European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Kille som spelar fiol/boy playing the violin. Source: Colourbox.com.

What do YOU do in your spare time?

Young people in Sweden aren’t just consumers of culture; a large majority of them are actors, performers, writers, and artists. But there are differences between young women and young men in terms of what is funded by the government.

The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs has analyzed what young people do in their spare time and what they think about it in the report “The When Where How  of Youth Culture”.

 

Almost 70% of young people between 13 and 25 has been engaged in art, music, creative writing, dance or theatre in the last 12 months. Art is the most common activity, followed by music and writing. Apart from these activities, almost half of all young people have done arts and crafts or woodwork. Apart from music, all of these activities are more often done by girls.

 

Government funding for the boys

According to the official policy for culture, children and young people should be a prioritized group, but it’s difficult to see how this is actually realized. The largest arenas that receive public funding are music schools, open meeting places and so-called associations. Within these, music is by far the most common activity and most often, young men are in the majority. Other activities like art, handicraft and creative writing are hugely popular but receive far less public support. This means that the public funding doesn’t actually match what young people do. The activities that receive the most support are those that are mostly done by boys.

 

Everyone should have a right to culture, no matter what your family does or where you grow up. So culture should be open to everyone, regardless of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnic/socioeconomic/religious background. But this is not the case today. Where and how people can start doing a cultural activity is still not equal. 

 

Text: Anette Persson