Does Culture Matter? Yes.

Today we presented the first report from Does Culture Matter, our 18-week research project into how people connected with arts, culture or entertainment during lockdown.

We knew when we started that yes, culture did matter, the questions were to who, how much, when and why?

As coronavirus took its toll on our country, health, livelihoods and culture sector, we were compelled to do something useful.

Audience comes first for us. Every marketing, audience development or communications project should start with an audience need. So, we took the rare opportunity to talk to audiences, and not-yet-audiences without a time pressure or specific project in mind.

Purpose of Does Culture Matter

The purpose of Does Culture Matter when we started back in March 2020 was:

  • to understand how audience relationships with arts and culture are changing
  • to understand the importance of arts and culture in our day-to-day lives
  • to see how we can connect more broadly with a range of audiences and not-yet-audiences.

Download the report here to get all the details of our findings to date.

Top 10 findings from Does Culture Matter

If you’re a “skim the highlights and check the details later” kind of person, here’s your top ten.

  1. We had a self-selecting group of c.1,000 respondents answering weekly questions between 23 March and 20 July 2020, about their views on, and relationship with, arts, culture and entertainment.
  2. One-third of respondents are what "the sector" would term ‘not culturally engaged’ or 'hard-to-reach' – we dispute this label based on our experience and research – in fact, the report will show broad engagement in non-traditional art-forms.
  3. Before coronavirus, audiences were largely into visiting gardens, parks, cinemas, galleries with some small variations by age group, e.g. under- 24s are 60% more likely to go to a music venue than over-24s at least once per month.
  4. During the lockdown, people are much more willing to try new cultural experiences. Because risk is removed and it’s more accessible than ever before, 61% try something new between March and July 2020.
  5. The value of arts and culture isn’t disputed, almost everyone thinks arts and culture are essential (98%), less than half of us (47%) actually want to pay for it.
  6. The definition of culture is way broader than the traditional sector art-forms; this presents an exciting opportunity to connect with a wider range of people, with different interests and passions.
  7. Audience confidence in returning to venues or events is increasing week-by-week, audiences are strongly preferring outdoor events than indoor events.
  8. We’ve identified clear marketing opportunities for audiences
    who are now increasingly relying on recommendations from a trusted source more than other marketing tactics.
  9. In the short-term (summer/autumn 2020) audiences want to feel safe, they want to see very obvious safety measures in place at events/venues. Our number one recommendation here is to use video content to show as well as tell audiences how you will keep them safe.
  10. In the longer-term (2021) audiences are looking for cultural activities in their neighbourhoods, to be inspired, to feel warm, welcomed and connected; we are viewing this as an audience need to recover from the physical distancing of 2020.

Download the report here to get all the details of our findings to date.

Does Culture Matter part 2 will start in September, and we'll present findings in December 2020.