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2010 Cultural Engagement Index (CEI)

The Cultural Engagement Index (CEI) is a research tool that tracks trends in consumer cultural engagement over time in the Greater Philadelphia region. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has released the results of the second Cultural Engagement Index (CEI) survey, which finds an 11% increase in cultural engagement since the last survey in 2008. Overall CEI scores went up in 8 of the 9 components surveyed. The exception was the consumption of popular media, which remained flat. Particularly high CEI scores were seen for younger respondents (18-34), families with children; African-American and Hispanic respondents; and those active in theater, visual arts and online creative activities.

Unlike other studies of arts participation, the CEI surveys the general population of Greater Philadelphia, not just current arts attendees. The engagement score factors in both frequency of culture participation and the importance of those cultural activities to the survey respondents. Overall CEI scores went up in 8 of the 9 components surveyed, the exception being the consumption of popular media, which remained flat.
Key Findings from the CEI include:

Key Findings From the CEI include:

  • Despite the economic crisis, the CEI suggests that Philadelphia is more culturally vibrant than the nation as a whole.
  • Cultural engagement is highest for younger age cohorts 18-34.
  • Parents continue to take advantage of opportunities to engage the family in arts and cultural activities with an eye toward learning and nurturing experiences.
  • Engagement levels for African Americans and Hispanics increased more and continue to be consistently higher than those for Whites.
  • Active cultural participants place tremendous importance on the value of cultural activity, AND they vote.
  • Just as in 2008, men and women have different engagement patterns.
  • Personal practice activities continue to increase in importance.

This year’s results provides additional insight on the different patterns of cultural engagement between subsets of survey respondents, based on factors such as age, lifestyle groups, race and education. For example, engagement was highest for Hispanic and younger audiences 18-34, but both groups also had the highest scores for personal creative practice such as composing music, dancing, and taking photography.

“This research suggests multiple avenues for increasing cultural participation,” emphasized principal researcher Alan Brown.  “Specific patterns of cultural activity revealed in the CEI, including respondents personal practice activities, can be studied by cultural groups to more effectively engage current and potential audiences.”

“Clearly residents care deeply about arts and culture,” said Tom Kaiden, President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “During tough times, we reevaluate what matters most.  And culture provides us with the insight, and creative outlet to envision a better future.”


Check out the photos from Alliance Day 2011: Keys to the Future