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Lancashire Times
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4:00 AM 31st July 2021
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Art Galleries, Museums And Exhibitions Remain Empty Despite Lockdown Easing

93% of Brits say they have not been to an art gallery or exhibition in the past three months
27% of the country feels that the arts and creative industries have little importance to the country’s economy
In addition, more than half of the country’s population believe that British museums should permanently return artifacts to their country of origin

British Museum - Photo by Erin Doering on Unsplash
British Museum - Photo by Erin Doering on Unsplash
The UK’s arts and creative industries continue to suffer despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, a recent study by Design Bundles shows.

Though popular attractions such as the British Museum have been reopening to the public since March of this year, the majority of Brits – 93% - say that they have not visited an art gallery, museum or exhibition over the past three months, according to YouGov research.

London is home to approximately 250 registered art institutions, so a reluctance to return to cultural hotspots may be due to hesitancy to use public transport such as buses and the tube in the wake of COVID-19.

More than half of Londoners - 53% - have expressed concerns about using the tube, with 48% also voicing health concerns around using London’s buses.

There may be other factors at play, with more than a quarter of Brits indicating that they do not feel that the arts and creative industries – defined as including performing and creative arts, writers, museums and libraries – are important to the British economy.

In 2019 arts and culture contributed £10.47 billion to the UK economy – which corresponds to 0.5% of total UK economic output. There were an estimated 226,000 jobs in the arts and culture sector in 2019, 40% of which were based in London.


In addition, more than half of the country’s population believe that British museums should permanently return artifacts to their country of origin.

Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash
Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash
Attendance to public attractions, exhibitions and galleries may be set to improve, however, following the recent lifting of various social restrictions.

British Museum attendance has previously been capped at 3,000 people per day, with the establishment maintaining safety measures such as hand gel stations, one-way systems and certain galleries – 33 in total - remaining closed due to ventilation concerns. Certain restrictions have been lifted as of 19th July (such as the one-way systems), but the museum is still asking attendees to book in advance and adhere to track-and-trace.

Despite the apparent reluctance of Brits to return to museums and galleries, the museum has continued to hold special events and exhibitions, such as their current headline exhibition, “Thomas Becket, Murder And The Making Of A Saint”.

A representative of Design Bundles said:
“There has been an understandable reluctance to return to our country’s artistic and cultural attractions”.

“One hopes that recent announcements from the government will encourage people to begin to cautiously resume their daily lives, and return to our country’s cultural hotspots. The creative industries are a vital part of the public’s leisure time and social interactions.”


The research was conducted by Design Bundles, which offers high quality premium design resources and a marketplace which allows graphic designers to register and sell their products. https://designbundles.net/