Arts Enjoyed By All

New report shows the arts are enjoyed by all in Northern Ireland

The myth that the arts are the preserve of an elite minority has been exploded by a new report which shows that they are enjoyed by people from all walks of life in Northern Ireland. The Audience Audit is based on data drawn from 22 arts organisations across Northern Ireland and looks at who went to the arts in 2008, what they spent and when they attended.

Audiences NI, the audience development agency established by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, has produced the report using the socio-demographic classification system Mosaic NI. This system divides Northern Irish consumers into nine 'groups' based on a range of indicators including income and lifestage.

The Audience Audit report shows that people who go to the arts are drawn from all nine Mosaic groups, including farming communities and housing executive tenants. Additionally the report demonstrates that the arts contribute significantly to the Northern Irish economy, with ticket sales alone generating £13.5 million in 2008.

Steven Hadley, CEO of Audiences NI, said, 'We are proud to have produced The Audience Audit, the first report of its kind in Northern Ireland. Based on actual data, this report reflects real people engaging with real arts organisations and is a major development in market intelligence for the arts sector here.

'We plan to run The Audience Audit on an annual basis and hope that more and more arts organisations will be included in the analysis to give a comprehensive overview of arts attendance in Northern Ireland. We see the report as an indisputable case for advocacy and celebration of the reach and depth of arts attendance across Northern Ireland.'

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, 'We welcome this new report from Audiences NI. Its findings complement the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's own analysis of how arts funding is distributed across Northern Ireland and refutes commonly held beliefs - that arts are 'a middle income, middle class interest' and 'centred on Belfast'. In fact, as The Audience Audit demonstrates, the arts engage fully across all areas of society.'

The 22 arts organisations represented in the analysis include large scale venues such as the Grand Opera House and Millennium Forum as well as festivals such as the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Belfast Children's Festival. New regional venues such as The Alley in Strabane and Strule in Omagh are also included in the report.

An executive summary of The Audience Audit can be found at www.audiencesni.com.