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Dance Mapping

  • Date: 7 October 2008
  • Artform: Dance
  • Area: National

A window on dance, Arts Council England’s dance mapping report is the most significant compilation of evidenced-based dance research ever undertaken in this country. The report maps the dance ecology, economy and environment in England. It looks at the various market segments and identifies trends and patterns, challenges and opportunities for dance. The report focuses on the period 2004–2008 and is written by consultants Susanne Burns and Sue Harrison.

With the input of over 1,400 dance artists, companies and promoters working in England today, this research is for the field not only about it. It has sought to identify key facts and can now inform future direction and strategy.

You can download the full report and the separate executive summary.

The research process

The research for this report began in spring 2008 and was carried out in three stages:

  • stage one set out to identify what is already known about the state of the dance field by collating a broad range of existing research. Information about Arts Council England’s investment in dance was examined within the context of this research about the wider dance field
  • stage two comprised of primary research; plugging gaps that stage one brought to the fore. On-line surveys (advertised through dance networks) were carried out with the dance workforce, Local Authorities and venues
  • stage three tested the findings in consultation meetings with the dance sector. Four meetings were held around the country in spring 2009

What’s next?

The themes outlined in the report along with other areas for development will be discussed with the dance sector in early 2010 as part of the process of developing priorities for dance, within the overall context of Arts Council England’s new national arts strategy. We will also publish a companion think piece to the mapping report, Joining up the dots, which focuses on dance agencies. It is likely that we will produce similar think pieces on other areas of dance provision in the future.

We would like to hear your views on all of this work. You can email us at

Later on this year, our draft national arts strategy will go out for public consultation before we publish it in 2010.