Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Ethnicity Evidence Review

This evidence review was prepared to support the production of the Scottish Government's Equality Outcomes, with regard to ethnicity.

15 Culture

15.1 This section explores levels of engagement in culture, followed by reported barriers to increased engagement.

15.2 In the evidence around culture, the word "engagement" is used to include both attendance at a cultural event or place, and participation in a cultural activity.

Levels of engagement

15.3 The Scottish Government reports that, in the 2011 Scottish Household Survey, the percentage of adults who engaged in culture in the previous 12 months varied by ethnicity of respondents, although information for individual ethnic groups are limited139. In the 12 months prior to the Survey, 86% of white Scottish respondents had engaged in culture. This compares with 90% of those who were Asian Scottish or Asian British, and 92% of those who stated that they were white other and from other ethnic groups.

15.4 In the 12 months prior to the Survey, participation in a cultural activity was highest for adults who classed themselves as white other (81%) and other ethnic groups (80%), and lowest for adults who were Asian Scottish or Asian British (67%). Reading for pleasure, dancing and playing or writing music were less common for those who were Asian Scottish or Asian British (51%, 13% and 5% respectively).

15.5 Attendance at a cultural place or event in the 12 months prior to the Survey was lowest for adults who identified themselves as white Scottish (73%), and broadly similar for all other ethnic groups at between 82% and 84% of adults. Visits to libraries in the previous 12 months were most popular with adults from other ethnic groups and those who were Asian Scottish or Asian British (51% and 40% respectively). This compares with 29% of adults as a whole.

Barriers to greater engagement

15.6 A 2003 survey by the Office for National Statistics140 reports the extent of attendance and participation in cultural activities among all ethnic groups, and explores the barriers to wider participation. It is because of this attention to barriers that we report this research based entirely in England.

  • The results of the survey showed that although there were some differences between individual ethnic groups, there were very high levels of engagement with and support for the arts and other cultural activities.
  • Asian respondents were most likely to have attended a culturally specific festival, and the highest proportions of those visiting or using libraries were found amongst black African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi respondents, and the lowest among black Caribbean people and people of mixed ethnicity.
  • Levels of attendance varied by age and gender, with attendance more likely to be by the younger age group of 16-44 years; for particular ethnic minorities e.g. black African, more men than women attended arts events. For Indian groups, more women than men attended arts events.

15.7 The majority of respondents to the Office for National Statistics survey in all ethnic groups said that they would be interested in attending more events. When they were asked about barriers to increased attendance, the most common reason given was 'lack of time'. This was followed by 'cost', and less frequently 'not interested' and 'lack of transport'. Black African, Pakistani or Bangladeshi people were the most likely to say that concerns about 'feeling uncomfortable or out of place' prevented them from attending.


Email: Social Research

Back to top