Views from December 2012

  1. 11 Dec

    &Co Director Chris Bailey Reports on Taking Part 2012 User Event


&Co Director Chris Bailey Reports on Taking Part 2012 User Event

11 December 2012

"There have been three annual events organised by Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) for the users of the data amassed by the Taking Part over the past eight years. The most recent took place on 28 November 2012 at the current offices of the Department and was attended by about seventy participants from a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial cultural sector, local authorities and national arts bodies. The purpose was partly instructive and partly consultative, although the plan to fit seven presentations, a panel discussion, introduction, conclusion and a refreshment break into three and a half hours meant that there was very little discussion. With tea and a biscuit taken the event focused on the conclusions of researchers looking at the extent to which the Olympics had succeeded in ‘inspiring a generation’, exploring national patterns of participation in Badminton, and an examination of the impact of the Olympics on sports participation. The findings concerned with engagement and BME populations appeared both significant and interesting so it was somewhat disappointing that there was too little time to settle some of the methodological issues which arise with multivariate analysis.

"Before tea three presentations explored the arts perspective on Taking Part data and were more innovative, not least in exploiting TP data is to help re-think our ideas about culture. It is interesting to hear that access is once more emerging as a major factor in participation, though that now seems an unavoidable conclusion from the success of Lottery capital investment in Northern cities. There was some puzzlement that the UK has never got round to establishing a cultural asset register. An irony of the recent cuts has been that what remains looks ever more like a set of identified national assets so perhaps such an exercise could yet happen. Amongst the delegates the local authority officers seemed most keen to explore how TP data might be used on the ground to inform local decision making. A significant opportunity seems to beckon, should DCMS consider it within their remit and in their interests. Taking Part may have been devised largely as an instrument for Government to judge the effectiveness of DCMS spending, but, in conjunction with the parallel Office for National Statistics work on well-being and increasingly reliable data from local authority panels and the like it clearly reveals, in greater depth than ever before, how UK citizens define and lead their lives through culture."

Chris Bailey, December 2012

&Co Director and Principal Consultant