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How millennials are changing the way we participate in the arts

The momentum of engaging with millennials is growing fast; more often we are seeing politicians working to attract younger voters, companies marketing to a younger demographic and in the creative sector, art establishments are looking at increasing engagement with a younger audience.

The fear of the end of face to face communication and decrease of volunteers in a community is real changing demographics mean there is a decline in number of volunteers; they are not being replaced by the new rising generation of people. So, I often ask myself, what is contributing to this decline and what are the barriers that prevent engagement and participation?

A recent Creative New Zealand study, found that the main barrier to greater involvement in the arts for millennials continues to be a lack of time, followed by affordability, then doubting their creative ability. The number of people attending live arts events as a result of engaging online has decreased yet there has been increase in the proportion of people who have booked a ticket online, with more than 43% of people having done so in the past 12 months.

In today’s society, smart phones are a necessity and tech driven social connectedness brings an endless stream of distractions. Like it or not, we are a throw away culture where everything has an expiry date and we can have anything we want at low cost or for free in the push of a button. Financial pressures, a changing job market, and different priorities have contributed to the unpredictability of this generation, which means it’s difficult for people to make plans and keep them. We are now faced with a movement of people who are cuturalpreneurs that have moved away from governance and hierarchy systems to a more collaborative one.

In order to break down barriers we need to also “open the door” for people by acting as a “campfire”, placing a stronger focus on connection with people from all walks of life that are not just interested in the creative sector but naturally curious people who are focused on increasing their social networks. These are the people that we want to join us in conversations.

Millennials are stepping into leadership roles nationwide. The work we do now to minimise barriers to arts engagement and more we support them will ensure that Selwyn is the best place to live work and play in.

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