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New research confirms value of arts and culture more than dollars and tickets

Media release: 14 December 2022

A trans-Tasman research venture into the value of the arts and culture sector urges that people look beyond economic benefits and attendance figures, toward assessing the wider benefits to communities and society as a whole. 

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Australia Council for the Arts have today released the trans-Tasman Valuing the Arts report. The report details the findings of a joint research project about the arts’ contribution to wellbeing, communities and social inclusion in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Arts and culture play an important role in our everyday lives in contributing to our economy, enhancing our wellbeing, shaping our identity, and connecting our communities,” says Laulu Mac Leauanae, Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive of Manatū Taonga. 

“Arts, culture and heritage help weave the tapestry that connects us as people across many communities and interests, and identifies our uniqueness to the world. Arts, culture and heritage must be considered in this holistic sense, more than just the economic value and tickets sold. 

“This research furthers our understanding of the key contributions that arts and culture make in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. We’re thankful for the opportunity to partner with the Australia Council for the Arts on this research, which was completed by Queensland University of Technology and University of Auckland researchers.”

Emily Fabling, Pou Mataaho o Te Aka Deputy Chief Executive, Policy and Sector Performance says that being completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the research highlights the benefits that arts and cultural participation bring to communities, particularly for enhancing social inclusion and wellbeing.

“The pandemic highlighted the important relationship between arts, creativity and wellbeing in times of significant health and social disruption,” says Emily Fabling. 

“The report’s key findings are very relevant in a post-COVID environment. It shows that assessing the value of the arts requires a holistic view that looks at both economic and social outcomes. 

“The report finds that the personal and social value created by arts and creative practices is not fully captured in audience size and traditional economic metrics. We agree. This is why we have undertaken in-depth evaluation of key elements of the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme which prioritise deeper personal, cultural and social value including a focus on Mātauranga Māori preservation. 

“I hope that this report can enable more conversations about how we demonstrate the value that arts bring to communities. It is essential that we have evidence of these broader social benefits when we are having conversations about supporting and uplifting the arts and culture sector and communities.

“Manatū Taonga is committed to supporting a more accessible, valued, inclusive, resilient and sustainable cultural system so that culture is thriving, and the people are well.”

Updated on 31st May 2023