The Power of Youth Arts – Research Guide



A resource by Patternmakers and ATYP

What do we know?
  • Human beings are drawn to arts and culture for entertainment, information, fun and vibrancy in our lives.
  • There is a growing body of evidence proving arts have powerful social, educational and health benefits for individuals, communities and civic society.
  • The research shows there are important applications throughout our lifespan, impacting  everything from early childhood education and aged care, to intergenerational bonding.
  • For young people in particular, arts have a special power. However, the evidence detailed in research is not well known, even amongst those working in the industry.
  • The evidence needs to be consolidated and shared so that arts can be included in the planning and delivery of programs that impact Australian lives across areas including health, mental health, education, youth justice, civic engagement, disaster recovery and community building … and of course, in arts funding itself.

Things we know about young people and arts, supported by the research literature:

Why was it created?
  • For decades, academics in Australia and around the world have conducted rigorous peer-assessed research, identifying and quantifying the benefits of arts participation.
  • The majority of this evidence is published in academic journals, conference papers and government websites that are not accessed by the industry, Government or advocates.
  • This document is designed to highlight some of the striking insights from the existing research and case studies so that they are clear, concise and easily communicated.
  • Individuals, companies and organisations with an interest in the wellbeing of young people are encouraged to use this resource in making their case for the inclusion of arts in all youth engagement activities.
How should it be used?
  • This guide will help you navigate your way around different studies and sources, so you can find what’s relevant to you, whether you’re a policy-maker, arts practitioner or parent.
  • We hope this guide will be used as a point of connection with the existing body of research. It is not intended to be exhaustive, rather highlight what stands out from some of the highest quality, most relevant studies.
  • We hope you will follow the links, read the studies, examine their strengths and limitations, and understand how they relate to you and your work.
  • Ultimately, we want to shine a light on the robust evidence for youth participation in arts in the hope that young people across Australia will benefit as a result.


Read the full report to see the full findings and case studies with Bangarra Dance Theatre, Jopuka, and Gravity and Other Myths.

Or click here to download a bite-sized summary of the report.