Young middle Australians believe arts and culture can drive the COVID-19 recovery and help shape Australia’s future.

Splattered-paint-on-a-white-table-photo by-Ricardo-Viana-on-UnsplashA New Approach (ANA) has released its sixth insight report which tells the stories of young undecided voters from outer suburban and regional Australia, highlighting the value they place on arts and culture and the role it can play in healing our communities.

The report Next Generation of Voters: Young Middle Australians talk Arts, Culture and Creativity follows comprehensive research into the views of middle Australians released by ANA in 2020.

As part of this new 2021 research, ANA spoke with undecided voters aged 18 – 29 from low and middle income backgrounds living in marginal federal electorates across Australia.

“It will not be a surprise that young people are highly engaged in arts and culture. They are very active creators, participants and consumers,” said ANA CEO Kate Fielding.

But talking to young middle Australians has given us a better understanding of their priorities, as well as their expectation that arts and culture will play a key role in communities coming back together again after the current period of extended social dislocation.”

“These young middle Australians strongly believe that arts and culture isn’t just for young people in our cities, it’s for all young people. And it’s now clear that arts and culture both informs and influences their decision-making in different ways to that of middle-aged middle Australians.”

“Young middle Australians told us that they use arts and culture to understand themselves and their changing world, to connect with their community and to improve their health and wellbeing. Arts and cultural experiences cannot be separated from daily life.”

“One of the strongest messages from our research was that young middle Australians value and engage with all arts and cultural experiences and feel strongly that access to these experiences shouldn’t be dependent on where you live. Arts and culture is what will shape our communities of the future, on a local, national and global level.”

“Young middle Australians and their engagement with arts and culture will also be a critical driver of our recovery from COVID-19. Our arts and cultural industries boost activity in the accommodation, hospitality and tourism industries and will help rebuild confidence amongst our communities.”

Ms Fielding said this research provides renewed urgency for a National Arts, Culture and Creativity Plan to help anticipate and respond to these changes, for the benefit of all Australians.

“We have a unique opportunity to look to the future and design a contemporary framework that supports our cultural and creative industries to both recover from the challenges of COVID-19 but also take advantage of changes being driven by young Australians,” said Ms Fielding.

“At a time when our young people are reporting increased mental health challenges and our industries are struggling, this research provides both helpful findings and practical opportunities while also giving a renewed sense of hope to all arts and culture creators, participants and consumers.”

For more information on A New Approach (ANA) visit for details.

Image: Splattered paint on a white table – photo by Ricardo Viana on Unsplash