4147.4.55.001 - Culture and Recreation News, Jul 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/08/2004   
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In our last newsletter, we highlighted the rich data source now available from the 2002 General Social Survey, which includes data relating to adult participation in sport, attendance at cultural venues and events, and attendance at sporting events. Early this year data relating to children's participation in culture, sport and leisure activities was released from a survey conducted in April 2003 - a few highlights are provided in this newsletter.

While these surveys meet a variety of research needs, there has been particular interest in this data to inform health-related debates about physical activity in the population. Data from the children's survey have been utilised in the context of debate regarding concerns about obesity among children. Governments at all levels appear to be continuing to focus some considerable effort on policies which aim to increase participation in sport and physical activity, for both children and adults. Due to this increasing interest, and with the support of the Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport and their Research Group subcommittee, NCCRS is currently undertaking more analysis of the ABS surveys of sport participation, for both children and adults, in an effort to understand the characteristics of those who do not participate, and those who participate at very low levels. Results will be available later this year, with a summary to be provided in our next newsletter. These analyses will also inform the development of the next ABS survey of adult sport participation, to be included on the Multi-Purpose Household Survey in 2005-06, which will collect more detailed data about reasons for non-participation.

As described toward the end of this newsletter, NCCRS recently embarked on a tour of each capital city to raise awareness of cultural statistics. In the course of these seminars we also learnt from participants about their research needs, and indeed, about some of their independent research activities, with participants expressing a need to share more information about their research activity. Some even advocated for statistical standards to be developed to ensure consistent collection across different agencies (music to any statistician's ears!). With the support of the Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group, NCCRS are embarking on a project to develop an inventory of cultural research, which will initially focus on the data collected by key cultural institutions. We hope this project will assist agencies to share information, and ultimately lead to better co-ordination of statistical activity, but of course, this will require the support and co-operation of those agencies involved - there are some good signs that this co-operation will be forthcoming.

As always, we welcome comments and feedback on any of our publications and reports, and we are keen to hear from you about your culture and recreation research needs.

Lisa Conolly
Acting Director