How do you answer this question:
Have you visited a museum or art gallery in the local area at least once in the preceding 12 months?
Using official government data from data.gov.uk The Flaneur has plotted a cultural map of the country. People were asked if they had visited a museum or gallery in the local area in the last 12 months. The answers ranged from 82% in Camden to 37% in Torbay, Barking & Dagenham. The full list of counties and boroughs is below so that you can browse the data for your own area.
But does this data really tell us anything? Is once in twelve months enough to merit a tick in the cultural life box? If you only watched TV once a year you would be regarded as someone who didn’t watch TV. You could go into a museum once a year just to buy something from the gift-shop for a Mummy-obsessed nephew.
Red = 77 to 88% Yellow = 66 to 77% Blue = 55 to 66% Purple = 44 to 55% Green = 33 to 44%
The only places with a 67% or higher positive answer are London boroughs. Does it just tell us that there are more museums and galleries in London that there are anywhere else? How do we know that the people who eschew their nearby museums aren’t great supporters of galleries in some other town?
To make anything from these statistics we are expected to assume that people only visit nearby museums and galleries. If that is the case then out of 162 regions there are 49 where half the people had not visited a museum or a gallery in the preceding 12 months. That is 30% of the population of England!
However, for all we actually know everyone in low ranking places like Torbay, though finding their local galleries resistible are spending their every weekend racing to London to visit the Estorick collection.
Statistics, eh? Someone should coin a phrase about their relationship to lies. It all comes down to the question asked, and no analysis of the resulting data can change that.
|County or borough||%|
|Kensington & Chelsea||78|
|Richmond upon Thames||78|
|Hammersmith & Fulham||72|
|Kingston upon Thames||62|
|Brighton & Hove UA||62|
|Isles of Scilly||61|
|City of London||59|
|Cheshire West and Chester||57|
|Windsor & Maidenhead UA||57|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||56|
|Bath & North East Somerset||56|
|Kingston upon Hull||54|
|East Riding of Yorkshire UA||53|
|West Berkshire UA||52|
|Redcar & Cleveland UA||52|
|North Somerset UA||51|
|South Gloucestershire UA||51|
|Bracknell Forest UA||48|
|North Lincolnshire UA||46|
|Telford & Wrekin UA||46|
|Milton Keynes UA||44|
|Blackburn with Darwen UA||43|
|Isle of Wight UA||43|
|North East Lincolnshire UA||40|
|Barking & Dagenham||37|
Data from the latest government survey of 2009