Cultural Engagement by Young Londoners: An Introduction to key trends, drivers and challenges

In February 2013 A New Direction commissioned a poll of young people aged 11-25 living in London looking at how and why young prople engage in cultural activities.

Market research company TNS surveyed 1,664 young people and collected data on participation in free time activities, attendance at a range of cultural venues and events, attitudes to culture including motivations and barriers to involvement and feelings about the future.

This report presents some of the key findings from the survey.

Results from the study show that in general, young people in London are active attenders at a range of cultural venues and events. However, engagement varies considerably based on young people’s age, background, geographical location and employment/education status.

The study also points out that schools remain important gateways to culture for young people. They appear to be important in enabling attendance at more formal cultural activities (e.g. art exhibitions, museums, historical monuments, theatre) rather than to more informal or community-based activities (cinema, live music, street arts, carnival). They have an important levelling effect particularly for those young people from less privileged backgrounds.

Results from the survey show that while young people from higher social grades are significantly more likely to say that their first memorable cultural experience was organised by their parents, those from lower social grades are more likely to have experienced their first memorable cultural trip through school, college or university.

This report is a starting point for understanding how young people engage with London’s cultural venues and events and some of the factors that might encourage or limit further engagement. It also highlights a range of areas for further research that could help us build on these insights.

Download Cultural Engagement by Young Londoners Report

Download Full findings of research

The following film was produced by Michael Sarpong, a young person working with A New Direction, through a CREATE Jobs placement, to produce a film in response to this report.