, Home Crowd?
Feature | Home Office, Home Crowd?

Has the shift to working from home moved the goal posts for local arts attendance? Oliver Mantell has been considering the evidence of attendance at live arts events.

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Paying for Online Arts

In the Winter 2021 wave of the Cultural Participation Monitor, we asked respondents about their willingness to continue paying to for online arts content in the future.

Image of Philanthropy and Giving
Philanthropy and Giving

We asked respondents specific questions about their attitudes to financial support for the arts, either personally or politically:

Image of Focus on Disability
Focus on Disability

Feelings of societally imposed restriction are old news for audiences with disabilities, which is perhaps partly why they have been so ready to embrace culture differently through COVID.

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Inequality through COVID

Looking at Cultural Participation Monitor data to see who is more negatively impacted and how that relates to, or exacerbates, previously existing and ongoing inequalities in audiences.

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Vaccine Certification Effect

As of March 2021, in the short term the number of people prevented from attending by vaccine certification is likely to exceed the number of people it persuades to attend.

Image of Wellbeing Through Covid
Wellbeing Through Covid

While audiences' wellbeing has taken a significant hit during the pandemic, some groups have felt less negatively impacted than others, and engaging with arts and culture has proved to be a mood booster.