Engaging millennials

by Rachael Inch

The momentum to engage with millennials is growing.

More often we are seeing politicians working to attract younger voters, companies marketing to a younger demographic, and in the creative sector, art establishments are looking at increasing engagement with a younger audience.

The decline in numbers of volunteers is real as they are not being replaced by the new rising generation of people.

So I often ask myself, what is contributing to this decline and what are the barriers that prevent engagement and participation?

A recent Creative New Zealand study, found the main barrier to greater involvement in the arts for millennials continues to be a lack of time, followed by affordability, then doubting their creative ability.

The number of people attending live arts events as a result of engaging online has decreased yet there has been increase in the proportion of people who have booked a ticket online, with more than 43% of people having done so in the past 12 months.

In today’s society, smartphones are a necessity and tech driven social connectedness brings an endless stream of distractions. Like it or not, we are a throwaway culture where everything has an expiry date and we can have anything we want at low cost or for free at the push of a button.

Financial pressures, a changing job market and different priorities have contributed to the unpredictability of this generation which means it’s difficult for people to make plans and keep them.

We are now faced with a movement of people who are ‘culturalpreneurs’ — those who have moved away from governance and hierarchical systems to a more collaborative approach.

In order to break down barriers we need to open the door for people by acting as a ‘campfire’ by placing a stronger focus on connection with people from all walks of life. Not just those interested in the creative sector but naturally curious people who are focussed on increasing their social networks.

These are the people we want to join us in conversations.

Millennials are stepping into leadership roles nationwide.

The work we do now to minimise barriers to arts engagement and the more we support them will ensure that Selwyn is the best to live, work and play in.