Participation: Basic Measures

What are the Basic Measures?

Simple indicators of engagement with an event such as the number of people that attend or participate in event related activities can be captured using in-house data held by organisers.  These provide an indication of the popularity of an event and its ability to attract specific groups.  For example, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad included a wide range of events and activities that sought to engage with children and young people such as: StoryLab - Summer Reading Challenge, involving 890,120 young people in reading six books; and, the Tate Movie Project, which involved 37,108 children aged 5-11 years. 

In certain instances, an element of primary data collection with attendees (e.g. a survey) may be required to complement organiser data in order to identify their characteristics.  Some recommended indicators that are likely to be of interest to event stakeholders include:  

  • the number of attendees from the host area, which can include both active attendees (e.g. participants and volunteers) and passive attendees (audiences). The host area in this context can refer to the local authority in which an event takes place but can vary dependent on the remit of event stakeholders.
  • the number of attendees from the host area belonging to disadvantaged and/or minority ethnic backgrounds.  Disadvantaged groups relate to people from the most deprived parts of the host area and those in poverty.  In the UK, each of the four constituent countries measures deprivation using their own distinct index of multiple deprivation (IMD).  In England, for example, the IMD combines information from seven domain indices (which measure different types of deprivation) to describe how relatively deprived an area is.  The most widely used poverty measure in the UK is household income.  The Households Below Average Income (HBAI) survey sets the poverty line in the UK at 60 per cent of the median UK household income. If a household’s income is less than 60 per cent of this average, HBAI considers them to be living in poverty. 
  • the number of children and young people from the host area engaged in event outreach programmes.  This relates to the number of people aged 25 and under who take part in arts/sport development programmes and ‘taster’ sessions organised by the event owner and/or partner organisations.