Life is better with arts and culture says middle Australia 

06 October 2023

Broad-based research conducted by A New Approach (ANA) shows that Australians believe creative and cultural participation improves our health, makes our communities stronger and helps us learn new skills. Middle Australians say arts and culture positively impacts us at every age and every stage.  

Intergenerational arts and culture: Lessons across middle Australia brings together the findings of nationwide focus-group studies with three generations of Australians between the ages of 18 – 75. It explores their shared attitudes towards arts, culture and creativity and for the first time presents the clear connecting themes across all three generations.  

The researchers spoke with people in every state and territory who are from low to middle income households, are politically unaligned and living in outer suburban and regional areas. Reflecting on the study, ANA CEO Kate Fielding said everyday Australians think arts and culture is essential to being human. 

“The message we heard loud and clear was that right across the country, arts and culture is embedded in the lives of everyday Australians and has a direct positive impact on their ability to stay healthy, understand others, accept differences, connect with community, learn new skills and have new ideas,” said Ms Fielding.   

“This perspective is supported by international and Australian research showing that creative and cultural participation contribute significantly to health, security, sustainability, cohesion and prosperity. The OECD is now calling on governments to view arts and culture as an investment, not simply a cost, and to integrate arts and culture into broader social and economic development strategies.” 

The study found that everyday Australians feel all Australians should have opportunities to participate in arts and culture at every stage of life and no matter where they live. They also believe governments should play a role in making this possible, including through investment.

Responding to this, Ms Fielding highlighted that Australia still lags behind other OECD nations for cultural expenditure by governments and over the last 13 years there has been an almost seven percent decrease in expenditure per capita. 

“We know from the OECD’s work that strengthened public investment leads to higher cultural participation. To ensure all Australians can access the benefits of arts and cultural participation we need a good plan to coordinate stakeholder actions across industry, philanthropy and all levels of government. This will help integrate arts and culture across public policy solutions and provide focus to strengthened public and private investment,” said Ms Fielding. 

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Media enquiries: Alexandra Nichols 0431 468 665 or

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.