Cultural participation and consumption

Resources | Cultural participation and consumption

Council of Europe

Working Group on Social and Economic Values of Heritage (2013)
A new Working Group at the Council of Europe has started its activities in October 2013 with a first meeting. The Group’s mandate focuses on to assessing and measuring heritage-related values as stipulated in the “Faro Framework Convention” of the CoE including, but not limited to, those mentioned in Art. 1a “recognise that rights relating to cultural heritage are inherent in the right to participate in cultural life, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and Art. 12a (under the heading “Access to cultural heritage and democratic participation”): “encourage everyone to participate in:
– the process of identification, study, interpretation, protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural heritage;
– public reflection and debate on the opportunities and challenges which the cultural heritage represents”.

Cultural Access and Participation – from Indicators to Policies for Democracy (2012)
The CultureWatchEurope in late June 2012 event took the form of a think-tank on the interaction between policy and research with regard to the issue of access to and participation in culture. In this context, the development of suitable indicators was of key interest. A summary report of the event has benn written by Tommi Laitio. A number of research contributions made at this occasion and during the connected 11th Assembly of Compendium Experts can be found here.

“The right of everyone to take part in cultural life” (2012)
Report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) regarding equal access to, and participation in, cultural life. A corresponding PACE Recommendation was adopted on 24 January 2012. Inter alia, the Assembly recommends to: “…instruct the CultureWatchEurope Platform to establish a set of indicators on the participation of different groups, in particular youth, in cultural life and to monitor developments in this field in the framework of the programme on ‘Democratic governance through educational, culture and youth policies’.”   (Paragraph 13.7)

Making culture accessible – Access, participation and cultural provision in the context of cultural rights in Europe (2010)
This study of Annamari Laaksonen is a general overview of existing legal and policy frameworks in Europe, covering access to and participation in cultural life, cultural provision and cultural rights. It aims at facilitating an environment that enables the development of access and participation in this area. The study also pays due tribute to local civil society organisations and cultural associations, in recognition of the important role they play in making access to culture possible.


Measuring Cultural Participation (2012)
This handbook is based on a commissioned report prepared by the Fondazione Fitzcarraldo Onius for the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. It is a resource for organizations interested in measuring cultural participation, as well as a tool for raising awareness among policymakers. To this end, it combines theoretical and practical aspects of methodology.

UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics (2009)
Accurate, comparable data are needed to better measure the impact and relevance of cultural policies and initiatives. The 2009 UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics (FCS) addresses this need by defining culture for statistical measurement purposes.

Guidelines for Measuring Cultural Participation (2006)
This technical report written by Adolfo Morrone for the UNESCO Institute for Statistics explores various approaches to measuring cultural participation in countries at different stages of development.

European Union

Promoting access to culture via digital means – Policies and strategies for audience development : work plan for culture 2015-2018 – Study (2017)
Technology is changing faster than ever and impacts not only what we do, but how we think about what we do. This document addresses the fact that institutions and arts organisations (public and private), set up to carry out a public purpose, now find that through the impact of digitisation and internet tools, they are (in many cases) lagging behind.

Report on arts and culture in the context of the migratory and refugee crisis (2017)
This report is the key output of the working group of EU Member States on Intercultural Dialogue in the context of the migratory and refugee crisis, created in October 2015. It looks at how arts and culture can bring people together and increase their participation in society. It also provides recommendations for cultural policymakers and for cultural organisations structured around three key themes: empowerment, intersectoral and evaluation.

Mapping of practices in the EU Member States on promoting access to culture via digital means (2015)
This document, prepared by Ms. Cristina Da Milano and Mr. Niels Righolt on behalf of the European Expert Network on Culture (EENC), aims to analyse the challenges and future possibilities for European cultural organisations in the current environment of fast technological change, global competition, and tight budgets. It also identifies examples of practices that appear to be the most efficient or mostly used to support audience development via digital means, in a broad spectrum of sectors.

New Business Models in the Cultural and Creative Sectors CCSs (2015)
Paper prepared, at the request of DG EAC, by the European Expert Network on Culture (EENC) and written by Dr. Cornelia Dümcke.

Promoting Access via Digital Means (2015)
Paper prepared, at the request of DG EAC, by the European Expert Network on Culture (EENC) and written by Mr. Niels Righo.

New Report on Access to and Participation in Culture (2012)
In the context of the European Union Open Method of Coordination, an Expert Group on Better Access and Wider Participation in Culture had been launched in early 2011. Now it has produced its Report “Policies and good practices in the public arts and in cultural institutions to promote better access to and wider participation in culture”. Seeing that, on the one hand, “culture can act as an important agent for social transformation” and that, on the other hand, cultural institutions need to build new audiences to ensure their sustainability, the Report stresses the importance of a “participatory approach” to potential audiences as well as “cultural education as one of the core activities of the cultural field.”

Main Trends in Policies for Widening Access to Culture (2012)
On the basis of the “Right to take part in cultural life” as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 27), EENC expert Anne Bamford develops, in a paper written for the OMC group on Inclusive Culture, a both historical and political scenario of efforts to improve cultural participation and thus counteract social exclusion. In her conclusions, she deplores first “the lack of strategic approach to inclusive cultural policies” and then asks the EU and Member States to:

  1. Conduct an audit of the presence of culture within distinct policy areas such as education, health, defence, justice and home affairs, external affairs and employment;
  2. More joined-up cooperation vertically as well as horizontally between different pillars of the EU communities e.g. local, regional, national and community levels as well as between different policy areas;
  3. Develop operational definition of „participationèŸ in culture to differentiate between cultural consumption and cultural production;
  4. Achieve a better balance between cultural „hardwareèŸ and „softwareèŸ by developing a strategy for human capital and acquisitions;
  5. Adopt a flexible and open-ended definition that includes both high and every day culture and is open to new cultural impressions and external inputs.”

Participation and Citizenship (2012)
“Can Cultural Institutions in Europe lead the way? Should they?” These main questions are discussed in a Report of the Platform for Intercultural Europe prepared for the 4th European Forum, 5-6th June 2012 in Brussels. In its Recommendations, the platform proposes that the needed dialogue leading to more cultural diversity “cannot and will not take place within large cultural institutions in their current moribund form” and should rather focus on “smaller organisations, which have links to diverse communities and high levels of intercultural competence, into the mainstream.” Regarding its own function, the Platform sees “a clear role in designing the indicators against which the performance of cultural institutions in the area of diversity can be measured.”

European Statistical Works on Culture (ESSnet) (2011)
Between 2009 and 2011, ESSnet-Culture (the European cultural statistics network under the aegis of EUROSTAT) maintained four working groups in defining a statistical reference framework for culture, designed for cultural finance and cultural expenditure, cultural and employment sectors, and ultimately for cultural practices and their social aspects. ESSnet has drawn up a number of methodological recommendations to ensure better comparability of cultural statistics between member states. This text – written by Valérie Deroin (French ministry of Culture and Communication – DEPS) – is a summary document extracted from the draft final report of ESSnet-culture and the accounts of the task forces animated by Vladimir Bina, Philippe Chantepie, Valérie Deroin, Guy Frank, Kutt Kommel, Josef Kotynec and Philippe Robin. Version française

Eurostat Pocketbooks: Statistics in Europe 2007 & Cultural Statistics in Europe 2011 includes data on public funding for culture, participation rates in cultural life, employment figures for the cultural labour market. French version also available.

National, regional and local authorities

Cultural Participation as a Human Right? (2013)
At a press conference held on 15 January 2013, city officials from Wroclaw (Poland) announced their intention to strive, in cooperation with the Polish Government, for an inclusion of the “right to participation in culture” as one of the basic rights in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe. A Panel of Experts held on March 6 in Wroclaw, co-organized with NCK (National Centre of Culture), is to further clarify this issue. In 2011, the city of Wroclaw had been selected – together with San Sebastian in Spain – to become the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) in 2016.

Cultural Participation of Migrants (2012)
A first “InterCultureBarometer” survey was conducted by the Centre for Cultural Research (ZfKf): Based on 2800 interviews, it analyses how migration influences cultural life in Germany.

Cultural Participation and the 50+ Generation (2008)
This study of the Centre for Cultural Research (ZfKf) shows the results of the representative survey on the cultural practices and related needs of the 50+ Generation in Germany.

Research into the Barriers to Cultural Participation in Birmingham (2011)
The report looks at what types of cultural facilities are used; which groups are most and least likely to use cultural facilities; and the barriers and motivations to participation and attendance. The report concludes with an overall analysis of the demand for culture that identifies shared issues and challenges across the cultural sector.


La participation à  la vie artistique et culturelle: nouvelles pratiques, nouveaux enjeux (2012)
L’Observatoire des politiques culturelles (Grenoble) propose des Séminaires de réflection sur ce thème: “La ‘participation’ tente de renouveler, en le réinterrogeant, le débat sur la démocratisation de la culture. Plus encore, elle semble opérer un changement de paradigme, dans la mesure où elle correspond à  une volonté de renouvellement des normes démocratiques et à une ambition de se repositionner sur les valeurs qui fondent l’action culturelle, à partir de ce que la culture véhicule de plus profond : sa fonction émancipatrice, son impérieuse nécessité pour le développement humain, son action dynamisante pour le développement des territoires, sa capacité à  créer du lien entre les populations.”
In July 2012, a theoretical and political assessment of cultural participation in the current society by Marie-Christine Bordeaux et Françoise Liot has been published in the Journal of the Observatory of Cultural Policies, Grenoble: La participation des habitants à la vie artistique et culturelle.

Cultural Participation in Education and Lifelong Learning. A Catalyst for Personal Advancement, Community Development, Social Change and Economic Growth (2011)
Collected examples show the strong impact that the programmes of connection between cultural participation, education and learning have on individuals, organizations, communities, as well as on the society as a whole. In a long-term well elaborated policy framework, suchprogrammes contribute to the social changes and the economic growth.

Main Trends in Policies for Widening Access to Culture (2011)
This paper provides a broad outline on the issue of ‘inclusive culture’ and on policy trends for widening access to culture in Europe as well as on the challenges identified in this respect.

Mapping Active Cultural Participation in Europe: What to look for and how to find it in a compatible way (2011)
Working paper prepared for the international conference ‘Active Participation in Cultural Activities’ in Ghent held on the occasion of the Compendium Assembly 2011.

The Roles of Cultural and Economic Resources for Taste and Participation (2010)
A research paper of Meir Yaish and Tally Katz-Gerro (University of Haifa/Israel) for the European Sociological Review (published October 2010) argues “that participation is constrained to a larger degree by financial resources than by tastes and to a lesser degree by cultural resources (parental cultural capital, father’s education, and respondent’s education)”, while “tastes are shaped to a greater degree than participation by socialization processes and through the habitus and, to a lesser degree, by financial resources.”