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Taking Part survey data released - cultural engagement summary of key findings

Taking Part is a household survey in England. It looks at participation in the cultural sector. This report presents the latest headline estimates for the year from January 2014 to December 2014. The survey is now in its tenth year and was commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in partnership with Arts Council England, English Heritage, and Sport England. The statistics are used widely by policy officials, practitioners, academics, the private sector and charities to measure and understand participation in the cultural sectors. 

The 2014/15 quarter 3 data were released last week and the headlines, which relate to the year Jan to Dec 2014 are below:

Arts Engagement

  • 76.8% of adults had participated in the arts or attended an arts event in the last year (this is called arts engagement in the Taking Part reports).
  • In the South East region 80.2% had participated. The trend over the nine years the survey has been administered is fairly constant although this year’s result is a significant decrease on the 2012/13 high of 78.4%.
  • 61.7% had participated in or attended three or more times in the last year. Again, the trend over the previous years is fairly constant, however this year’s result is also a significant decrease from 64.1% in 2012/13, but a similar rate to 2005/06 and 2011/12.

Click the link below for a visualisation of the arts results.

Museums and Galleries

  • 51.5% had visited a museum or gallery in the last year. The trend is generally upwards, from a baseline of 42.3% in 2005/06.
  • 56.5% of respondents from the SE had visited a museum or gallery in the last year. 

Click the link below for a visualisation of the museum and galleries results.


  • 34.5% had visited a public library in the previous year. The trend is generally downwards, from a baseline of 48.2% in 2005/06 and this year’s result is a significant decrease from 37% in 2012/13.
  • In the South East 33.0% had visited a library. This compares to 47% of Brighton and Hove residents who said they had used a public library service in the previous year in response to the Autumn 2014 City Tracker survey.

Click the link below for a visualisation of the libraries results.

Heritage Sites

  • 72.2% had visited a heritage site in the last year. The trend is fairly constant, although slightly upwards.
  • The South East figure is 78.1%.

Click the link below for a visualisation of the heritage results.


  • 2.9% had visited an archive or records office in the last year. The trend is downwards from a baseline of 5.9% in 2005/06.

(No visualisation available)


  • 29.0% had donated to the DCMS sectors in the last 12 months. The trend is downwards from a baseline of 33.0% in 2010/11. 
  • Charitable giving to the DCMS sectors significantly decreased between 2010/11 and 2014/15 quarter 3 in the South East from 39.7% to 31.5%.

(No visualisation available)


Women had higher engagement rates than men for the following:

  • Visiting a library: 39 per cent had visited compared to 30 per cent for men.
  • Volunteering: 26 per cent had taken part in voluntary work compared to 21 per cent for men.
  • Engagement with the arts: 80 per cent had engaged compared to 73 per cent for men.

Respondents from BME groups had higher engagement rates than those from White groups (NB this is how DCMS report the data) for visiting a library: 48 per cent had visited compared to 33 per cent of those from White groups.
Those with a long standing illness or disability had significantly lower engagement rates for engagement in the arts, visiting heritage sites, museums and galleries and libraries and digital participation in cultural sectors.

Those in upper socio-economic status bands had higher participation and engagement rates for all sectors reported upon in Taking Part. However, since 2005/06, there have been significant increases in engagement for the lower socio-economic group in heritage and museums and galleries participation.

Read the full report here