What are Levelling Up for Culture Places?
In it's 2022 Levelling Up white paper, the government expressed that:
|Culture and sport are key determinants of places’ social capital and critical elements of their social infrastructure. But, while talent and creativity is spread equally across the UK, the opportunity to enjoy culture and sport is not. Those in less affluent regions are less likely to have visited a heritage site, or to have engaged with the arts, compared to those from more affluent regions.|
As part of the strategy for redressing this balance, they made the commitment to “Identify over 100 levelling up priority places outside of London that will be the focus for additional Arts Council England engagement and investment." As part of that process, all local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales are allocated into one of three Levelling Up priority bands, as per the map below:
How do they break down by Audience Spectrum Profile?
The aggregate Audience Spectrum profile for these three bands shows that segments that are typically less culturally engaged are present in higher concentrations in areas that are higher Levelling Up priority:
Which are the key crossover segments to focus on?
Recent updates to Audience Spectrum, which introduced a new level of subsegments to the tool, mean that we can now look in unprecedented granularity at the profiles of audiences living in High Priority Levelling Up areas:
Notably, two subsegments particularly stand out as being especially present in the Levelling Up for Culture places designated as High Priority. These are:
- Up Our Street – U2 | Older residents of terraces and flats in built up areas.
- Frontline Families - F2 | Younger, cash-strapped families and couples starting out.
These two subsegments are substantially over-represented in these areas, even though their counterparts – U1 | Middle-aged inhabitants of semis on the edge of town, and F1 |Older families, getting by despite challenges – are not.
What are the characteristics of these two subsegments?
Up Our Street in high priority areas for Levelling Up are most likely to:
- Spend less than Up Our Street overall on music or plays/drama
- Be price sensitive, paying less on average for tickets
- Use Facebook and Messenger: but not other social media
- Be well established in the area they live in (i.e. they are likely to have good knowledge of what’s in the area, especially things that have been around a while, but also have established habits).
Frontline Families in high priority areas for Levelling Up are most likely to:
- Engage with children and family events, but particularly outdoor arts and free events, especially attending locally.
- Be motivated by entertaining children (as well as ‘spending time with friends and family’) – so events and activities should be enjoyable but also social.
- Be highly engaged on social media (esp. Instagram, TikTok, Youtube and Snapchat) if not necessarily with cultural organisations; communications via local venues, networks and word of mouth may also be effective.
- Use subscription TV services, such as Disney + and Netflix.
What happens next?
The correlation between the areas that Levelling Up for Culture identifies as 'High Priority' and those dominated by currently Low Engaged Audience Spectrum segments, while to be expected, is nonetheless encouraging.
We will be monitoring with interest the initiative's progress in improving arts, culture and heritage provision for underserved communities, and continuing to look at what the data tells us about those audiences' changing experiences.
Sometimes, keeping track of the different government and funding body initiatives being implemented to do this kind of work can feel tricky. So, to better understand the relationship and crossover between 'Levelling Up for Culture Places', ACE's 'Priority Places' and 'Creative People and Places', browse these links: