When we talk about public engagement in the Arts Council we are talking about peoples’ encounters with or experiences of the contemporary arts. There is a huge range of ways in which this can happen – for example, as an audience member at a play or concert, through reading a novel, through taking part in an art workshop, through doing an art course, through voluntarily helping out on an arts festival or at an arts centre, or through being involved in a local youth theatre.
As the state agency for developing the arts, the Arts Council is interested in knowing how people engage with the arts at all levels and understanding how much the arts are valued in Irish society.
In terms of our direct investment in the arts, three kinds of public engagement are of particular interest to the Arts Council:
- When the public engages as audience members (readers, listeners, spectators) of the contemporary arts funded by the Arts Council;
- When the public engages as participants or collaborators in arts practices funded by the Arts Council. For example, a Traveller women’s group working collaboratively with a theatre-maker;
- Where people actively engage in the arts in a voluntary or amateur capacity. For example, members of a youth theatre or a choir.
Making Great Art Work glossary
Plain English glossary of terms commonly used in Arts Council strategy Making Great Art Work (2016-2025)
Download glossary (PDF, 460 KB)
How to set an audience target
This guide presents a framework to help you set realistic and ambitious audience targets that will help your organisation achieve its aims, mission and vision. It has been produced as guidance for organisations applying for funding from the Arts Council.
Download guide (PDF, 915 KB)
Map my audience
This online tool maps population data from Census 2016 against 82 arts centres, galleries and venues throughout the country. We feel it is particularly useful for arts providers who are interested in learning more about potential audiences for programmes and events within a targeted location.
Use the tool
Attendance, Participation & Engagement with the Arts in Ireland 2018
The research looks at attendance, participation, behaviours and attitudes from the perspective of the public. Who attends and who does not attend arts events? What are the drivers and barriers to taking part? What do people value about their participation?
Arts and Cultural Participation among Children and Young People: Insights from the Growing Up in Ireland Study
The Arts Council commissioned this research to improve our knowledge and understanding of children’s participation in cultural life and the arts in Ireland. The research, conducted by the ESRI on behalf of the Arts Council, draws on Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) data to assess arts and cultural participation specifically among 3, 5, 9 and 13-year-olds.
Download report (PDF, 10MB)