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4172.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Culture, August 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/08/2012   
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FEATURE ARTICLE: CULTURAL ATTENDANCE BY PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY


Introduction

Culture and the arts have the potential to inspire creativity, imagination and learning [Australian Government, 'Disability and the Arts', 2007]. Culture and the arts can also contribute to the well-being of individuals with a disability as well as their carers, families, friends and communities [Arts Access Australia, 2005].

This article presents the findings of the 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) in relation to cultural attendance by two population groups:

  • people with a disability aged 5 years and over
  • older people (i.e. those aged 60 years and over).

In this article, cultural attendance refers to visits to museums, art galleries, libraries, theatres, concerts, cinemas, animal parks, marine parks and botanic gardens in the 12 months prior to interview. In the 2009 SDAC, cultural attendance data were obtained for people with a disability aged 5 years and over and for all people aged 60 years and over. The collection of data for people aged 60 years and over allows for comparison of attendance rates between older persons with and without a reported disability.

The publication Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0) provides a picture of cultural attendance by the general population aged 15 years and over. However, due to differences in methodology and survey design, data from this publication are not directly comparable with results from the SDAC. At the broad level, results from the two collections suggest that people with a disability have lower attendance rates at cultural venues and events than that of the general population aged 15 years and over.

To illustrate this point, the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers found that, in 2009, 59% of people with a disability aged 15 years and over attended at least one cultural venue or event. In contrast, Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia (cat. no. 4114.0) found that, in 2009-10, 86% of the Australian population aged 15 years and over had attended at least one cultural venue or event.

Around 4 million Australians aged 5 years and over were identified as having a disability in 2009, equating to approximately 1 in 5 Australians. For the purposes of the SDAC, disability is defined as any limitation, restriction or impairment lasting or, likely to last, for at least six months which restricts everyday activities. Impairments can be sensory, intellectual, physical or psychological and their effects range from profound to mild. In 2009, 87% of people with a reported disability had a specific communication, mobility, self-care limitation or a schooling or employment restriction.

Cultural attendance

In 2009, 2.4 million or 60% of people aged 5 years and over with a disability attended at least one of the selected cultural venues and events included in the SDAC, down from 62% in 2003.

Attendance by males with a disability decreased from 61% in 2003 to 58% in 2009. There was not enough evidence to suggest that the difference between the 2003 and 2009 attendance rates for females was statistically significant (63% in 2003 and 62% in 2009).

Attendance at selected cultural venues and events(a)(b), By sex - 2003 and 2009

2003
2009
2003
2009
Number ('000)
Number ('000)
Percent (%)
Percent (%)

Males

Visited museum or art gallery
356.3
378.6
18.6
19.6
Visited library
578.0
518.6
30.1
26.8
Attended theatre or concert
402.5
388.3
21.0
20.1
Attended cinema
769.3
728.6
40.0
37.7
Visited animal or marine park or botanic gardens
526.6
466.6
27.4
24.1
Total(c)
1 169.6
1 123.6
60.9
58.1

Females

Visited museum or art gallery
400.5
428.6
20.3
21.0
Visited library
676.9
656.0
34.3
32.1
Attended theatre or concert
538.1
567.1
27.3
27.7
Attended cinema
818.6
828.0
41.5
40.5
Visited animal or marine park or botanic gardens
543.5
503.4
27.6
24.6
Total(c)
1 246.7
1 268.9
63.2
62.1

Persons

Visited museum or art gallery
756.9
807.2
19.4
20.3
Visited library
1 254.9
1 174.6
32.2
29.5
Attended theatre or concert
940.7
955.4
24.2
24.0
Attended cinema
1 587.8
1 556.6
40.8
39.1
Visited animal or marine park or botanic gardens
1 070.1
970.0
27.5
24.4
Total(c)
2 416.2
2 392.5
62.1
60.1

(a) By people with a disability aged 5 years and over.
(b) In the 12 months before interview.
(c) Sum of activities does not add to total because some people were involved in more than one activity.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (cat. no. 4430.0).



Attendance by sex and age group

Attendance at selected cultural venues and events for people with a disability generally declined with age, with those in the younger age groups having the highest attendance rates. Of the persons attending at least one venue or event, those aged 65 years and over had the lowest attendance rate (46%) while persons aged 5 to 14 years recorded the highest attendance rate (85%).

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events were higher for females, with 62% of females with a disability attending at least one cultural venue or event compared with 58% of males. Generally, females had higher attendance rates than males across all age groups, although the difference between the female and male attendance rates for those aged 5 to 14 years, 25 to 34 years and 65 years and over was not proven to be statistically significant.

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By age group and sex - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By age group and sex—2009



The difference in the attendance rates for females and males were greatest for libraries, and at the theatre or a concert, with 32% of females and 27% of males visiting a library and 28% of females and 20% of males attending the theatre or a concert. Cinema attendance was also significantly higher for females (41%) compared with males (38%).

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By sex - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By sex—2009



Attendance by age and activity type

People with a disability aged 65 years and over had the lowest attendance rates across all activities. Going to the cinema was the most popular activity for those aged 5 to 64 years. However, for people aged 65 years and over, a similar proportion visited a library or visited a cinema (24% for both).

Attendance at selected cultural venues or events(a)(b), By age group - 2009

Age group (years)
Museum
or art gallery
Library
Theatre
or concert
Cinema
Animal or marine park or botanic garden

Number ('000)

5 to 14
80.5
133.6
60.2
160.3
103.9
15 to 24
44.6
73.7
66.1
148.4
50.4
25 to 34
60.8
89.5
81.0
152.8
92.9
35 to 44
90.9
129.2
115.7
201.6
148.0
45 to 54
122.3
156.3
129.1
223.9
152.6
55 to 64
183.2
220.5
209.0
302.1
209.6
65 and over
225.0
371.9
294.3
367.6
212.7

Percent (%)

5 to 14
33.4
55.4
25.0
66.5
43.1
15 to 24
21.8
36.1
32.4
72.7
24.7
25 to 34
22.9
33.7
30.5
57.5
35.0
35 to 44
22.7
32.3
29.0
50.4
37.0
45 to 54
22.7
29.0
24.0
41.6
28.3
55 to 64
23.5
28.3
26.9
38.8
26.9
65 and over
14.5
24.0
19.0
23.7
13.7

(a) By people with a disability aged 5 years and over.
(b) In the 12 months before interview.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2009.



People with a disability aged 5 to 14 years had the highest attendance rates at museums or art galleries (33%), libraries (55%) and animal or marine parks or botanic gardens (43%). Cinema attendance was highest amongst 15 to 24 year olds, with 73% attending in the 12 months prior to interview. Nearly one-third (32%) of people with a disability aged 15 to 24 years attended the theatre or a concert. This was significantly higher than the other age groups with the exception of those aged 25 to 34 years (31%) and 35 to 44 years (29%) where there was not enough evidence to suggest that the difference in attendance rates between these groups and those aged 15 to 24 was statistically significant.

Animal and marine parks or botanic gardens were most popular with 5 to 14 year olds (43%) followed by persons aged between 25 to 34 years and 35 to 44 years (35% and 37% respectively).


Attendance by disability status

Attendance at selected cultural venues and events was highest for people with a disability who did not have specific limitations or restrictions with 78% of people aged 5 years and over attending at least one cultural venue or event in the 12 months prior to interview in 2009. The lowest attendance rate was amongst people with profound or severe core activity limitations with 45% attending at least one event in the 12 months prior to interview.

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By disability status - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By disability status—2009



Looking at each activity, a higher proportion of people with a disability who did not have specific limitations or restrictions attended the various selected cultural venues and events in the 12 months prior to interview in 2009. This difference was most apparent for cinema attendance, with 57% of persons without specific limitations or restrictions going to the cinema, compared with 45% of people with schooling or employment restrictions, 38% of people with moderate or mild core activity limitations and 28% of those with profound or severe core activity limitations.

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By disability status - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By disability status—2009



Attendance by disability group

Disabilities can be broadly grouped on whether they relate to functioning of the mind or the senses or to anatomy or physiology. This grouping may refer to a single disability or a number of broadly similar disabilities.

Compared with people in the other disability groups, attendance at the selected cultural venues and events was lowest for people with head injury, stroke or brain damage (45%) and those with psychological disabilities (47%).

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By selected disability groups - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By selected disability groups—2009



Cinema attendance was highest for people with intellectual disabilities (41%) compared with cinema attendance by people in the other disability groups. Of those who attended the theatre or a concert, people with psychological disabilities had the lowest attendance rate (14%).

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By selected disability groups - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By selected disability groups—2009



Attendance by older persons

Questions relating to cultural attendance were also asked of all individuals aged over 60 years included in SDAC, allowing comparison between people with a disability and people with no reported disability in this age group. Of the people aged over 60 years with a disability, 50% (981,500) attended at least one cultural venue or event, compared with 69% (1.5 million) of people without a disability. For each individual activity, the attendance rate for people with a disability was significantly lower than for people with no reported disability. For both groups, attendance rates were highest for cinemas, with 27% of people aged 60 years and over with a disability attending cinemas, compared with 43% of people aged 60 years and over with no reported disability.

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a), Persons aged 60 years and over - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a), Persons aged 60 years and over—2009




State and territory comparisons

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) over two-thirds (78% or 43,700 people) of people aged 5 years and over with a disability attended at least one of the selected cultural venues or events in the 12 months prior to interview. The attendance rate for people in the ACT was significantly higher than for people in the other states and territories. The lowest attendance rates of people with a disability occurred in New South Wales with 56% (or 730,600) of people with a disability attending at least one cultural venue or event.

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By State and Territory - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By State and Territory—2009



Barriers to attendance

Area of usual residence

Whether people reside in major cities, regional or remote areas may impact on which venues and events they attend. Attendance rates may be lower if there are fewer opportunities to attend cultural venues or events, if extensive travel is required in order to attend a venue or event or if there is less information available [Council of Australian Governments, 2011].

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By remoteness area - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By remoteness area—2009

Of the people with a disability living in major cities, 62% attended at least one cultural venue or event compared with 59% of people in inner regional and 54% in outer regional and remote areas. A higher proportion of people from major cities went to the cinema (42%) compared with people living in inner regional (35%) and outer regional or remote areas (30%). Of the people with a disability living in major cities and inner regional areas, one quarter (25%) visited an animal, marine park or botanic garden. This was significantly higher than the attendance rate for people in outer regional or remote areas (22%). In outer regional or remote areas, libraries and cinemas had the highest attendance rates (29% and 30% respectively) compared with the other selected cultural venues and events.

Income

Quite often, payment is involved when attending cultural venues and events. Even when there is no cost associated with the activity directly, there are still transport costs to be considered. Consequently, there are financial barriers which can limit attendance. People with a disability may have lower incomes because they may have employment restrictions, incur additional costs for equipment, transport and support workers and this can reduce their opportunities to attend cultural venues and events [Council of Australian Governments, 2011].

People with a disability who had a weekly personal income in the second quintile had the lowest attendance rates across all activities. Library attendance rates were the most similar across income quintiles compared with the other venues and events.

Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By weekly personal income - Quintiles - 2009
Graph: Attendance rates at selected cultural venues and events (a)(b), By weekly personal income—Quintiles—2009




Attendance rates across most of the cultural venues and events were higher for people with a disability who had a weekly personal income in the highest quintile. However, there was not enough evidence to suggest that the difference in library attendance by people in the highest quintile (36%) compared with those in the third (32%) and fourth (33%) quintiles was statistically significant.


References

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0)

ABS, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia; Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0)

ABS, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia; Summary of Findings, 2003 (cat. no. 4430.0)

Arts Access Australia, 2005, Making the Journey: Arts and Disability in Australia, accessed 25 June, 2011, http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au

Australian Government 2007, Disability and the Arts, accessed 21 June, 2011, http://australia.gov.au

Council of Australian Governments, National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, accessed 31 July, 2011, http://www.fahcsia.gov.au


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