8.1 General context
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Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation
According to the Cultural Consumption Barometer 2017, conducted by the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training, the cultural infrastructure in Romania included in 2017: 10 111 libraries, 431 museums and public collections, 90 cinemas with a total number of 13 887 470 spectators in 2017, compared to 8 348 538 spectators in 2012 in 81 cinemas, 174 performing arts and concert institutions and companies, 5319 historical monuments, 818 historical ensembles, 738 historical sites. The number of cultural infrastructure objectives is constant, varying with less than 10% in between 2012 and 2017 (the period considered by the Cultural Consumption Barometer 2017 for comparisons), with the exception of a significant increase in the number of cinematographers and film spectators.
During the COVID-19 pandemic young people (18-35 years old) are the age group that consumed most ‘non-public cultural products’, compared to other age groups. The ‘non-public cultural consumption’ included: listening to music, reading books, watching movies on streaming platforms, playing video and computer games, according to the report on the cultural consumption during the pandemic, published in 2021.
According to the same Cultural Consumption Barometer 2016, in the general population, 77% of the Romanians have a low level of cultural engagement, for 19% of them this level is medium, 3% have a high level of engagement and only 1% have a very high level of cultural engagement. The Barometer is conducted only on adults (over 18), but it shows a higher level of cultural engagement (cultural participation) among young people. Young people under 30 are most active and participate most often in culture (80% out of the 1% of the population with a very high level of cultural are under 30 years old, and all are under 40 years old; within the 3% with a high cultural engagement, 43% are under 30 years old).
However, the Cultural Consumption Barometer 2016 and the Cultural Consumption Barometer 2017 don’t use ages categories that could allow us present statistics for the total youth population as defined by the Youth Law (from 14 to 35 years old), as the survey only included adults (over 18) and data analysis have been made for the following age groups: 18-24 years old, 25-29 years old, 30-39 years old, 40-49 years old, 50-64 years old, over 65 years old. Moreover, due to different age groups and indicators used, there is no possibility to compare the results of the Cultural Consumption Barometer 2016 with the ones in 2015, 2014, 2012 or 2010. The same Cultural Consumption Barometer 2016 reports that 70% of the young people under 25 years old, 60% of the young people under 30 and 58% of the people under 40 attended at least once a music or entertainment show during the previous year (2015).
The Cultural Consumption Barometer 2016 created clusters of culture consumers. According to this research, one can identify 2 clusters of young culture consumers, socio-demographic factors being the main factors influencing the consume of culture among young people:
- Young people from cities and rural areas, with medium education, (pop) music-oriented, living in household that are well-connected to telecommunications networks (79% of this cluster’s members have an Internet connection at home), including large segments of population who possess objects incorporating smart technologies (smartphone – 75%, tablet – 36%) and pieces of equipment that allow the Internet access (62% have a computer, 55% have a laptop). 50% of these young people have less than 20 books at home, but 26% have more than 50 books at home. 11% of the young people in this category are going to cinema, 71% are listening to music, 67% are watching movies.
- Young people from urban areas, with medium or high education, living in households with many objects, with a diverse and substantial consumption of culture, leaving in household connected to the internet (99%) and owning smartphones (90%), computers (80%), laptops (75%), tablets (73%). 24% among these young people possess up to 500 books, 26% up to 100 books, 23% up to 50 books at home.
The main trends in the field of cultural consumption are explored via specific sections of the European Commission’s Eurobarometer. According to the latest studies conducted at European level in 2016, a higher degree of cultural consumption can be noticed among youngsters between 25-34 years old. Romania appears among the counties with the lowest values regarding the population’s engagement in cultural activities. According to the previously mentioned source, the types of activities that recorded a significant decrease of participation are: visiting museums or historical places, reading in public libraries, participation in theatre, ballet or opera performances, participation in music performances. Although generally the lack of time and lack of interest were the most frequently mentioned reasons, Romania stood out through the high frequency of answers mentioning the high cost of participation and particularly the limited choice or the poor quality of the cultural products’ contents.
According to the Youth Barometer 2016 over 49% of the Romanian young people are visiting historical monuments or sites at least a couple of times on a year, 43% are visiting museums and 29% participate in cultural events. According to the Youth Barometer 2014 over 53% of the Romanian young people are going to cinema at least a couple of times on a year, 51% attend musical concerts.
According to the Culture statistics 2016 of the Eurostat, 5.3% of the total number of businesses in Romania is considered cultural enterprises. They had a total revenue of 1,360 million euro in 2013, with over 8% lower than in 2008 for their cultural services.
There are no specific concepts for the creativity and culture fields in Romania, however an important note has to be made related to cultural policies, programmes and initiatives dedicated to young people in Romania. With few exceptions, including the initiatives of the Students Cultural Centres and the programs dedicated to young creators, most of the programmes and projects targeting the young cultural public target both children and young people, without discrimination. Therefore, most of the initiatives promoting culture and cultural participation, social inclusion through culture or non-formal education in cultural fields target children and young people alike and the lack of monitoring and evaluation of these initiatives makes the estimation of the impact of these initiatives among young people impossible.