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Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on cultural participation

Published: 13 Jan 2021

Covid-19 Population Survey

Creative Scotland today publishes the findings from independent research looking at public attitudes to cultural participation and attendance in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Surveying a representative sample of the population in Scotland, this is the second wave of research, following the first wave which was completed in August 2020. The survey provides valuable insight regarding how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed attitudes towards, and engagement with, cultural activity and also looks at public attitudes towards cultural participation in the future.

Key findings include:

  • More than half the population (56%) say they really miss attending cultural venues and events
  • However, there is wariness amongst the culture-going public as regards returning to venues and events as restrictions ease, more so than with many other leisure activities
  • The vast majority of the population (98%) are engaging with cultural activity from home during the Covid-19 pandemic but only a small proportion (17%) say they are willing to pay for cultural content that has moved online due to the pandemic
  • Audiences are nevertheless looking forward to attending cultural activity when they can; are open to trying new experiences at different types of venue (70%); and audience levels look likely to return to pre-Covid levels, or increase, once a vaccine is widely available

Iain Munro, Creative Scotland Chief Executive said: “The impact on Scotland’s art and culture sector by the Covid-19 pandemic has been severe. This important and ongoing research helps us understand that impact from a public perspective and is helping inform our ongoing discussions with partners, including Scottish Government, regarding current and future support.

“The research also provides invaluable insight that will help shape our collaborative work with the sector in terms of recovery and renewal as we emerge from the impacts of the pandemic through 2021.”

The report summarising the findings from the research can be found in our research section. A further wave of this research is planned for Spring 2021.


Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

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