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Estonia's national cultural participation survey open till end of December

The Estonian Song Festival.
The Estonian Song Festival. Source: Jaanus Ree/Brand Estonia

Up until the end of December, residents of Estonia are still able to contribute to the national Cultural Participation Survey*. The survey is being organized by the Ministry of Culture and Statistics Estonia, who are encouraging everyone receiving an invitation to take part.

The data collected through the survey is considered extremely important on a national level in helping to determine Estonia's cultural policy objectives, developing appropriate support measures and finding ways to improve access to cultural events across different social groups.

Karl Viilmann, chief data expert at the Estonian Ministry of Culture, said that the Cultural Participation Survey will be used to collect information about cultural attendance, access to culture, cultural hobbies and general attitudes about culture.

It is the only national survey giving a detailed insight into the cultural participation habits of Estonian residents, frequency of visits to cultural institutions, and attendance of cultural and sports events," said Viilmann. The survey will additionally be used to assess attendance at online cultural and sports events. 

"There is also a focus on cultural participation among children and young people, including pursuit of cultural hobbies in their leisure time, and on the accessibility of culture to people with special needs," Viilmann added.

What will the data be used for?  

Erik Lest, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said the survey results can be analyzed according to different variables – for example, by place of residence, sex, age, education or labor status.

This allows a thorough study of how different social groups participate in culture, how cultural participation has changed and how it varies across different counties.

"Based on the survey results, we can assess the success of national cultural policy and how cultural participation and people's cultural habits have changed over the years," said Lest.  

Lest emphasized that the survey provides objective statistics that can be used to set targets and plan actions in various fields related to the arts and cultural resources.

"The Ministry of Culture relies on this survey data when designing various support measures and defining eligibility criteria for applicants. Some of these measures promote the cultural participation of young people, such as the Culture Backpacks program, for example. Other measures help to reduce regional inequalities in cultural participation, such as the Bringing Theater to the Countryside program," explained Karl Viilmann. 

Using data to provide better opportunities 

According to Viilmann, culture can be the driving force behind of regional development, the basis of regional identity, and make an area more attractive.

"Cultural participation is also important for people's wellbeing. A varied, easily accessible cultural life ensures a more attractive living environment, especially beyond urban areas, and supports social cohesion and wellbeing everywhere in Estonia," said Viilmann. 

The Cultural Participation Survey thus helps determine the opportunities available in different regions of Estonia for attending cultural events or pursuing cultural hobbies. Viilmann explained that both the state and local governments gain valuable information, which helps them to provide support for people visiting cultural institutions and events and for cultural participation. The survey results are also used by cultural institutions when planning activities and events.

The 2023 Cultural Participation Survey can still be completed up until the end of December 2023. The data will be published in Statistics Estonia's database at the end of June 2024. 

XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

*The Culture Development Plan 2021–2030, adopted by the Government of the Republic of Estonia in 2021, is a key strategy document in the field of culture. It defines the strategic goals, areas of responsibility, and forms of cooperation for ensuring the viability of Estonian culture. The general objective of the development plan is to ensure that Estonian culture is vibrant, evolving and open to the world, and that participation in culture is a natural part of everyone's life.  

Achievement of this general objective is measured with the Cultural Participation Survey which collects information about the cultural interests, consumption of culture, and cultural hobbies of Estonian residents. The aim of the survey is to provide objective statistics for the setting of cultural policy goals. The same indicator is used in several other important national development plans, such as "Estonia 2035" and the National Strategy on Sustainable Development.

According to the Culture Development Plan, the share of Estonian residents participating in cultural life should be 80 percent by the year 2030. The indicator value was 73.8 percent in 2020, 78.7 percent in 2017, and 84.4 percent in 2015 (the first year the survey was administered).  


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Editor: Michael Cole

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