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Summary of research needs survey: Pilot year of Arts Insights Canada (2021-22)
While the Arts Insights Canada initiative was not renewed beyond its pilot year, I thought that some readers might be interested in a brief summary of the findings from a user survey that I conducted.
The goal of the pilot was to provide top-quality, meaningful, and impactful research products of practical significance to Canadian artists and arts workers. The survey findings showed significant interest in this work from the Canadian arts community.
Note that the 100 responses were received in January, before some products had been published.
The statistical reports had the highest recall / readership among users. The Green(er) arts blog was just one week old when the survey was distributed and, at that point, had the lowest readership among respondents.
The research published by the time of the survey received very high ratings on four aspects asked in the survey, including the quality of the research, its meaningfulness, its useful insights that could be applied in respondents’ work, and its perceived impacts on the arts sector. Over 90% of respondents agreed with each statement, as shown in the chart below.
The research ratings are close to the overall average for respondents from equity-seeking groups, in different occupation groups, residing in the western provinces, and residing in Ontario and Quebec.
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Because the initiative was not renewed, I am not going to delve much further into the possible changes brought up in the survey. I will, however, keep these suggestions in mind during the development of the new Statistical Insights on the Arts subscription service.
Most of the responses to the “final comments” question offered thanks for the research work. Among the 24 “thank you” responses:
“Interesting topics, wondrously studied”
“Thanks for the valuable work you do.”
“Hill Strategies research and reports have long been an invaluable tool for the sector, and for my own professional practice. It is vital that this work is given the support necessary to sustain and to grow so that the next generation of arts leaders can access the knowledge required to strategically shape and evolve the arts community.”
“Merci pour votre travail essentiel."
“Keep up the great work! More resources needed to take it to the next level!”
"Great resource as stats are very hard to find on the arts sector. Making an argument for arts support requires statistics to ‘speak the same language’ to business and government. More hard figures are appreciated."
Respondents represent a solid range of different occupation groups, the largest of which were artists and arts workers (other than artists):
Artists: 46% of respondents
Arts workers (other than artists): 45%
Researchers or consultants: 38%
Arts volunteers: 29%
Government employees: 16%
Non-arts workers: 5%
Very small proportions of the survey respondents self-identified as Indigenous (2%), Black (2%), or racialized (5%). Ten percent self-identified as D/deaf and/or disabled. Taken together, these four equity-seeking groups account for 19% of survey respondents (n=18). Fourteen percent of respondents self-identified as 2SLGBTQIA+. Overall, 30% of respondents self-identified with one or more of these five equity-seeking groups (n=28).
Respondents reside in 9 of the 10 provinces, with Prince Edward Island being the only province not represented. No respondents reside in the three territories. The geographic range of respondents roughly matches the distribution of the Canadian population.