Intergenerational arts and culture: Lessons across middle Australia 

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Middle Australians have a broad definition of arts and culture, and see it as essential to being human. They report arts and culture to be embedded in and inseparable from daily life, and as having a positive impact on their ability to stay healthy, understand others, accept differences, connect with community, learn new skills and have new ideas.

The purpose of this Analysis Paper is to summarise attitudes on arts, culture and creativity among cohorts of middle Australians aged 18 to 75, drawing on ANA’s middle Australia Insight Report series. This paper’s recommendations – informed by the rich discussions among middle Australians and ANA’s wide-ranging research and engagement program – tie in with various government priorities and the national model of Australia’s growing, ageing and diversifying population.

The voices of middle Australia should give arts and culture stakeholders the confidence to act boldly and urgently in their actions to support the development of a rich cultural life for all Australians. — Intergenerational arts and culture: Lessons across middle Australia

Common themes across the middle Australia series 

Essential to being human

Middle Australians have a broad definition of arts and culture, and see it as essential to being human. They recognise its benefits in everyday life and think governments should help make these benefits accessible.

Drivers of wellbeing and productivity

Middle Australians note the role of arts and culture in driving wellbeing and productivity-related skills, including in the workplace and through education. In short, arts and culture connects various government portfolios through its impacts.

Fostering innovation, imagination and expression

Middle Australians have high hopes for arts and culture’s impact on innovative thinking, collective imagination and creative expression. These impacts support middle Australians’ calls for participation through greater access and a range of formats for cultural and creative experiences.

The building blocks of community and place

Middle Australians believe that cultural and creative engagement helps build a sense of belonging and connection at individual, community and national identity levels. The benefits of arts and culture as the ‘building blocks of place’ emerged through valued local activities, jobs and tourism.

Unique to each generation 

Young (ages 18-29)

  • do not distinguish between high arts and other cultural activities
  • view digital and in-person formats as equally enjoyable and important

Middle-aged (aged 35–60)

  • make some distinction between high arts and other cultural activities
  • are moderately interested in digital participation, but recognised and generally respected that younger generations valued digital culture

Baby Boomer (aged 58–75)

  • think arts and culture provide opportunities for intergenerational dialogue and connection, including with their children and grandchildren
  • say that cultural experiences create lifelong memories and help them ‘stay young’

Suggested Citation

Fielding, K., Sidhu, A., & Vivian A., October 2023. ‘Intergenerational arts and culture: Lessons across middle Australia’. Analysis Paper No. 2023–03. Produced by A New Approach (ANA). Canberra, Australia.

Report Design

Aakanksha Sidhu, ANA


A New Approach (ANA) acknowledges the cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia and their continuing cultural and creative practices in this land.

ANA thanks the people who generously reviewed this paper for their time and excellent feedback. The opinions in this Analysis Paper do not necessarily represent the views of ANA’s funding partners, the individual members involved in the governance or advisory committees, or others who have provided input.

© A New Approach (ANA) 2023.
This work is copyright. All material published or otherwise created by A New Approach
is licenced under a Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial 4.0 International Licence.

ANA Board
Rupert Myer AO (Chair), Sue Cato AM, Cass O’Connor, Catherine Liddle, Craig A. Limkin PSM and Genevieve Lacey. Board Associates 2023: Astrid Jorgensen OAM and Daniel Riley.

ANA Reference Group
Genevieve Lacey (Chair), Ben Au, Jane Curry, Professor John Daley AM, Shelagh Magadza, Damien Miller, Rupert Myer AO,
Alison Page and Dr Mathew Trinca AM.

ANA Philanthropic Partners
ANA is supported by a unique collaboration of ten philanthropic organisations across the country.

  • The Myer Foundation
  • Sydney Myer Fund
  • Tim Fairfax Family Foundation
  • The Ian Potter Foundation
  • Neilson Foundation
  • Minderoo Foundation
  • Besen Family Foundation
  • Spinifex Trust
  • The Keir Foundation
  • Aranday Foundation
  • The Yulgilbar Foundation

New Approach acknowledges that it meets, works and travels on the lands of First Nations peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and to all First Nations peoples.