4147.4.55.001 - Culture and Recreation News, Oct 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/11/2006   
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There is a variety of culture and recreation data coming out over the next six months, as described later in this newsletter. These outputs include some updated data, such as culture and sports attendance, and also some new data, such as information relating to social capital and information about barriers to and motives for sports participation.

If you are interested in Indigenous arts and culture, I strongly encourage you to read our recent publication which brings together everything we know about this topic from ABS data sources. The publication has a slightly different format to standard ABS products in that it poses questions about the subject matter, some of which can only partly be answered from existing data. Hence, the publication includes discussion of the data limitations.

Another recent publication reported on in this newsletter concerns the sports industries. I particularly thank our ABS colleagues in the Service Industries Survey (SIS) team for their recent efforts in both culture and sports industry statistics. A review of the SIS program completed earlier this year provided good opportunities for client input. More recently, there has been consultation with clients in preparation for the upcoming culture industry surveys (Film, TV and Video Production; Performing Arts Venues; Performing Arts, Music and Theatre).

While our work within Australia is fully absorbing, and always takes priority, we have made some recent efforts to better link with international work in culture and recreation research and statistics. The OECD is involved in a cultural statistics project to which we have had input, and they are hosting a workshop in Paris in December 2006. While we are unable to attend, I was fortunate to travel to Ottawa, Canada and Washington DC during September. During this trip I had fruitful meetings with staff of the Canadian Department of Cultural Heritage, Sport Canada, Statistics Canada, the Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress. There is nothing like a live visit to help establish good relationships with colleagues overseas. We are also soon to be visited by a representative of the Planning Division of the Singapore National Arts Council. It is vital for our small team to develop and maintain connections with international statisticians and researchers in the field, but it is also a challenge to afford the time and travel. Thank goodness for email and the Internet!

As always, we are very grateful to our key clients and funding partners for their support and input to our work. The Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport Research Group is currently working on developing a research program, and we hope to work with them to formulate a viable plan supporting an ongoing role for NCCRS in sport and recreation statistics for the three years to 2009–10. The Cultural Ministers Council recently committed to funding to support the work of NCCRS in cultural statistics for the three years to 2008–09. At the October meeting of the Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group, the outgoing chair, Mr Alastair Bryant (Director General, WA Department of Culture and the Arts) was fondly farewelled. He has departed with a promise of continuing his commitment to research and statistics in this field. The new chair, Ms Leigh Tabrett (Deputy Director-General, Arts Queensland Department of Education and the Arts) was welcomed, and we very much look forward to her leadership.

To sum up, it has been a very positive start to the financial year, and we expect big challenges with many projects in early stages. My thanks go to the small team of NCCRS staff for their continuing commitment and energy. If you have any questions about culture and recreation data, I encourage you to get in touch with us.

Lisa Conolly