Category Archives: News

First reflections

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Last week’s symposium, Reframing the cultural policy dialogue set a high bar. Our goal was to provide a forum for participants, in-person and online, to explore fresh perspectives around cultural policy development in Ontario and Canada and provide an enriched understanding of cultural policy development. We’re encouraged that the preliminary response of participants to the ideas and themes that emerged is positive.

At The Arts Advocate, we’re still synthesizing and reflecting on the outcomes of the symposium and will be writing on these more in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, a thanks and a shout-out to Susan Annis, Executive Director of the Cultural Human Resources Council who provided her perspective on Reframing the cultural policy dialogue in a blog post earlier this week.

Building a robust case for business investment in the arts, and the connection to public support

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The following post is by Nichole Anderson, President and CEO of Business for the Arts and one of the partners in this symposium.  She provides a perspective on corporate views of why they invest in the arts, and the connection of their support to public funding.  BfA research shows that 100% of large companies say that public investment in the arts is important, but only 23% say they would increase their support should there be cuts.

I was in Ottawa and Montreal this month to present Business for the Arts’ latest research on business investment in the arts, and in Winnipeg and Calgary last month, as part of a cross-country conversation with government and business around what it will take to build a robust case for business investment in the arts. The findings are a result of a study we commissioned from the Strategic Counsel to help us understand the level of engagement in the arts by Canadians, why they engage and what they value about the arts, as well as feedback from businesses in Canada on why they do or do not invest, what it would take to increase that investment and how they value public sector funding as part of funding mix. Read More

The cultural policy disconnect

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Response from policy makers and cultural leaders to the upcoming symposium, Reframing the cultural policy dialogue, has been strong. With a sold-out in-person audience, and a growing list of live-stream registrants, this event appears to be timely for the sector.

How do average Canadians feel about cultural policy though?

A recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute gauged Canadians’ attitudes to our culture. In their words, “most consider Canadian culture to be unique, worthy of, and critically in need of protection to survive.” Seventy percent of Canadians say that Canada still needs specific protection policies and support from government for Canadian culture to survive.

Why then is cultural policy rarely on the public radar, let alone debated?

In a 2011 Nanos poll conducted for The Arts Advocate, respondents were asked how important a party’s arts and culture platform was to their vote.: Only one in ten Canadians said it was important. Five in ten Canadians said it was neither important or unimportant, while fully four in ten Canadians said it was unimportant. There is no reason to believe these numbers would have changed much.

When you contemplate the implications of these unique surveys together, it’s clear why decision-makers will say that support for culture is a mile wide and an inch deep.

How does the cultural sector change this? Our goal is that Reframing the cultural policy dialogue will explore some options in this regard.

Reframing the cultural policy dialogue : Why now?

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In June, The Arts Advocate and its partners are presenting Reframing the cultural policy dialogue. Why now? Why is this important?

Canada’s $50 billion cultural sector is one of the strongest, most diverse in the world. In Ontario alone, the cultural sector contributes $22 billion to provincial GDP. It creates jobs, accounting for 671,000 jobs across the country, or in Ontario, 4.2% of total employment.

Our sector has a significant impact on our country’s overall well-being. Cultural decision-makers like Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover and Ontario Culture Minister Michael Coteau acknowledge these contributions. The reality remains though that the cultural sector still doesn’t have a seat at the table where the big decisions are made. This was evident in both the federal and provincial budgets released last week: mention of arts, heritage and creative industries was minimal and buried in these key policy documents. Read More