Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4172.0 - Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2008 (First Edition)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/05/2008   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

FEATURE ARTICLE 2: CULTURAL ATTENDANCE BY PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY


ON THIS PAGE

Introduction

What is a disability?

Potential barriers to attendance by persons with a disability

What does the data show?


Barriers
Summary

References


INTRODUCTION

The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (1992) recognises that people with a disability have the same fundamental rights as other people and should have equal opportunities to access and participate in community life, including an equal right to attend cultural venues and events. However, people with a disability may face barriers to attending and enjoying these activities. For example, a venue may not be accessible by a person with a wheelchair, or an Auslan sign interpreter may not be available for people with a hearing disability at the performance of a play.

In this article, data from the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted in 2006, which collected information from persons aged 18 years and over, is analysed to see whether people with a disability are less likely to attend cultural venues and events than people without a disability. Information about attendance at community events, sporting events and participation in sport and recreational physical activities is also included for comparative purposes.

Back to top


WHAT IS A DISABILITY?

In November 2001 the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) was accepted by 191 countries as the international standard to describe and measure health and disability. It takes into account various aspects of disability, including social, environmental and medical, and provides a mechanism to document the impact of the social and physical environment on a person’s functioning. More information is available from the World Health Organisation website http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en/.

The GSS data on disability and long-term health conditions were gathered via a standard short question module. This module provides a broad measure of disability. The standard short question module used in GSS provides for a disability or long-term health condition to be defined as existing if a limitation, restriction, impairment, disease or disorder, had lasted, or was likely to last for at least six months, and which restricted everyday activities. It is classified by whether or not a person has a specific limitation or restriction. Specific limitation or restriction is further classified by whether the limitation or restriction is a limitation in core activities or a schooling/employment restriction only. There are four levels of core activity limitation (profound, severe, moderate, and mild) which are based on whether a person needs help, has difficulty, or uses aids or equipment with any of the core activities (self care, mobility or communication). A person's overall level of core activity limitation is determined by their highest level of limitation in these activities.

The four levels are:
  • profound - always needs help/supervision with core activities
  • severe - does not always need help with core activities
  • moderate - has difficulty with core activities
  • mild - uses aids to assist with core activities.

For the remainder of this article, the phrase 'persons with a disability' is used to refer to people with an existing disability or long-term health condition according to the above definition, regardless of the level of activity limitation.

Back to top


POTENTIAL BARRIERS TO ATTENDANCE BY PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY

A joint publication by the Australian Museum and the National Museum of Australia, Many voices making choices: museum audiences with disabilities (Landman, Fishburn, Kelly, Tonkin, 2005), reports on a literature review on visitors with disabilities as well as a series of consultation sessions asking people with a disability about their experiences as visitors to museums. The main barrier to museum visits identified by the people consulted for the study was physical access. Physical access barriers identified included the basic problem of not being able to enter or move through a building at all, but also included not being able to enter and enjoy the museum independently.

Examples of other barriers identified in the report which may impact on attendance at cultural venues and events by persons with a disability include:
  • Cost of attending event, particularly if an extra ticket needs to be bought for a carer or if specific transport is required.
  • Issues with transport, including difficulty of public transport use and no designated parking for people with disabilities
  • Venues with limited or no wheelchair access
  • Lack of sign language interpreters at performances and talks
  • No large print signs and labels

Back to top


WHAT DOES THE DATA SHOW?

Attendance at cultural venues and events

Data from the 2006 GSS showed that of people with a disability aged 18 years and over, 83% were likely to attend at least one of the selected cultural venues and events per year compared to 92% of persons without a disability (92%). This difference was significant at the 95% confidence level. In addition, persons with a disability were significantly less likely to have attended each of the selected cultural venues and events, apart from classical music concerts, than persons without a disability. For example, 58% of persons with a disability had attended a cinema in the 12 months prior to interview compared with 75% of persons without a disability.

When comparing those with a disability to those without a disability, there was no significant difference between the groups when the individuals only attended one cultural event or location per year. In addition, there was no significant difference between the attendance rates of persons with no specific limitation and persons without a disability at art galleries, museums, botanic gardens, classical music concerts, and musicals and operas. This indicates that persons with a core activity limitation may have more difficulty accessing these venues and events than people with a disability who have no specific limitation.

Of persons with a disability, those with a core activity limitation were significantly less likely to have attended each of the selected cultural venues and events - apart from libraries - than those without a specific limitation. For example, 28% of those with a core activity limitation had attended a zoo or aquarium in the 12 months prior to interview compared with 38% of those without a specific limitation.

A previous study (Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group, 2007) using data from the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) shows that persons with a profound core activity limitation were significantly less likely to:
  • visit museums/art galleries (10%) than persons with a mild core activity limitation (21%),
  • visit libraries (20%) than persons with a mild core activity limitation (34%),
  • attend theatres/concerts (12%) than persons with a mild core activity limitation (27%),
  • attend the cinema (22%) than persons with a mild core activity limitation (42%), and
  • visit animal/marine parks (17%) than persons with a mild core activity limitation (27%).

Note that due to different survey methodologies the results from the GSS and SDAC cannot be compared.

Cultural attendance(a), By disability status - 2006

Persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Has a core activity limitation
Has no specific limitation
Total persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Persons without a disability or long-term health condition

Attendance rate (%)

Art galleries
20.5
28.9
26.0
30.0
Museums
22.5
27.0
25.3
29.2
Zoological parks and aquariums
28.2
38.4
35.0
45.0
Botanic gardens
32.6
39.7
36.2
42.9
Libraries
40.4
41.6
41.9
48.0
Classical music concerts
10.4
14.0
11.9
12.7
Popular music concerts
20.4
29.1
25.8
36.8
Theatre performances
14.4
19.8
17.5
24.8
Dance performances
10.8
13.9
12.6
17.9
Musicals and operas
17.9
22.8
20.2
25.1
Other performing arts
16.2
20.8
19.3
24.0
Cinemas
48.1
63.5
58.2
75.4
At least one cultural venue or event
77.0
86.0
82.9
92.3

Number ('000)

Total population aged 18 years and over
2 008.3
3 213.1
6 063.2
9 243.9

(a) In the 12 months prior to interview.
Source: General Social Survey, 2006, data available on request.


Between the 2002 and 2006 GSS, the difference between the attendance rates for persons with a disability and persons without a disability remained stable. In 2002, 82% of persons with a disability had attended at least one cultural venue or event compared to 92% of persons without a disability. In 2006 these rates were 83% and 92% respectively.

The proportion of persons with a disability who attended at least one cultural venue or event in the previous 12 months did not change significantly from 2002 to 2006. However, the proportion attending art galleries (22% in 2002 and 26% in 2006), classical music concerts (8% and 12% respectively), popular music concerts (21% and 26%), dance performances (9% and 13%) and musicals or operas (17% and 20%) increased significantly.

For persons without a disability, the proportion attending art galleries (27% in 2002 and 30% in 2006), museums (27% and 29% respectively), libraries (44% and 48%), classical music concerts (10% and 13%), popular music concerts (30% and 37%), theatre performances (20% and 25%), dance performances (12% and 18%) and musicals or operas (20% and 25%) all increased significantly.

Cultural attendance(a), By disability status - 2002 and 2006

2002
2006
Has a core activity limitation
Has no specific limitation
Total persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Persons without a disability or long-term health condition
Has a core activity limitation
Has no specific limitation
Total persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Persons without a disability or long-term health condition

Attendance rate (%)

Art galleries
19.2
22.8
21.7
26.9
20.5
28.9
26.0
30.0
Museums
18.4
24.2
22.3
26.7
22.5
27.0
25.3
29.2
Zoological parks and aquariums
24.8
36.2
32.7
44.9
28.2
38.4
35.0
45.0
Botanic gardens
32.2
39.7
37.0
44.6
32.6
39.7
36.2
42.9
Libraries
38.1
38.8
39.1
44.1
40.4
41.6
41.9
48.0
Classical music concerts
6.7
8.8
7.8
9.7
10.4
14.0
11.9
12.7
Popular music concerts
17.4
21.7
21.1
30.0
20.4
29.1
25.8
36.8
Theatre performances
12.7
16.0
15.2
19.8
14.4
19.8
17.5
24.8
Dance performances
7.1
10.1
9.0
12.1
10.8
13.9
12.6
17.9
Musicals and operas
13.4
19.1
16.8
19.9
17.9
22.8
20.2
25.1
Other performing arts
15.0
18.0
17.4
22.3
16.2
20.8
19.3
24.0
Cinemas
48.3
62.7
58.7
77.3
48.1
63.5
58.2
75.4
At least one cultural venue or event
73.8
85.5
81.9
92.3
77.0
86.0
82.9
92.3

Number ('000)

Total population aged 18 and over
1 814.4
3 176.1
5 758.3
8 745.0
2 008.3
3 213.1
6 063.2
9 243.9

(a) In the 12 months prior to interview.
Source: General Social Survey, 2002 and 2006, data available on request.


It should also be noted that different venues and events are more popular within different age groups. For example, classical music concerts are more popular with older people whereas cinemas are more popular with younger people. Results from the 2006 GSS showed that 76% of people aged 18-24 years had no disability compared with only 12% for people aged 85 years and over. As older people are more likely to have a disability, this may have some effect on cultural attendance figures by disability status. For example, classical music concerts were the only venue or event where persons with a disability were not significantly less likely to have attended than persons without a disability. This may be due to the larger proportion of older people, who are more likely to have a disability, attending classical music concerts compared to other venues and events.

Cultural attendance(a), By age - 2006

18-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65 years and over

Attendance rate (%)

Art galleries
24.4
29.0
27.5
29.8
35.6
24.0
Museums
24.7
29.5
31.4
28.3
31.7
18.8
Zoological parks and aquariums
42.4
53.6
52.1
38.4
33.5
22.5
Botanic gardens
39.3
44.5
42.1
39.1
45.2
31.0
Libraries
56.8
49.6
45.4
43.6
42.4
37.5
Classical music concerts
8.3
11.1
9.0
13.8
19.1
13.2
Popular music concerts
49.0
40.5
32.5
32.2
30.0
13.2
Theatre performances
23.7
21.6
22.8
22.7
25.9
15.3
Dance performances
15.8
16.3
18.4
18.5
14.6
10.1
Musicals and operas
19.3
21.8
22.1
27.7
27.2
20.5
Other performing arts
21.4
27.5
25.2
23.0
19.6
14.3
Cinemas
88.6
80.9
74.0
67.2
61.5
40.8
At least one cultural venue or event
96.9
94.8
91.7
88.5
87.6
72.7

Number ('000)

Total population aged 18 years and over
1 940.1
2 809.2
2 988.3
2 800.2
2 239.3
2 529.9

(a) In the 12 months prior to interview.
Source: General Social Survey, 2006, data available on request.


Back to top


Attendance and participation in other events

As well as attendance at cultural venues and events, the GSS collected information about attendance at community events, sporting events and participation in sport or recreational physical activity.

Attendance/participation rates for persons without a disability were significantly higher for all of these activities compared with persons with a disability. Around two-thirds (68%) of persons without a disability had attended a community event in the past six months compared with 59% of persons with a disability. Similarly, 68% of persons without a disability had participated in sport or recreational physical activity and 58% had attended a sporting event compared with 53% and 43% of persons with a disability, respectively. By comparison, 92% of persons without a disability had attended cultural venues and events in the past 12 months compared with 83% of persons with a disability.

Attendance and participation in other activities, By disability status - 2006
Graph: Attendance and participation in other activities, By disability status—2006


In addition, for persons with a disability, attendance/participation rates for those with no specific limitation were significantly higher for all of these activities compared with those with a core activity limitation.

Attendance and participation in other activities, By disability status - 2006

Persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Has a core activity limitation
Has no specific limitation
Total persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Persons without a disability or long-term health condition

Attendance rate (%)

Attended community event in past six months
53.7
62.4
59.4
67.7
Participated in sport or recreational physical activity in last 12 months
43.5
59.8
53.3
68.1
Attended sporting event in last 12 months
33.9
47.8
42.7
58.2

Number ('000)

Total population aged 18 years and over
2 008.3
3 213.1
6 063.2
9 243.9

Source: General Social Survey, 2006, data available on request.


Back to top


BARRIERS

Whilst the GSS 2006 did not directly asked about barriers to attendance at cultural venues and events, respondents provided some data that are related to potential barriers. These data items are analysed below.

Back to top


Transport

A potential barrier to people with a disability attending cultural venues and events is difficulty in getting to the venue. The GSS asked respondents to assess how difficult it is for them to travel to places they may need to go to in normal circumstances. Four options were provided to respondents:
  • can easily get to the places needed
  • sometimes have difficulty getting to the places needed
  • often have difficulty getting to the places needed
  • can't get to the places needed.

If the respondent indicated that they never go out or are housebound this response was recorded. Difficulties which may have been taken into account are traffic problems, parking and distances, as well as those difficulties not directly related to transport such as poor health or lack of finances.

A significantly higher proportion of people with a disability sometimes or often have difficulty getting to the places needed or can't get to the places needed than people without a disability. Persons without a disability are more likely to be able to easily get to the places needed (89%) than persons with a disability (77%).

Difficulty with transport(a), By disability status - 2006
Graph: Difficulty with transport(a), By disability status—2006


Of persons with a disability, those with no specific limitation reported that they were more likely to be able to easily get to the places needed (86%) than those with a core activity limitation (66%).

In addition, there was no significant difference between the proportion of persons with a disability with no specific limitation (86%) and the proportion of persons without a disability (89%) who could easily get to the places needed. This indicates that difficulty with transport is perceived to be more of an issue for people with a core activity limitation.

Perceived difficulty with transport(a), By disability status - 2006

Persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Has a core activity limitation
Has no specific limitation
Total persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Persons without a disability or long-term health condition

Rate (%)

Can easily get to the places needed
65.8
85.6
77.2
88.6
Sometimes have difficulty getting to the places needed
20.1
10.7
14.9
9.3
Often have difficulty getting to the places needed
9.4
3.3
5.8
1.8
Can't get to the places needed/Never go out/Housebound
4.7
*0.4
2.1
*0.3

Number ('000)

Total population aged 18 years and over
2 008.3
3 213.1
6 063.2
9 243.9

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Perceived level of difficulty in normal circumstances.
Source: General Social Survey, 2006, data available on request.


Of persons with a disability, those who often have difficulty getting to the places needed were significantly less likely to have attended at least one of the cultural venues and events (64%) than those who can easily get to the places needed (86%).

Persons with a disability, Attendance rates by difficulty with transport(a) - 2006
Graph: Persons with a disability, Attendance rates by difficulty with transport(a)—2006


Back to top


Cost

Another potential barrier to people with a disability attending cultural venues and events is the cost. Two GSS data items are analysed here - the ability to raise $2,000 within a week for something important, which was used as a measure of financial stress, and the principal source of income.

One of the questions included in the financial stress module of the GSS asked respondents:

If all of a sudden (you / members of this household) had to get $2,000 for something important, could the money be obtained within a week?

The respondents could respond either Yes, No, or Don't know.

The GSS also identified the principal source of personal income. Principal sources could be reported as Wages or salary; Profit or loss from own unincorporated business or share in a partnership; Any Government pension or allowance; Profit or loss from rental property; Dividends or interest; Child support or maintenance; Superannuation, annuity or allocated pension; and Workers' compensation

Persons with a disability (81%) were significantly less likely to be able to raise $2,000 within a week than persons without a disability (88%). Persons with a disability (40%) were significantly more likely to be reliant on a government pension or allowance for personal income than persons without a disability (13%). In addition, persons with a disability with no specific limitation (30%) were significantly more likely to be reliant on a government pension or allowance for personal income than persons without a disability (13%), and persons with a disability with a core activity limitation (55%) were more likely to be reliant on a government pension or allowance for personal income than persons with no specific limitation (13%).

Income related variables, By disability status - 2006

Persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Has a core activity limitation
Has no specific limitation
Total persons with a disability or long-term health condition
Persons without a disability or long-term health condition

Rate (%)

Could raise $2,000 within a week for something important
78.0
85.0
81.0
88.0
Could not raise $2,000 within a week for something important
20.0
14.0
17.0
10.0
Principal income from Government pension or allowance
55.0
30.0
40.0
13.0
Principal income from any other source
45.0
70.0
60.0
87.0

Number ('000)

Total population aged 18 years and over
2 008.0
3 213.0
6 063.0
9 244.0

Source: General Social Survey, 2006, data available on request.


Those who could raise $2,000 within a week for something important were significantly more likely to have attended each of the cultural venues and events, apart from libraries, than those who could not raise $2,000 within a week, indicating that financial stress may be a barrier to attendance at cultural venues and events.

Persons with a disability, Attendance rates by ability to raise $2,000 within a week - 2006
Graph: Persons with a disability, Attendance rates by ability to raise $2,000 within a week—2006


Consistent with the results for the financial stress data item, for persons with a disability those whose main source of income was any government pension or allowance were significantly less likely to attend each of the selected cultural venues and events, apart from libraries, than those with some other principal source of personal income.

Persons with a disability, Attendance rates by principal source of personal income - 2006
Graph: Persons with a disability, Attendance rates by principal source of personal income—2006


Back to top


SUMMARY

Data from the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted in 2006, which collected information from persons aged 18 years and over, shows that cultural attendance rates are significantly lower for persons with a disability than those for persons without a disability.

As well as lower cultural attendance rates, GSS data reveals that persons with a disability were also significantly less likely to attend community events, sporting events and to participate in sport and recreational physical activity than persons without a disability. In addition, attendance rates to at least one cultural venue or event, community events, sporting events and participation rates in sport and recreational physical activity were lower for people with a disability with a core activity limitation than for people with a disability with no specific limitation.

Respondents to the 2006 GSS were not specifically asked about barriers to attendance at cultural venues and events, therefore it is not possible to analyse these directly. However, some data items collected in the GSS are related to potential barriers, and as such can be used as broad indicators. Survey results suggest that for people with a disability, cultural attendance rates are lower for people facing difficulties with transport and with raising money.

Back to top


REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007, General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4159.0), ABS, Canberra, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4159.0/

Australian Government, 1992, Disability Discrimination Act 1992, viewed 11 July 2007,
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLaw/Legislation/ActCompilation1.nsf/all/search/
FC69105BAF504384CA2571400006FD7F

Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group, 2007, Cultural Participation by Persons with a Disability and Older Persons, 2003, prepared for CMCSWG by the NCCRS of the ABS, published by CMCSWG, http://www.culturaldata.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/61775/Cultural_participation_
by_persons_with_a_disability_and_older_persons.pdf

IFACCA, 2004, Arts and Disability Policies, D’Art Topics in Arts Policy, no.10, International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, Sydney, viewed 27 June 2007, http://www.ifacca.org/files/artsanddisabilityreport.pdf

Landman, Fishburn, Kelly, Tonkin, 2005, Many voices making choices: museum audiences with disabilities, viewed 27 June 2007, http://www.amonline.net.au/amarc/research/disabilities.htm

World Health Organisation, 2002, Towards a Common Language for Functioning, Disability and Health ICF, viewed 27 June 2007, http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/site/beginners/bg.pdf

Back to top


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.