The evidence to support your advocacy
The arts contribute to New Zealand's economic, cultural and social well-being.
We know and have proof that the arts:
- contribute to the economy
- improve educational outcomes
- create a more highly skilled workforce
- improve health outcomes
- improve your personal well-being
And the arts…
- rejuvenate cities
- support democracy
- create social inclusion
- are important to the lives of New Zealanders
The research and reports below will be regularly updated. We would also welcome your additions to this research. If you see something of interest please let us know. We will review it for inclusion in the toolkit.
If you are using information from these documents be sure to reproduce it correctly and credit the report and the author/s.
The arts sector creates jobs, generates household income, supports tourism and contributes to the economic development of towns, cities and regions.
Read the evidence:
The United Kingdom’s (UK) Creative Industries are worth £84.1 billion per year to the economy (January 2016)
The UK’s creative industries:
- grew by 8.9 percent in 2014 - almost double UK economy as a whole
- generate nearly £9.6million per hour
- are now worth a record £84.1 billion to the UK economy, figures published today reveal.
British films, music, video games, crafts and publishing are taking a lead role in driving the UK’s economic recovery.
Prepared by the UK’s Ministry for culture, media and sport.
Arts Nation – An Overview of Australian Arts 2015 Edition
Cultural activity contributes $50 billion to Australia’s GDP, including $4.2 billion from the arts, and 38% of international tourists to Australia in 2013/14 engaged in arts tourism, which is an increase of 19% in the past four years.
The report provides an overview of the arts in Australia also including information on Australians’ experience of the arts, interest in indigenous arts and the diversity of the artist population.
Prepared by the Australia Council for the Arts
Understanding the economic impact of arts and culture organisations in the Wellington region (New Zealand)
Forty Wellington arts and culture organisations together generated $141.5 million of expenditure within the region over 12 months. This spending supported 2,041 jobs, provided $58.4 million in direct household income and a further $83 million in operating marketing and facilities expenditure.
Prepared by Angus and Associates for Arts Wellington, December 2010
Arts and economic prosperity IV (USA)
The arts industry in the USA generated $135.2 billion of economic activity in 2010. This is made up of $61.1 billion from not-for-profit arts and culture organisations and $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. This economic activity supports 4.1 million full-time jobs and generates $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments annually, a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.
Arts & Economic Prosperity IV is a study of the not-for-profit arts and culture industry’s impact on the US economy with all 50 states represented. In the context of the economic challenges the US faced in 2010, the results are impressive.
Prepared for Americans for the Arts, 2010
Economic contribution of the venue-based live music industry in Australia (Australia)
The Australian live music industry injected $1.21 billion into the national economy in 12 months in 2009/10 through spending on ticket sales, food and drink.
Other key findings:
- The revenue generated is from almost 42 million patrons attending approximately 328,000 performances at 3,904 live music venues across Australia
- $652 million in total profits and wages, or value add, were generated by the industry
- Venue-based live music employed more than 14,800 full-time equivalent employees
Prepared for the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) by Ernst & Young, September 2011
The contribution of the arts and culture to the national economy (UK)
Businesses in the UK arts and culture industry generated an aggregate turnover of £12.4 billion in 2011.
Other key findings:
- The industry employed, on average, 110,600 full‐time equivalent employees in the UK and 99,500 in England during 2008‐2011. This is about 0.45% of total employment in the UK and 0.48% of all employment in England
- The industry paid nearly 5% more than the UK median salary of £26,095, making a positive contribution to average household earnings
- For every £1 of salary paid by the arts and culture industry, an additional £2.01 is generated in the wider economy through indirect and induced multiplier effects
Prepared for Arts Council England and the National Museums Directors’ Council by Centre for Economics and Business Research, May 2013
Children who participate in or are exposed to the arts are better motivated, engage more in class and have greater self-esteem.
Read the evidence:
The role of arts participation in students’ academic and non-academic outcomes (Australia)
Students who participate in dance, drama, music and visual arts perform better academically and have greater well-being than students who do not.
- Academic outcomes included greater motivation, homework completion, class participation, enjoyment of school, and educational aspirations.
- Personal well-being outcomes included greater self-esteem, life satisfaction and a greater sense of meaning or purpose.
The study followed 643 primary and high school students from 15 Australian schools, tracking their academic achievements and personal well-being over two years. Active participation, rather an being an observer or audience member, also yielded stronger positive effects on school and personal wellbeing outcomes in the study.
By Martin, A. et al, Aug 2013
Understanding the impact of engagement in culture and sport (UK)
Students who participate in the arts perform better in mathematics and literacy than students who do not receive art instruction. Primary school-aged students, in particular, who participate in structured arts activities had higher academic attainment outcomes than those that did not. Young people overall who participated in the arts made greater progress in developing creativity.
This is based on in-depth reviews examining research that measured impacts quantitatively and attempted to establish cause and effect relationships between arts and sporting engagement and their outcomes.
Prepared for the Culture and Sport Evidence Programme by Newman, M. et al, 2010
Evaluation of Sistema Aotearoa (NZ)
Social music education:
- Generates a sense of identity, connection and belonging, enabling children to better engage with the world around them and connect them to their community.
- Creates social cohesion, and the fostering of positive intergroup relations.
- Fosters increased trust between participants.
- Improves community cohesion and pride.
- Encourages community involvement and community inclusion.
- Addresses negative and/or illegal social behaviours.
These findings are outlined in a report evaluating Sistema Aotearoa, a social music programme run in primary schools in a lower socio-economic community of South Auckland. The study shows Sistema Aotearoa is making a difference in the lives of the children and the families participating in the programme. There is promising early evidence of the potential longer term outcomes being realised for the children, their families, as well as the wider community. Given sufficient time and resources, indications are that Sistema Aotearoa will have a long-lasting and transformative influence on the lives of participating children, their families as well as the wider community.
Sistema Aotearoa is based on the El Sistema model, initiated in Venezuela in 1975 and now one of the world’s most successful youth development and social transformation movements. El Sistema is a graduated system of music instruction for classical orchestral music.
Prepared for Sistema Aotearoa by Kate McKegg, Alicia Crocket, Debbie Goodwin, Pale Sauni. December 2015
Contributions of learning in the arts to educational, social and economic outcomes
A review of international and New Zealand research into how a range of artforms improve the educational outcomes for school students.
This review focuses on all the arts disciplines included in The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) and TeMarautanga o Aotearoa (Ministry of Education, 2008), with a particular focus on music education as requested by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. It draws on widely-cited international examples such as the Champions of Change (Fiske, 1999) and Critical Links (Deasy, 2002), and a range of other literature.
By Rachel Bolstad, New Zealand Council for Educational Research
A broader arts education, through school or the community, can foster critical thinking, social skills and motivation to learn so students are better equipped to enter the workforce. A more highly skilled workforce is consistently associated with improved economic outcomes.
Read the evidence:
Staying in School (USA)
Students participating in the arts are more likely to graduate high school and have the skills and capabilities to succeed in the workforce.
Other key findings:
- Students at risk of dropping out cited participation in the arts as their reason for staying in school
- Arts education deterred delinquent behaviour and truancy problems while also increasing overall academic performance for at-risk youth
This study of high school students was the first to look at the relationship between school-based arts education and high school graduation rates in New York City public schools.
Prepared for The Centre for Arts Education by Israel, D. 2009
Arts and crafts: Critical to economic innovation (USA)
The arts nurture the innovative thinking of science and technology entrepreneurs. Graduates majoring in science, technology, engineering and maths recognise that the arts develop skills and creative ways of thinking they need to develop their professional problem-solving ability. The arts foster creativity and innovation that will drive the formation of highly skilled and well-paying jobs.
This study of Michigan State University science and technology graduates between 1990-1995, suggests that disposing of the arts may have negative consequences for the country’s ability to produce innovative scientists and engineers who invent patentable products and found new companies.
By LaMore, R. et al, 2013
The arts are frequently used in health recovery. Engaging with the arts can reduce stress and anxiety. The arts can have a positive effect on peoples’ mental health by enabling self-expression and communication.
Read the evidence:
Experiences of Being (UK)
Drama, music and dance in care homes are helping people living with dementia.
The study of 200 residents in 17 care homes found that creative activities can soothe and stimulate people with dementia. It does this by bringing back memories and helping to engage underused but still active areas of the brain.
The benefits included improvements in mental health, self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as the improved cognitive ability and memory recall from the musical activities.
Read the Experiences of Being report (pdf 445KB, 24 pages) - By Beth Johnson Foundation, May 2017.
The arts in health: Evidence from international literature (NZ)
There is evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies that participating in the arts can improve self-esteem, confidence, social connections, and overall quality of life. There is also some evidence that people who participate in singing or dance have better physical health and are better able to cope with physical pain.
This review of literature from the past ten years gives an overview of the contribution that participation in the arts can make for individual health and wellbeing.
Prepared for Pegasus Health Charitable Ltd by Bidwell, S., 2014
Arts in Health: A review of the Medical Literature (England)
This review of the medical literature between 1990 and 2004 found that the arts made a contribution to:
- enhancing the quality of life of mental health users
- helping mental health providers manage their service to clients
- achieving clinical outcomes for the benefit of patients
- raising staff morale and job satisfaction
- widening the skills of nurses and doctors
- providing a better quality of healthcare.
The review aimed to strengthen anecdotal and qualitative information about the impact of the arts on health. Although the therapeutic effects of the arts are recognised, it is only in recent years that there have been systematic and controlled studies of these effects.
Prepared for Arts Council England by Staricoff, R. 2004
The Impact of the Arts: Some Research Evidence (England)
This document draws together research evidence on the effect of the arts on employment, education, health, criminal justice and regeneration. It notes there are many claims about the positive effect of the arts and culture. Some claims are well supported by evidence, while others are less so. The does not mean that the effects do not occur, but that some effects have been more rigorously researched or evidenced than others. This document calls for more research into the transformational effects of the arts on individuals and outlines ways of strengthening the existing evidence base.
Prepared for Arts Council England, 2004
Cultural engagement and incident depression in older adults: evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (UK)
Regular visits to the cinema, theatre or to museums dramatically reduce the chances of becoming depressed in older age a study has found.
The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found people who attended films, plays or exhibitions every few months had a 32 per cent lower risk of developing depression, with those attending once a month or more having a 48 per cent lower risk. Researchers found a clear link between the frequency of 'cultural engagement' and the chances of someone over 50 developing depression. It is the first such study to show that cultural activities not only help people manage and recover from depression but actually help to prevent it.
By Daisy Fancourt and Urszula Tymoszuk.
Singing Exercises Improve Sleepiness and Frequency of Snoring among Snorers (UK)
Specially tailored singing exercises significantly improve daytime sleepiness and reduce snoring. Singing improves the tone and strength of pharyngeal muscles, thereby reducing their tendency to collapse during sleep - one of the prime factors in snoring and sleep apnoea.
This is based on a study involving a self-guided singing instruction programme, performed over a 3 month period by patients with a range of severity of snoring problems.
By M. P. Hilton, J. Savage, B. Hunter, S. McDonald, C. Repanos and R. Powell, 2013
Healthy attendance? The impact of cultural engagement and sports participation on health and satisfaction with life in Scotland
This Scottish population study found people that:
- visited a museum were 20% more likely to report good health than those who did not
- visited the theatre were almost 25% more likely to report good health than those who did not
- participated in a creative or cultural activity were 38% more likely to report good health compared to those who did not
- participated in dance were 62% more likely to report good health than those who did not participate.
By Leadbetter, C. and O’Connor, N., Commonwealth Games, Culture and Sport Analysis, Scottish Government, August 2013.
The arts improve personal well-being by:
- helping people understand, interpret and adapt to the world
- enabling people to express themselves creatively and give form and meaning to emotions.
- building skills, confidence and self-esteem
- providing inspiration, stimulating the imagination and encouraging people to think the unthinkable.
- raising aspirations for individuals and for humanity.
Read the evidence:
Study into benefits of theatre participation to young people (Australia)
A new study commissioned by Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) has documented the significant benefits young people experience when they actively engage with the theatre.
Based on responses from 1,200 current and past ATYP participants it found that:
- 89% of the people who were surveyed suggested that involvement in theatre and performance developed their sense of teamwork and their ability to work as a team
- 89% said it enhanced their self-confidence
- 83% said it was a source of inspiration and motivation in their lives
- 84% said it enhanced their interpersonal skills
- 76% said it gave them the confidence to tell their own story
- 74% said it helped them in resilience and coping with challenges in life
- 59% said it assisted in decreasing their anxiety levels
Performing Arts Hub (paywall for research) - By research company Patternmakers, October 2017
Arts and culture help combat loneliness among older people (UK)
A new survey commissioned by Arts Council England reveals that engaging in arts and cultural activities helps older people improve their well-being by helping to combat loneliness.
Older people (aged 65+) in the United Kingdom value arts and culture with:
- 76% saying arts and culture is important in making them feel happy
- 57% saying arts and culture is important in helping them meet other people
- 60% saying it is important in encouraging them to get out and about.
More than half of older people (52%) say they attend or participate less in arts and cultural activity now than in their teenage years. Better access to venues and having someone to go with are key ways to encourage attendance from this age group.
Poll of older people aged 65+ about arts and culture
By ComRes, January 2016
Lost without it - arts and culture for older people YouTube video, 2.28 (mins.secs)
The art of being mentally healthy (Australia)
Two hours a week of arts activity makes a measurable improvement in how people feel. This Australian study is a first attempt to quantify a ‘minimum dose’ for arts activity as an everyday prescription for well-being.
While many studies have shown the positive effects of the arts on mental and physical health, this study shows how much arts activity is needed to make a difference. It also looked at the well-being scores of the general population rather people specifically using art as therapy.
When a person does on average two hours of arts activity each week (more than 100 hours in a year) there is a clear correlation on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale, (WEMWBS). The study is based on a telephone survey of a random sample of 702 Western Australian adults aged 18+ years.
By BMC Public Health, January 2016
Lost without it, Arts and culture for older people - YouTube video, 2:28 (mins:secs)
By Arts Council England
Arts in Daily Life: Australian Participation in the Arts (Australia)
Australians think the arts enrich their lives and are important in the lives of their children. This independent study provides insight into how Australians participate in the arts. It compares shifting attitudes and trends by benchmarking the 2013 findings against those from 2009.
Other key findings:
- More Australians are participating in the arts
- Australians value Indigenous arts and there are great opportunities to grow audiences
Prepared for the Australia Council by Instinct and Reason, May 2014
Public Value of the Arts in England: Discussion and Conclusions of the Arts Debate (UK)
In 2006 the Arts Council England’s arts debate was the first inquiry into the public value of the arts. This report describes the types of individuals and organisations which took part in the debate and explores their roles, motivations and expectations as they relate to the arts. It identifies some of the shared views and values that emerged during the inquiry.
Prepared for Arts Council England by Bunting, C. 2007
Use or Ornament? The Social Impact of Participation in the Arts (UK)
Active participation in the arts provides six important individual and social benefits:
- social cohesion
- community empowerment and self‐determination
- local image and identity
- imagination and vision
- health and well‐being.
By Matarasso, F. 1997
Are You Happy While You Work? (UK)
Arts activities are second only to ‘love-making and intimacy’ when it comes to increasing individual happiness. Love-making and intimacy raise happiness by about 14% (relative to not doing this activity), Theatre, dance and concerts are second, raising happiness by 9%; exhibitions, museums and libraries are third raising happiness by about 9%; and singing and performing are sixth at 7%. Sports and gardening activities are fourth and fifth at 8%.
Using a smartphone app ‘Mappiness’ individuals recorded their wellbeing at random points of time. Researchers captured more than a million observations on tens of thousands of individuals in the UK. The primary focus of the research was to consider the effects of work on happiness and relaxation. Leisure activities were captured as a comparison to work.
By Bryson, A. and MacKerron, G. 2013
Museums and happiness: The value of participating in museums and the arts. (UK)
Visiting museums, participating in the arts and being an audience makes people healthier and happier. Valuation headline figures in the UK show:
- People value visiting museums at about £3,200 per year.
- The value of participating in the arts is about £1,500 per year per person.
- The value of being an audience to the arts is about £2,000 per year per person.
- The value of participating in sports is about £1,500 per year per person.
By Fujiwara, D., London School of Economics and Political Science, April 2013
Artful Living: Examining the relationship between artistic practice and subjective well-being across three national surveys (USA)
Artistic practice is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction, a positive self-image, less anxiety about change, a more tolerant and open approach to diverse others, and, in some cases, less focus on materialistic values and the acquisition of goods. Not only is there a positive relationship between artistic practice and well-being, but this relationship is strengthened with increased frequency of participation.
Using three national data sets, this study examined the correlation between artistic practice and well-being amongst a representative sample of adults, undergraduates arts students and arts graduates.
By Tepper, S. 2014
Cities or regions which provide many opportunities to engage with the arts attract individuals who are more likely to contribute to economic growth. There is a positive link between the regional concentration of highly skilled, talented individuals and higher economic growth.
Read the evidence
The Rise of the Creative Class (USA)
Richard Florida introduces the ‘Creative Class’ and describes a society in which the creative ethos is becoming dominant as people start to work and live like artists and scientists. This means values and tastes, personal relationships, choices of where to live, and even use of time are changing. Leading the shift are the nearly 38 million Americans in many diverse fields who create for a living.
By Florida, R. 2002
Creativity, Talent, and Regional Wages in Sweden
Larger concentrations of people in the Creative Class makes a greater contribution to regional growth. These individuals are attracted to cities and regions where there are ample opportunities to engage with the arts.
By Mellander, C. and Florida, R. 2011
Creative Class and Regional Growth (Europe)
In regions where there are more people in the Creative Class there is greater employment growth and entrepreneurship. The study analyses the regional distribution and economic effect of the Creative Class on 500 regions in seven European countries.
By Boschma, R. A. and Fritsch, M. 2009
Creative Placemaking (USA)
Creative placemaking looks at communities where arts and culture exist closely with the private sector and retail businesses and mixed-income housing. Creative placemaking fosters economic development by:
- encouraging residents to spend more of their income locally
- re-using vacant and underutilised land, buildings, and infrastructure
- creating jobs in construction, local businesses and cultural activity
- expanding the entrepreneurial capability of artists
- training the next generation of artists
- attracting and retaining non-arts-related businesses and skills.
Four USA-based case studies are investigated as examples of successfully creative placemaking.
By Markusen, A. and Gadwa, A. 2010
What’s art got to do with it? (UK)
The arts can help with neighbourhood renewal. In communities officially described as deprived, communication is always a challenge. Artists in deprived communities are able to use their creativity and imagination to give deprived communities a view of a different future. The arts do not offer a magic potion, but they can question beliefs and ambitions and help individuals and communities take a new direction.
The report provides key facts drawn from case studies showing that the arts support personal development, build stronger communities, increase employment and skills, reduce crime and improves health.
Prepared for Arts Council England by Shaw, P. May 2003
The arts have a powerful inﬂuence on society. They communicate ideas, dramatise issues and inspire action, which are all crucial to a thriving democracy. People who engage with the arts are more likely to engage in positive civic behaviours, such as voting or volunteer work. This, in turn, leads to improvements in the broader welfare of society.
Read the evidence
The Case for Cultural Learning - Key research findings
US research has found that students who engage with arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and 20% more likely to vote as young adults. This report collates research from the UK and US which identifies the benefits of all children and young people being able to access and enjoy the arts.
The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in Arts, involved in life (USA)
Arts participation correlates with positive individual and civic behaviours. People who read books, visit museums, attend theatre and engage in other arts are more active in community life than those who do not. It suggests that when an individual actively engages in the arts a heightened sense of identity and civic awareness is awakened. Art is not escapism but an invitation to activism.
Prepared for the National Endowment for the Arts, 2006
Art and Social Change: AIDS Activism in Philadelphia (USA)
The arts helped to facilitate and demand a community response to the AIDS epidemic. The study focused on the work of ACT UP, which was formed by AIDS activist/playwright Larry Kramer to take direct action in response to the AIDS crisis. It shows how ACT UP used art – in particular, the symbols and strategies for conveying messages.
By Petty, M. 1997
The arts help people connect with their community and enable communities to be more inclusive.
Read the evidence:
Vital Signs: Arts & Belonging: Community Foundations of Canada and CAPACOA
The arts help people build a greater sense of connection and belonging to their communities, countries and each other. The report notes:
- 77% of Canadians agree or strongly agree that arts and heritage experiences help them feel part of their local community.
- Canadians who rate arts, culture and leisure in their city or town as ‘excellent’ are 2.8 times more likely to report a ‘very strong’ sense of belonging to their city or town, compared to those who rate arts as ‘poor.
- 92% of Canadians believe arts experiences are a valuable way of bringing together people from different languages and cultural traditions.
Arts-based social inclusion: An investigation of existing assets and innovative strategies to engage immigrant communities in Philadelphia (USA)
New immigrants who participate in arts activities build social networks faster. They more readily gain the confidence and skills needed to improve their life circumstances in their new home. Art is used to portray their culture in a way that helps others better understand and accept their differences.
The study describes five ways the arts can create social inclusion:
- Cultural space and creative expression – creating places, opportunities, and media through which migrants can explore identity, fears, and visions
- Community organising and the arts – using the arts as a way to engage and mobilise immigrant communities and connect them with other resources
- Community-based institutional networks - sustaining working relationships with arts and cultural, social service, and community development organisations serving immigrant communities
- School-based cultural programming – developing in-school arts programmes for elementary and secondary students as a critical point of intervention
- Cultural-sensitive social service - integrating the social work concept of cultural competent service into an organisation’s functioning as a starting point for linking the arts with immigrant-serving programmes.
Prepared for The William Penn Foundation by Stern, M. J. and Seifert, S. C. 2010
Social Effects of Culture: Exploratory Statistical Evidence (Canada)
The arts provide a means to be entertained, celebrate commonalities and differences, express individuality, feel a sense of attachment and experience artistic expression. This report examines the relationship between reading books, attending live performances, visiting art galleries and attending movie theatres with other social phenomena:
- Volunteering and donating
- Neighbourhood connections
- Sense of belonging
- Social activities
- Labour force participation
- Quality of life
Because many factors affect the social indicators examined in the report, it does not claim to be definitive. However, some statistics do show a relationship between some cultural activities and positive social engagement.
Prepared for the Canada Council for the Arts by Hill Strategies Research, 2008
The art of inclusion (UK)
Participation in the arts affects people in the following ways:
- raises self-esteem and confidence
- enhances a feeling of self-determination and sense of control
- provides pleasure and enjoyment
- develops arts and creative skills
- helps make new acquaintances and friends who would continue to be friends.
This is a study of arts projects involving participants from socially excluded groups or in socially excluded communities.
Prepared for Arts Council England by Helen Jermyn, July 2004
Doing the arts justice: A review of research literature, practice and theory (UK)
The arts can reduce crime and reoffending.
Arts programmes run for convicted offenders in custodial and community settings can:
- reduce offending behaviour and incidents of disruption
- help disaffected young people re-engage with education
- support personal and social development.
- reduce rule-breaking and improving relationships in prison
- deliver basic and key skills and develop the prison education system
- change attitudes to offending
- build human and social capital, and
- enhance the effectiveness of offending behaviour programmes.
Arts-based resettlement programmes have had some success in routing ex-offenders into training and employment by helping them to develop a range of personal and social skills which increase employability as well as facilitating the acquisition of formally
accredited educational skills and qualifications.
This study assesses the impact of arts projects run for offenders by the voluntary and community sector in 2003
By Hughes, J. 2003