Cultural Participation will be the main topic of discussion at a national symposium to be held in June. The symposium will present the main findings from a nationwide survey held in 2016. The study commissioned by Arts Council Malta (ACM) as part of its research programme, builds upon the 2011 survey and delves deeper into current issues of cultural participation. The main findings from the survey will be presented during a half-day symposium to be held on June 21 at the Valletta Campus Theatre, Valletta (ex-MITP).

The findings will also be collated in a number of publications commissioned by Arts Council Malta – including a selection of critical essays by 10 contributors with expertise from different fields. In addition to this, the Valletta 2018 Foundation has commissioned a detailed analysis of the findings to be carried out by Dr Marie Briguglio, which will also be presented at the symposium. Also addressing the symposium will be Michael Deguara, a member of the Valletta 2018 Evaluation & Monitoring Steering Committee, who will be presenting a paper on the topic of cultural participation and accessibility. Glen Farrugia, representing the Valletta 2018 University of Malta Secretariat will be participating in a roundtable discussion during the symposium.

The findings from the survey will assist in shaping future evidence-based policymaking and make the case for the value of culture while also kick-starting conversations in the public sphere that inspires more exploration on this complex and ever-evolving subject matter.

The 2016 survey, which was designed in collaboration with the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the Valletta 2018 Foundation, goes beyond previous studies by attempting to explore why people choose to participate – or not – in cultural activities by uncovering their attitudes, preferences and lifestyles. This data can then be used to profile audiences not only by demographic but also by psychographic (value-based) factors.

NSO carried out the data collection process with a gross sample of 1,500 respondents, 75 per cent of which participated. Thirty-eight interviewers were recruited for face-to-face interviews, which were held in November 2016; a method which made for a higher response rate compared to 2011 as well as clarification of perception-based questions.

The Cultural Participation Survey symposium is aimed at cultural managers, policy makers, researchers, arts marketeers and producers in the arts, heritage and media sectors and will be held on June 21 2017, 8.30am at the Valletta Campus Theatre, Valletta. Registration is free and can be made by sending an e-mail to fundinfo@artscouncilmalta.org. The publications will also be available for free download from www.artscouncilmalta.org after the seminar.