Which cultural activities citizens of Serbia missed the most during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In one of the questions, in a survey study conducted as part of the INVENT project, we presented respondents with 15 activities associated with the domains of elite, popular and everyday culture and asked them to state how often they participated in these activities. The options were: almost daily, at least once per week, at least once per month, less than once per month and almost never. Taking those answers where respondents stated they participated in activity daily or at least once per week as a measure of frequent participation yielded the five favourite leisure-time activities in Serbia presented in Graph 1.  

Only one cultural activity, in the narrow sense of the word, featured among these most popular activities (reading books). In contrast, activities of outdoor cultural participation, for example, were rarely given as frequently practised activities (e.g. going to museums, visiting historical monuments or heritage sites 4.6%; attending opera, ballet and theatre productions 3.8%). On the other hand, engaging in amateur art and creative hobbies is somewhat more frequent (like playing a musical instrument and dance 7.8%; amateur painting, photography and theatre 7.6%; knitting, crocheting and pottery 8.2%).

Since the survey was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, which indisputably had a substantial impact on the respondents’ answers, we also asked them to state what they had missed the most during this period, the answers to which are provided in Graph 2.

One activity once again stood out among traditional activities of cultural participation – attending live concerts (for 13.1% of the respondents). However, even a cursory glance at these activities clearly shows their common denominator. Namely, the responses primarily show how sorely the respondents had missed socializing – the isolation and lockdown during the pandemic have thrown into sharp relief just how much people need to meet each other in public spaces, date, and exchange experiences.

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