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Key facts

Attendance outlook for families at cultural events 2022

  • 1,451 Australian parents and caregivers responded to the March 2022 survey
  • 6 in 10 are ready to attend with their children ‘whenever permitted’, similar to the overall adult readiness
  • 24% report financial barriers to attending, up from 15% in Nov 2021
  • 63% are now at least somewhat comfortable using hands-on exhibits at an interactive museum.

Key findings

Families have hesitations about attending, but many are eager for their children to have a 'normal' childhood

  • The latest data shows that a majority of parents and caregivers are ready to attend cultural events with their children ‘whenever permitted’ (58%) — a rate that is consistent with audiences in general (59%).
  • The majority of parents feel at least ‘somewhat comfortable’ attending most arts and cultural venues with their children, particularly outdoor events with fixed seating (96%) and without seating (87%) and museums and galleries (95%).
  • However, the situation is complex, and qualitative data reveals there is some caution linked with lagging vaccination rates among children – as well as the inability for young children under 5 to be vaccinated currently.
  • Parents recognise the enriching benefits arts and cultural attendance have for their children and many are concerned that their children have missed out on these benefits and a ‘normal childhood’ over the past two years.
  • COVID-safety remains paramount, and many parents advocate for cultural organisations to prioritise health protocols to ensure families can re-attend events safely.

Parents worry about the risk of transmission and isolation – but the situation is evolving

  • While in general, many parents feel that arts and cultural events aren’t more risky than schools, some are hesitant about adding any additional risk to their lives. They are also conscious of the repercussions of contracting the virus at arts events, such as having to isolate and miss out on school or work. For some, the impact of isolation is perceived to be greater than the illness itself.
  • With close contact isolation rules being relaxed in most states and territories around the country in recent months, the possibility of having to stay home from work or school may become less of a concern.
  • Compared to November 2021, the majority of parents continue to be confident that the vaccination effort will allow normal activities to resume within a year (87%, stable since November) – and this rate is likely to increase as vaccination rates increase among children.
  • In a promising outlook, while vaccination for children under five years old is yet to be approved, the TGA commenced the process of reviewing vaccines for children under 5 in May 2022.
  • However, since the time of data collection (13 March 2022), the proportion of all Australian children aged 5-11 receiving their first dose has remained stable (53% in May, compared to 51% in March, suggesting there is some lingering hesitancy around vaccination for children in the population.

Children love hands-on experiences and there are ways for cultural venues to make parents feel comfortable

  • Many parents expressed that children love to interact with hands-on arts and culture experiences, and parents are now more likely than non-parents to be ‘very comfortable’ with this type of activity (27% of parents, compared to 19% of all audiences).
  • With the knowledge that children are eager to get active and use their hands at arts events, parents frequently suggested COVID- safety measures at family-friendly venues and events, such as ensuring areas and objects being cleaned regularly and hand sanitiser being readily available.
  • With many children still currently unvaccinated, many parents will continue to rely on these measures, along with timed attendance, open air or proper ventilation and density limits, to feel more comfortable attending events with their children.
  • Given the rising cost of living in March 2022, more parents are citing financial reasons as a barrier to attendance (24%, up from 15% in November), and affordability and ticket refund policies may be an important consideration for marketing arts experiences to families.
  • The data suggests that parents will continue to be selective in the arts experiences they attend with their children, and are looking for effective communication about adherence to COVID safety and ticketing policies throughout 2022 and beyond.

To view the full fact sheet, download the Audience Outlook Monitor. Family Attendance Outlook 2022. National Fact Sheet

Page reviewed 11 September 2023