Growing demand for integrating culture and arts into conferences and events


Three quarters (77%) of event planners have incorporated elements of culture and the arts into their conferences or events, with one in five (20%) of them integrating these elements either significantly or completely, according to a new survey from the UK.

The Barbican Business Events survey of corporate, association and agency clients across Europe, the UK and the US shows for those event planners who already incorporate culture and the arts 67 per cent have featured cultural or artistic performances, 31 per cent have run cultural or artistic activities alongside their events and 29 per cent have embedded cultural or artistic themes.

A quarter (24%) have utilised arts professionals to enhance creativity or have included arts professionals as guest speakers. One in three (31%) have incorporated workshops involving the arts and 11 per cent have engaged arts professionals to improve delivery.

The respondents also cited multiple benefits for integrating arts and culture with 63 per cent believing it enhanced the event’s overall appeal and 61 per cent noting an increase in attendee engagement. More than half (56%) aligned their events with the destination or venue’s cultural aspects.

A further 37 per cent aimed to attract a more diverse audience, a quarter (26%) found it improved knowledge retention, 22 per cent used it as a differentiator from competitors and one in three (33%) conveyed specific messages or themes through the arts.

Additionally, 61 per cent of respondents observed that including cultural content led to an increase in registrations, with 9 per cent noting a significant increase in registrations.

Looking ahead, 89 per cent of the respondents expect to incorporate arts and culture into their future events.

“It’s truly inspiring to see the depth and creativity with which culture and the arts are being integrated into events and conferences,” said Jackie Boughton, Barbican’s director of commercial.

“These elements are not merely additions, they transform events into vibrant, immersive experiences that engage and inspire attendees.”

“By embracing arts and culture in their events, organisations are not only enhancing the attendee experience but are also tapping into the profound impact that creativity has on communication and learning.”