The arts and culture sector in Dunedin

Benje Patterson was commissioned to estimate the economic and social outcomes of Dunedin’s arts and culture sector. The report outlined the benefits to local residents’ quality of life, as well as the reputation and attractiveness of Dunedin to its visitors.

A full copy of the report is available for download here.

What was the project?

Benje Patterson Economics conducted research into Dunedin’s arts and culture sector. The objective was to quantify the economic and social value the industry contributes to the city. This report was commissioned by Ara Toi, Dunedin City Council.

What did the report help to understand?

Ara Toi commissioned this report to understand the economic and social impacts the arts and culture sector has within Dunedin. Dunedin’s art and culture sector is a key contributor to the quality of life of residents and plays an important role in the city’s reputation with visitors. Thus, better knowledge of the industry allows the council to ensure that their actions support future growth and opportunities within the arts and culture sector.

Key questions addressed by this report include:

  1. What are the current employment demographics in the sector?
  2. What are the economic impacts?
  3. What are the social impacts?

What were the key findings?

The key findings in the report were that:

  • The arts and culture sector represents 3.9% of Dunedin’s employment, and has grown from 2,239 jobs in 2009 to 2,524 jobs by 2019..
  • A higher proportion of people in the industry are self-employed than the average person in Dunedin. In 2019, self-employment represented 25% in the industry compared to 12% across Dunedin’s job market.
  • Just over half of the employment was directly within the industry (56%), while the remainder were people with arts and culture occupations within other industries.
  • Arts and culture employees are more likely to work part-time than others in Dunedin.
  • The largest occupations are graphic designers and architects.
  • A higher proportion of employees in the arts and culture sector have a degree than the average person in Dunedin. In 2018, this was 42.4% compared to 32.3% on average.
  • Arts and culture sector employees are more likely to be male and European than across all employment in Dunedin. There are also large cohorts of workers in their 40s and aged 65+.
  • Only a fraction of the 1,070 students enrolled in creative disciplines at Dunedin’s tertiary institutions need to be enticed to remain and work in the city to meet the sector’s future demand for new employees.
  • A higher proportion of online conversations that occur in Dunedin are about culture and history than across New Zealand, accounting for 10% rather than 4% nationally.
  • Dunedin residents have reported a high level of satisfaction and visitation of key public arts and culture sites in the city.

A full copy of the report is available for download here.