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Low levels of Awareness and Attendance Characterize Creative Arts Events

Abuja, Nigeria. March 3rd, 2015 – A survey commissioned by British Council and conducted by NOIPolls Limited revealed a low level of awareness of creative sector events by Nigerians (both on-going and future) (45 percent), while attendance to such events is even lower (23 percent). The survey results further revealed that most Nigerians (50 percent) learn about events in the sector through word-of-mouth; and given that referrals can only be useful if people attend these events, there is need to by several means, increase attendance at these events. Organizers may need to employ methods such as increased media adverts, reduced cost/barrier of entry, free giveaways, etc. to boost attendance.

More findings from the survey revealed that the majority of the respondents (80 percent) watch movies and listen to music (88 percent); showing more preference for Nollywood movies and Gospel music. An assessment on the use of the internet revealed that over two-thirds (71 percent) of adult Nigerians in the target locations personally use the internet; where most of the respondents mainly use the internet for browsing (77 percent), social media (73 percent), and to check emails (52 percent). The most prevalent means of accessing the internet is through mobile phones (90 percent) and personal computers (40 percent); thus, digital platforms prove to be a viable means of advertising and creating awareness especially for events and organizations in the Creative Industry.

Finally, the use of appropriate art work/displays in public spaces plays an important role in adding social value to a community. About a third of adult Nigerians in the target locations; Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Calabar, disclosed that public spaces are used for creative sector, sports, and religious activities respectively. However, about 1 in 5 respondents disclosed that public spaces are not used for anything, while 1 in 2 respondents (47 percent) revealed that they would like to see more creative sector activities in public spaces in their neighborhoods.

Brief Background

The culture in Nigeria is well demonstrated through the art works produced indigenously. The Nok culture believed to be one of the ancient human settlements in Nigeria produced art that depicted life of the people in this region.[1]The terracotta figures produced – which are characteristic of the Nok culture – flourished from 500 B.C. to 200 A.D.[2] Other art works which became iconic and prominent Nigerian art works include: the Igbo-Ukwu bronzes, metal works of Ile-Ife, wood carvings from Benin and Awka, pottery from Imo and Niger states, to mention but a few.

Besides art works, Nigeria has also gained prominence with her literary works including works from authors such as Ben Okri, Niyi Osundare, chimamanda adichi, Chinua Achebe, and the first African Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka. However, art was not introduced formally into tertiary level curriculum until 1922, which was due to numerous efforts spanning several decades from artists like Aina Onabolu. Several years later art in Nigeria would gain more relevance resulting in the creation of the position of art adviser to the President.

Several universities such as the University of Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University, and Yaba College of Technology among others helped showcase the image of art with the prolific works of many iconic critics.[3] However over time, art programs in the formal education sector has undergone numerous challenges ranging from merging Art Departments under the Faculty of Environment Sciences and taking a more “scientific” approach to art which is more of a humanistic study, to the dwindling number of art students in universities across the country.

Against this background, NOIPolls conducted the survey on the creative industry in Nigeria on behalf of British Council to assess the nature and behavior of art audiences, the consumption patterns of creative sector products by Nigerians and other such trends.

Key Findings

When Nigerians in the target locations were asked if they have attended any creative sector events or programs in recent times, only 23 percent acknowledged they had attended such events. The majority (77 percent) indicated they have not. A greater proportion of females (81 percent) than males (74 percent) indicated they have not attended creative sector events or programs before.

Of the proportion who disclosed that they have attended a creative sector event, the majority (45 percent) acknowledged attendance to music events or shows. This was followed by those who have attended an event in Theatre (19 percent), Fashion (17 percent) and Film (16 percent). It is also worth noting that this was a multiple response question, meaning that respondents were allowed to select more than one option to the question. Interestingly, the larger share of Calabar residents (45 percent) revealed they have attended a carnival before. This may be due to the Calabar Carnival dubbed “Africa’s biggest street party” which holds yearly every December in Calabar.

In addition, at least one in two (50 percent) respondents who have attended an event or program claimed they heard of it by word-of-mouth, indicating that word-of-mouth is the most prevalent way Nigerians who have attended creative sector events heard of such events. Television and Radio were the next two most prevalent means by which people in the target location heard of events in the creative sector, with 37 percent and 20 percent of the population respectively.

When respondents were asked if they watch films/movies, an overwhelming majority (80 percent) of indicated they watch films/movies. However, when the results were analysed be age group, 66 percent of respondents aged 46-60, and 43 percent of respondents aged over 60 years of age acknowledged that they watch movies.

Further analysis revealed that most respondents 68 percent in the target locations watch Nollywood movies, followed by 50 percent who mentioned they watch Hollywood movies, 26 percent indicated they watch Kannywood movies, and 19 percent mentioned they watch Bollywood movies among others.

Furthermore, respondents were asked if they listened to music and findings revealed that more than 8 in 10 respondents (88 percent) in the locations where the surveys were administered acknowledged that they listen to music. However, only 58 percent of respondents over 60 years of age indicated they listen to music. When asked what kind of music they listened to, 58 percent of respondents mentioned Gospel, 37 percent indicated Hip Hop, 17 percent mentioned Rythmn and Blues, and 17 percent mentioned Tribal music among others.

Analysis based on geopolitical zones revealed that while residents in Calabar, Lagos and Abuja have higher preference for gospel music, residents of Kano have a higher preference for ‘Tribal music’ (45 percent)

In addition, when respondents living in the target locations were asked whether they personally use the internet, 71 percent of them acknowledged that they do. However, only 18 percent of respondents aged 61 and over indicated they personally use the internet. This was the lowest proportion across the age group analysis.

Again, from the proportion that revealed they personally use the internet, 77 percent indicated they use it for browsing, 73 percent for social media, and 52 percent for emails. Browsing, Social media, and Emails were the three most prevalent reasons people cited for using the internet.

To assess the level of knowledge on the use of public spaces , respondents were asked how public spaces were used in the neighborhood where they live and results revealed that the largest proportion (39 percent) indicated public spaces were used for creative sector activities. This was followed by 37 percent who mentioned sports, and 30 percent who indicated religious activity. In addition, 20 percent of respondents mentioned that public spaces in their neighborhoods are not used for anything.

Respondents were further asked, “What kinds of events do you mostly attend in public spaces in your neighborhood?” 28 percent mentioned creative sector activities, followed by 24 percent who said religious activities. 24 percent of respondents disclosed they do not attend events in public spaces in their neighborhoods, while 19 percent indicated they attend sporting events among others events.

When the population who indicated they do not attend events in public spaces in their neighborhoods was further analyzed, it was found that a larger proportion of females (30 percent) than males (18 percent) comprised the group. Also a significant proportion of 18-21 year olds (40 percent) and over 61 year olds (42 percent) indicated they do not attend event in public spaces in their neighborhoods. These were the largest proportions by age group.

In conclusion survey results show that awareness of creative sector events is low, and attendance is even lower. Most Nigerians learn about creative sector events by word-of-mouth, therefore attendance at these events need to be increased if word-of-mouth referrals are to increase. Innovative avenues such as reducing the cost of entry, increasing media adverts, free giveaways at events, etc. should be explored.

Also advertising through social media proves to have a wide outreach especially among young adult Nigerians. This medium has the advantage of providing persuasive textual information such as graphics, pictures, images, etc. which other mediums like word-of-mouth, and radio cannot provide, which should be explored some more as internet usage in Nigeria is about two-thirds.

Lastly, some art works produced locally such as Kannywood (Kano) and Yollywood (Yoruba) movies seem to be consumed more in the regions where they are produced. Measures of cultural cross-overs such as providing subtitles, using multi-lingual actors from other regions, etc. would increase the buy-in and interest of Nigerians from outside these regions, thus encouraging cultural cross-over.

Survey Methods

A total of 1,000 adult respondents were randomly selected from a pool of phone-owning Nigerians and interviewed over the telephone for this survey. For the telephone surveys, the sample size was proportionately stratified by gender and age to represent actual population distribution resident in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Calabar. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA) to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited and authorised for release by British Council on the NOIPolls media platform to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document.

The British Council was established in 1934 and has been in Nigeria since 1943. It currently operates from offices in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port-Harcourt and continues to engage in cultural relations work, building links between citizens of the United Kingdom and Nigeria. Its activities are delivered through Arts, Education, English and Society business units as well as a thriving exams unit providing opportunities for thousands of Nigeria to acquire globally recognised qualifications.

Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] Art and Culture of Nigeria.

[2] Nigeria arts and culture tourism. Come to Nigeria.

[3] A Brief History of Art. 2011.


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