Data Snapshot


Research and data are fundamental for evidence-based policy development, informed decision-making, effective planning, and the efficient use of resources for service delivery. Research and data are also important for advocacy reasons, in terms of promoting and understanding the value and impact of the arts.

Measuring success

artsACT is a member of the National Local Government Cultural Forum , a collaboration which includes capital city councils, the Australian Local Government Association, the Australia Council for the Arts and the Cultural Development Network. Together, we are working on an outcome framework to enable measurement of outcomes of cultural engagement. This outcomes framework includes a set of measurable cultural outcomes, as well as outcomes across the social, civic, environmental and economic domains.

These outcomes include:

You can learn more about this schema by visiting the Cultural Development Network website.

Our measures

The following statistics give a brief overview of the ACT arts ecology. Note that data will be added and updated when available.

Participation in and access to the arts

Great art and great artists

Vitality of the Canberra Region arts ecology

Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures

Australia Council's National Arts Participation Survey

The ACT findings are below. The full reports are available on the Australia Council for the Arts website

Impacts of the arts

More Australians now recognise the many positive impacts the arts have on our daily lives and in our communities, including on our wellbeing and happiness, and ability to think creatively and develop new ideas.

In 2016, the majority of ACT residents felt the arts have a ‘big’ or ‘very big’ impact on:

Attitudes about the arts

Australians believe that the arts reflect and contribute to society, to identity and to Australia’s international reputation. The arts give life meaning and Australians are proud of their artists.

Almost nine in ten ACT residents agree that:

Around eight in ten ACT residents agree that:

Around seven in ten ACT residents agree that:

Giving to the arts

The high value that Australians place on the arts is reflected in the time and money they give to support artists, arts organisations and arts projects.

One in three ACT residents give time or money to the arts (34%).

The arts and cultural diversity

For the first time in 2016, the National Arts Participation Survey collected data on engagement with the arts as part of Australians’ cultural backgrounds.

One in three ACT residents engage with their cultural background through the arts (31%). In 2016, visual arts and craft was the most common way ACT residents engaged (22%); followed by music or theatre (both 19%); creative writing (10%); and dance (8%).

More Australians are attending First Nations arts across art forms, reflecting the high quality work of First Nations artists and initiatives to build audiences for First Nations arts. One in three ACT residents attend First Nations arts (34%). In 2016, 24% of ACT residents attended First Nations visual arts and craft; 18% attended dance; 17% attended music; 15% attended First Nations storytelling; and 12% attended First Nations theatre.

Data available for the first time shows that the community arts and cultural development (CACD) sector is a leader in the use of the arts to support social cohesion, enabling diverse voices to be heard and connected through creating art. In 2016, 17% of ACT residents were involved in CACD activities that actively engaged community members in decision making and creation of art in collaboration with professional artists.

Arts attendance

Attending arts experiences in person enables Australians to come together as audiences and connect with artists in unmediated ways.

Four in five ACT residents attend the arts (78%). In 2016, almost two thirds of ACT residents attended theatre (63%); more than half attended visual arts (56%) or live music (52%); more than a third attended dance (37%); and one quarter attended literature events (25%).

Data available for the first time show that two in five ACT residents attend arts festivals (39%). In 2016, more than a quarter of ACT residents attended multi-art form festivals (27%) or music festivals (26%); 18% attended theatre or dance festivals; 16% attended visual arts festivals; 10% attended literature festivals; and 9% attended First Nations festivals.

Creative participation in the arts

Despite our busy lives, Australia remains a creative nation.

Almost half of ACT residents creatively participate in the arts (47%). ACT residents are more likely to attend theatre (63%) than other Australians (41%). In 2016, three in ten created visual arts and craft (29%); and around two in ten participated in creative writing (21%), music (16%) or theatre (15%).

Listening and reading

Listening to music and reading are vital, accessible and popular ways that Australians engage with the arts.

Almost all ACT residents intentionally listen to recorded music (98%). In 2016, 92% listened to music they owned; 88% listened via the radio/television; and 77% listened through paid or free online streaming services.

More than nine in ten ACT residents read creative writing (93%). In 2016, 76% of ACT residents read novels; 60% read creative non-fiction; 39% read short stories; 12% read graphic novels or comics; and 12% read poetry.

Online engagement

Across Australia, online engagement with the arts is booming. Online activity is creating new opportunities to collaborate and share, and connecting artists and audiences.

More than four in five ACT residents engage with the arts online (83%). In 2016, 77% listened to music online; 44% researched or reviewed the arts or artists; 30% viewed visual arts, music, dance, theatre or creative writing online; and 9% created, learned to create or sold art online.

More than one in three ACT residents use Facebook to connect with and learn about the arts or artists (36%); 29% use YouTube (29%; and 28% use the website of an artist or arts organisation.

Image: ACT infographic courtesy of the Australia Council.

ABS Jurisdiction Profile

The Australian Capital Territory profile provides a comprehensive overview of arts and culture on a range of topics including participation in cultural activities, cultural funding by government, employment in culture, and attendances at cultural venues and events. ACT profile data used to compile the profile.

Published 20 April 2017.

Links to other sources of useful data

Cultural Data Online provides access to a broad range of research relating to arts and culture in Australia, including publications and external web links to data on employment, funding, participation and attendance at cultural venues and events, and cultural tourism.

Arts Nation is the home for the Australia Council’s research and knowledge management.

Fact Finders is Screen Australia's comprehensive statistics on the production and release of feature films, TV drama, documentary and other screen content in Australia.