You are on page 1of 40


Canadian Dance Assembly, CPAMO and the Aga
KhanMuseum: Step in Time – Technologies
and Pluralism in Dance


Introduction 3

Background 3

The Conference 6

The Workshops 7

Actions Needed 17

Appendix 19


In collaboration with Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) and the Aga
Khan Museum, the Canadian Dance Assembly (CDA) held its 6th National Conference
October 20-22, 2012in Ottawa.This was a gathering with the dance community to dialogue,
build community, gain new insights, and help shape the future of dance in Canada with a focus
on pluralism and new technologies used in dance creation, performance and promotion.

CDA's National conference was inspired by the intersection of pluralism and technology in a
rapidly changing environment. It featured panel discussions, keynote speakers, workshops on
video, and new modern applications in dance in an innovative forum. In conjunction with this
year's conference, the CDA recognized and celebrated exceptional members of the dance
milieu with Canada’s first National Dance Awards –theI love dance/J’aime la danse

In preparing for this conference, CPAMO with the full involvement of CDA applied to the
Ontario Arts Council’s ASO Project Grants as Lead Applicant. The purpose of this application
was to enable CPAMO and the CDA to work as partners on building interest in and enabling
artists of Aboriginal and diverse backgrounds to contribute to and participate in the
Conference. Because of its expertise in pluralism, CPAMO agreed to develop and provide
guidelines on pluralism/diversity to the CDA which showed significant interest within its
members for this project. In this context, CPAMO and CDA were the project collaborators and
have been active participants in developing, promoting and coordinating this Conference.

In terms of accountability, the project called for the development of a final report documenting
the process and making it available in diverse formats for distribution and use. This report has
been developed by the CPAMO Project Lead and reviewed by CDA’s Executive Director and
Board of Directors. The report will then be distributed to all funders as well as to the CDA
Board of Directors. It will also be communicated to CPAMO’s list-serve membership of over
300 individuals.


CPAMO’s Project Lead and the CDA Executive Director began working together in the spring
2012 with the coordination and launch of the CDA National Dance Week and “I Love Dance”
Campaign. Held at the National Ballet School, the dance performances – Carlos Martinez
(Red Sky Performance), Olga Barrios (Olga Barrios Dance) and Kevin A. Ormsby and Gaby
Parsons (KasheDance) – were all by CPAMO members and selected for their excellence in
dance and the visual evidence of pluralism each brings to her/his work. Further, both
CPAMO’s Project Lead and the CDA Executive Director were able to bring greetings to those
gathered for this event.

Following this launch, CPAMO’s Project Lead began to review literature gathered for the
publication of Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Gonna Come which he edited
and had released in June 2012 at the annual meeting of Community Cultural Impresarios in
Ottawa. This contributed to identifying appropriate themes for conducting interviews and focus

groups and to selecting case studies that addressed organizational commitment and methods
of engaging diverse artists/communities in decision-making. The case studies are discussed
below in the section addressing the two workshops that featured CPAMO’s Project Lead.

In the summer, CPAMO’s Project Lead convened two focus groups with a total of 12
individuals and 10 individual telephone interviews. The focus groups were held in Toronto and
the telephone interviews included dance artists from the Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec,
Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. These dance artists were
from various communities, including: South Asian, Aboriginal, Asian and African descent,
Latino and European and were involved in small-to-medium sized dance companies.

The focus groups were for approximately 1.5 hours and each interview was for 30-45 minutes.
Both information-gathering methods probed the same set of questions that were:

1) Are you a member of the CDA? If so, what benefits do you receive or would like to
receive as a member? How active are you in the CDA?
2) If you are not a CDA member, why not?
3) Are you familiar with the CDA’s structure and other members?
4) Are you familiar with the CDA’s activities?
5) Do the CDA activities address your needs?
6) Are there any past experiences that have influenced you about your relationship with
the CDA?
7) What do you think the CDA needs to do to include Aboriginal and
racially/culturally/regionally diverse dance artists in meaningful ways? Would you be
active in the CDA if it were to move in this direction?

The responses to these questions were recorded and synthesized to assist in developing
workshops for the CDA Conference. Despite the diversity of these artists and the forms they
practice, they shared several common concerns regarding their thoughts, feelings and
concerns about the CDA. Key amongst there were:

 there was little knowledge of the activities of the CDA and a strong perception that the
CDA was not interested in addressing the concerns and needs of dance artists from
diverse communities;
 the CDA needs to develop an appreciation for the dance forms of artists from diverse
communities and expand the notion of what is contemporary to include these forms. In
expanding the notion of the contemporary, a revised focus would need to deconstruct
the Eurocentric framework that defines the ‘contemporary’ and build in the exploration
of what is considered ‘traditional’ as part of the aesthetic expression of many diverse
dance artists;
 there are significant resource issues that limit the development of several artists and
dance companies from diverse communities. Access to funding and performance
opportunities limits the capacity of artists and companies to rehearse, develop new
work, engage with presenters and communities, and build audiences;
 the CDA structure is not conducive to receiving input from diverse dance artists and
companies. The CDA standing council’s are not set up to discuss diversity issues and
seem uninterested in the conversation on pluralism;

 there were several dance artists/companies that were not and did not want to be part of
the CDA because of past experiences with the CDA. Such experiences had a negative
impact on these artists/companies and made them feel unwelcome and imparted the
sense that their practice was not important or valuable;
 several artists commented that they were not aware whether they were members of the
CDA or not while others felt that they were located in an inappropriate council inside the
 some artists felt that the CDA operates out of the Ontario/Quebec ecology and, without
appropriate consultation, takes the strategies developed in this context and forces them
on to eastern, western and rural dance communities. Some cited the National Dance
Week as an example of this;
 most artists were not familiar with the CDA history, how it came to be, what its efforts
were in the past, what its structure and activities are;
 dance artists from the west, east and rural communities articulated that there needs to
be a way for the CDA to hear their concerns and interests without them being mediated
through the current CDA standing council structure;
 several were concerned that the CDA standing council structure may duplicate other
dance forums/structures. For example, the CDA has a standing council on presenters
and one on dance artists while there is both the CanDance network for the former and
the Canadian Association of Dance Artists for the latter. Concerns were expressed
regarding this apparent duplication and the reasons for it. The question “Why does the
CDA need these standing councils when these other structures exist? What is the
benefit to dance?”
 the CDA needs to get involved in promoting and educating regarding the diversity of
dance forms, artists, traditions and notions of the contemporary from a pluralistic
 the CDA needs to get involved in supporting networking amongst dance artists to
discuss issues related to pluralism and diversity in definition and artistic form;
 the CDA needs to learn about and promote the values of cultural competence as a way
of looking at pluralism in dance practice;
 while the National Dance Campaign is an effective way of raising the profile of dance, it
must begin to shift to advocacy regarding needs within the dance ecology, particularly
to address the needs of Aboriginal and racially/culturally diverse dance artists and
 advocacy is a key role for the CDA to play in the arts communities and dance
artists/companies of Aboriginal and racially/culturally/regionally diverse backgrounds
need to be at the forefront of concerns being advocated by the CDA;
 many were concerned about the CDA’s focus on new technologies as a creative part of
dance. These artists were concerned about the costs of this technology and the time
they would need to learn how to use it well;
 organizational membership is probably best done by size as opposed to discipline since
some small organizations are in the same standing council as much larger dance
companies and have very little in common other than discipline;
 many dance companies need to grow to better sustain themselves. In an environment
of restraint, this is difficult to do so the CDA should address this as part of its advocacy;
 in addressing pluralism/diversity in dance, the CDA will need to be clear about its
definitions so that it has a precise focus on what and who it wants to address and

 several found the CDA’s services to be out of touch with the needs of Aboriginal and
racially/culturally/regionally diverse artists and this needs to be addressed immediately
if the CDA is to be relevant;
 the issue of accountability to diverse dance artists and companies needs to be
addressed. The CDA needs better ways to communicate with these artists; and
 a key issue for the CDA to begin advocating about is the relative inequity in funding for
Aboriginal and racially/culturally diverse artists and dance companies.

The Conference:

There were two keynote addresses at this conference presented by Douglas Rosenberg
"Witnessing Dance: Mediation and the Technologies of Representation" and Sashar Zarif
“Dialectic Movement.

Rosenberg addressed how we look, how we discuss, how we circulate and inscribe images of
dancing bodies in a pluralistic world. Presenting ideas in a relational framework, Rosenberg
situated dance within a larger conversation, as a discipline within a system of discourse,
signifiers and conversations about mark-making, presence, bearing witness to a particular kind
of humanness that has the potential to speak about both democracy and egalitarianism even
as it conforms to contemporary esthetics. The technologies of representation (as they relate to
dance) are inextricably linked to access: to the tools of media, to who controls how the results
of media/dance collaborations circulate in the culture and most importantly how the
technologies of representation, (film, video, moving image production) reinforce ideas about
women, race, disability, beauty, and such. When dance artists translate their choreographic
ideas from stage to screen, often the result is that the screen version repeats unhealthy and
damaging tropes that are antithetical to inclusion, democracy, and egalitarianism. This talk
suggested models to re-articulate the possibilities of technology and dance and to create
opportunities for creative and critical discourse in our dance communities that focus on the
human condition.

As a multi-disciplinary performing artist, educator and researcher whose artistic practice invites
a convergence of creative and cultural perspectives, Zarif’s interests are identity, globalization
and cross-cultural collaborations. His practice is steeped in the artistry and history of traditional,
ritualistic and contemporary dance and music of the Near Eastern and Central Asian regions.
He is a research associate at the York University Centre for Asian Studies, a sessional faculty
member of York University's Dance Department and on the board of directors of Dance Ontario
and the World Dance Alliance - Americas. Hiskeynote discussed the intersections between
cultures, migration and globalization.

In addition to these keynote presentation, the conference convened a number of panel
discussions that are pertinent to this paper. These were the panels addressing:

1) Changing demographics in dance - The successful practice of artistic pluralism.
Moderated by Warren Garrett Speakers: Charles C. Smith, Amirali Alibhai, Michele
Moss, Lata Pada, Zab Maboungou, this panel addressed successful practices of artistic
pluralism in regard to cross-cultural respect, dialogue, and understanding. The arts
demonstrate and manifest the potential of thinking and creating together across
differences. In times of changing demographics, considering the integration of new
cultures within the Canadian mainstream, this panel discussed how we can adapt to
current increasing changes, the intersection between artists from different origins mean.
It also discussed: what are the questions that need to be addressed in order to attract
people coming from different backgrounds, and what are the obstacles, challenges and
success stories related to this topic.

CPAMO’s Project Lead, Charles C. Smith, provided a written text for his presentation
that set the stage for the other presenters. Smith’s text looked at the demographics of
the dance community in comparison with other demographic data regarding Canadian
society. This presentation was critical to setting the context for both this panel and for
the CDA conference. It is attached to this report as Appendix 1.

2) Innovation Forum I: "Dance From Stage to Screen: Five Journeys, Five Stories".
Moderator: Douglas Rosenberg | Speakers: Priscilla Guy, Paulina Ruiz Carballido,
JoDee Allen, Izabel Barsive, Olga Barrios. The five artists shared their journeys through
the life of a lens and discussed how dance artists use new technologies as a
component of their work; how they approach this form of expression and performance
from behind the screen, how it alters the experience, why have they chosen to work this
way, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this digital age?

As well, the conference convened two workshops led by CPAMO’s Project Lead and entitled
Policies to Promote Pluralism in Dance Organizations and Governance Models to
Support Pluralism in Dance Organizations.

Conference Workshops:

On Sunday, October 21, 2012, CPAMO’s Project Lead led two workshops at the CDA
Conference. Entitled Policies to Promote Pluralism in Dance Organizations and
Governance Models to Support Pluralism in Dance Organizations
 these workshops were
structured to address the research noted above.

In particular:

1) Policies to Promote Pluralism in Dance Organizations focused on the current
circumstance where many arts organizations across Canada and internationally are
reviewing and updating their approaches to being inclusive of diverse and marginalized

artists and arts organizations. Such organizations have adopted specific policies and
implementation plans that will guide them in ensuring inclusion is a fundamental value
and that actions are put in place to support this. This workshop reviewed some of these
strategies and suggested ways in which similar approaches can be put in place by the

2) Governance Models to Support Pluralism in Dance Organizations focused on who
makes decisions for dance organizations and the communities they represent. It also
discussed the artistic forms they bring forward and how artists and arts organizations
from diverse and marginalized communities are involved in this. Decision-making, and
who has access to it is critical to the voice of such organizations and to whom they
speak with and for and can indicate the organizations real commitments. This
workshop reviewed governance models that are inclusive, serving to provide a full
voice to dance artists and models that can be put in place by the CDA.

Each of these workshops explored research conducted by CPAMO’s Project Lead who drew
attention to several sources.

For the first workshop, references focused on organizational will and commitment as the
guiding force of any change initiative. Excerpts of the information imparted in this workshop
are provided below.

If you only read one section of this report, this is the one to read, because the
single most important finding of the ‘Not for the Likes of You’ project is
that: successful organizations model internally what they wish to express
externally. Morton Smith, p.13

You have to be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Ghandi

For commentary on organizational leadership, see powerpoint
presentation for key note address presented at CPAMO Town Hall on
January 29, 2010 by Sara Diamond, President Ontario College of Art
and Design

Actions in this area show the organization’s leadership and involve individuals and artists
from diverse communities in the organization’s decision-making. There are five key areas
to address here. These are: (a) Looking at who you are; (b) Identifying challenges; (c)
Communicating commitment; (d) Policies and Procedures; (e) Workplace norms.

a. Looking at who you are

Starting the implementation process is critical so the organization should set this as a high
priority and put the resources in place to plan for and achieve results. This could include:

Determining how best to explore equity and diversity issues in the organizationin an
inclusive way;
Looking at how individuals from diverse communities participate in work both inside
and outside the organization, e.g., involved in organizational discussions/decision-making,
networking with Aboriginal and ethno-racial communities, visiting schools;
Assessing best ways of gaining input by individuals from diverse communities within
the organization on the organization’s goals and actions, e.g., as advisors, board members,
in focus groups and consultations;
Placing a high priority on integrating equity and diversity into the organization’s
plans, particularly in such areas as community engagement, programming, audience
development and employment;
Making sure all equity and diversity plans are clear, well-communicated across the
organization and community, and have specific goals, objectives, timeframes, deliverables
and positive outcomes.

b. Identifying Challenges

It is important to identify the challenges faced by individuals from Aboriginal and ethno-
racial communities to participation. This could include looking at:

their number in the organization as staff, volunteers, board members,
participation of individuals from diverse communities in key organizational
activities, e.g., community engagement, program development, marketing, outreach, arts
education, internal committees and external organizations;

For commentary regarding the importance of organizational commitment
and representation on boards of directors, see the paper presented by
Shahin Sayadi, Artistic Director One Light Theatre, at the CPAMO Town
Hall co-sponsored with CAPACOA on Nov. 7, 2011

c. Communicating Commitment

Transparency (an open agenda), inclusiveness and follow up are key to communicating
equity and diversity initiatives. The organization’s general manager, artistic director, and
board should develop a system so that timely information is shared. This can be done by:

Having communications inclusive of and sensitive to individuals from diverse
communities, e.g., in images (if used), language chosen and subjects;

Using diverse strategies to communicate commitment to equity and diversity,
particularly expectations and results within the organization and externally, e.g., website,
emails, social media, involvement in community activities;
Establishing an equity and diversity committee with representatives of individuals
and artists from diverse communities and from across the organization, headed by a
committed champion;
Having equity and diversity asan agenda item at key meetings and retreats.

Organisations that have repositioned understand the power of language.
In your copy and other communications with potential audiences, you take
seriously the need to speak to people on their own terms. The main ways you do
this are:
You interrogate your own assumptions about what you’re writing and saying.
You don’t just get someone in marketing to write copy and send it straight to
print. Instead:
 you ask around for other people’s views;
 you make sure several team members read what you’ve written;
 you don’t always have the same person doing the writing;
 you involve people in other departments (in your own organizations
and/or in the venues you tour to) in commenting on what’s been written;
 you sometimes get them to have a go at writing it, too, to bring a fresh
perspective to the whole exercise; and
 last but not least, you get audience members to comment in customer (or
potential customer) circles and the like.
Morton Smith Not for the Likes of You (p.41)

In sum, it’s as Morton Smith indicates in Not for the Likes of You:

…key themes kept recurring in terms of positive leadership behavior:

a clear vision, communicated to all;
active listening;
creating the right systems and structures;
setting high standards;
managing risks and mistakes;
using a range of leadership styles;
using the whole person;
ensuring strong support; and
sticking at it. (p.13)

For commentary on boards of directors, see Diversity in Governance: A
Toolkit for Nonprofit Boards, Maytree

d. Policies and Procedures
Policies are needed at times to guide organizations in their development and
implementation of actions to promote equity and diversity. The main components of such
policies should:

state commitment and have definitions consistent with human rights, addressing
non-discrimination/harassment and promoting equity and diversity;
Set clear expectations of what is meant, how things will be done, how people (i.e.,
staff, board and community members, particularly ethno-racial and Aboriginal community
members) can become involved;
Through the organization’s equity and diversity committee, provide regular
communications inside and outside the organization;
Establish proactive policies and procedures to ensure equity and diversity initiatives
are supported;
Provide ongoing education and training for all within the organization on equity and
diversity policies and procedures to ensure they are clearly communicated and understood.

For the second workshop, references focused on community involvement and
engagement. Excerpts of the information imparted in this workshop are provided below.

It is important to engage communities in the decision-making of arts organizations beyond
being on the organization’s board of directors. Arts organizations can do this by:

a. Identifying Artists and Individuals from Diverse Communities to Work With

Developing an accessible and transparent process in recruiting and selecting
community ‘connectors’, ‘ambassadors’ and artists from diverse communities;
Being clear regarding the desired roles and functions, (e.g., outreach, curatorial
development, audience development) in the relationship between presenters, community
‘connectors’, ‘ambassadors’ and artists from diverse communities;
Setting aside the time and resources needed to develop constructive, mutually
beneficial relationships between presenters, community ‘connectors’, ‘ambassadors’ and
artists from diverse communities
Developing strategic alliances and partnerships with other like-minded arts
organizations/artists and individuals from diverse communities to address common issues
and look at ways of sharing resources, expertise, results;
Connecting with diverse communities through their own organizations and networks
to develop long-term relationships;
Working with Aboriginal and ethno-racial artists to increase understanding of diverse
cultural histories, traditions, ways of engaging in the arts, and contemporary expressions;
Appointing artists and key individuals from diverse communities to the organization’s
key committees;
Engaging diverse communities in creating and promoting a season’s program;
Setting up an advisory committee or group to work with the arts organization in its
efforts to connect and build relationships with diverse communities.

b. Exchanging Knowledge and Skills – Presenting and Curatorial

The learning relationship is critical to building long-term relationships between all parties
and can be done by:

Establishing a program that ensures supportive and nurturing relationships are
provided to presenters, artists and individuals from diverse communities;
Encouraging and supporting senior staff, artists and individuals from diverse
communities to be actively engaged;
Providing education and training to those who will be involved so that they have
clear expectations of the relationship and of their responsibilities to each other, their
organizations and diverse communities;
Ensuring all education and training include equity and diversity considerations;
Providing opportunities for individuals and artists from diverse communities to
discuss their cultural background and values and what they may add to the organization;

Having the organization’s key committees meet with individuals and artists from
diverse communities to discuss the arts organization culture and how individuals can
contribute to its growth and development.

For comments on the relationship between community
engagement, programming and audience development, see paper
presented by Ajay Heble, Artistic Director of the Guelph Jazz Festival, at
the CPAMO Town Hall of January 28-29, 2010 (Opening the Gate: Town Hall
on Pluralism in Performing Arts, pp.21-25 –

See the work of MT Space and Neruda Productions regarding
immigrant and ethno-racial youth ( . See
also the work of Puente Theatre in engaging immigrants in play
development ( As well,
see the work in Quebec on cultural mediation

What is a cultural diversity programming lens?

A lens enables people to see. The purpose of a cultural diversity lens
is to raise awareness and open minds to new ways of thinking. The
lens thereby opens the way to new solutions and activities.
It is a supplementary tool which can be used to evaluate whether
programmes, policies, proposals and practices promote and safeguard
cultural diversity and therefore enhance work efficiency.
It is a check-list or a list of criteria and questions supplemented by
indicators (e.g., in the context of the cultural diversity programming
lens, take into account statistical – quantitative – and proxy
indicators as well as other means of verification.)
It can be used at all stages of a programme: planning, implementation,
monitoring and evaluating. For example, the lens can be used to plan
a project, and then re-used…during the monitoring stage to compare
the plans with the outcomes…
It is ideally created in a participatory manner by those who use it.
There is no perfect lens. Each programme can develop its own lens.
The Cultural Diversity Programming Lens: a toolkit (p.6)


Many of you also involve audiences in your decision-making processes, which
has multiple advantages:

 It informs staff;
 It motivates staff;
 It improves the level and range of input to decision-making;
 It generates real audience involvement in and commitment to the
 It creates ambassadors in the community; and
 (last but by no means least) it commits you to deliver.

For example: Macrobert (arts centre) decided directly to involve children and
young people in the redesign and repositioning of the place. To achieve this
they recruited ‘Young Consultants’ aged 8-14 from the surrounding area
who worked with them over a period of several years to give their views on
all aspects of the operation from the building to the artistic programme to the
price of sweets. And they acted on those views, too, with the result that the
building and programme are uniquely attractive to and welcoming for kids and
their families.

For example: Tyne & Wear Museums have a dedicated gallery called
‘The People’s Gallery’ that is programmed entirely by and for local
community. Museum staff are closely involved in its operations, but their role is
not to lead but to serve the wishes and implement the decisions of
community members. Morton Smith Not for the Likes of You (p.31)

For commentary about programming and curatorial issues, see
papers presented by Natasha Bahkt, Michael Greyeyes and Kevin
Ormsby, and final report prepared by Andrea Rowe for the 2009
Canada Dance Festival’s Dancing Through Cultures

Adopting a fulsome concept of the role of the arts as one of many elements within a
community and, as such, arts organizations have much to learn from and share with a
range of community stakeholders amongst diverse artists as well as areas related to
business, media, community agencies, advocacy organizations, immigrant settlement and
Aboriginal centres;
Identifying barriers that limit the participation of artists from diverse communities
from performing/exhibiting, e.g., unawareness of cultural form, concern about audience
Ensuring artists and individuals from diverse communities are involved in program

Ensuring artists from diverse communities are aware of what it takes to develop
relationships with presenters and receive the information they need to be successful in
promoting their work;
Taking steps to ensure traditional audiences are receptive to the inclusion of
performances/exhibits by artists from diverse communities.

Identifying and Removing Barriers – Points to Consider

 Undertake appropriate consultation and research to identify the types
and nature of barriers to targeted audience participation.
 If these barriers relate to physical or cultural access issues, you must
first assess your capacity and resources to address them in terms of:
o Information and communication;
o Venue and staging;
o Staffing;
o Cost;
 If they relate to product type, you must assess your resources and ability
to develop product which will attract these audiences and
increase participation.
 If they relate to lack of interest, you must be able to determine the
long-term benefit of working with the target groups to develop interest
and, through that interest, participation.
The world is your audience (p.48)

Making equity and diversity a key criteria in programming development and
decision-making and that this is communicated to diverse community networks, artist and
arts organization to attract artists and audiences;
Providing concrete support to artists from diverse communities who may experience
disrespectful and discriminatory treatment;
Supporting program development activities that target non-traditional sources and
within diverse communities;
Working with community connectors, animators, ambassadors to develop
relationships with individuals in diverse communities;
Making connections and learning from other organizations, both inside and outside
of the arts communities, that have developed ways of engaging artists and individuals from
diverse communities in programming and education about diverse histories, traditions and
contemporary expressions;
Working with community members and supporting them to become ambassadors
for the arts organization, taking the issue into communities to raise awareness and engage
in dialogue;
Working with other presenters to co-commission and tour work developed by artists
from diverse communities;

Working with other presenters to promote the work of artists from diverse
communities, e.g., through marketing, touring, block booking, public education and other
ways to create community awareness;
Examining how programs will create access points for diverse communities, e.g.,
addressing possible language barriers, looking at diverse community characteristics and
interests, providing ways for diverse communities to participate

We formed an advisory board to guide our strategy. All the members of this
board had strong connections to the black community, and marketing/group
sales experience. Equally important was that they were committed, smart and
creative. Our goals:

 Form a task force charged with the responsibility of promoting and selling
Harlem Song;
 Create an unprecedented level of multicultural awareness, involvement
and patronage for the show;
 Maximize ticket sales by enlisting support from local organizations in
fund-raising and audience development;
 Develop partnerships with the community, encouraging people who live
and work in Harlem to invest time and resources in the production;
 Invite and engage individuals from Latino and African American
communities to support, promote and sell tickets for Harlem Song.

We met monthly. We began each meeting by generating ideas about how best
to promote the show…

We made the Harlem Song website as informative, educational and collaborative
as possible. The producers and web designer…did a thorough job, providing
links, history and the study guide. Earlier on in the campaign, I met with
members of the Harlem Strategic Cultural Collaboration (HSCC), a member-
based entity
comprising of the largest and oldest Harlem arts organizations…Each
organization identified a way to promote the production, because each
recognized Harlem Song’s value to the community. In turn, we included links to
each member organization on our website. We donated a dollar of every ticket
sold to the
HSCC to support the Harlem community…

Donna Walker-Kuhne, Invitation to the Party (p.118 and p.123)

Actions Needed:

Based on the process and information provided above, it is clear that there is a strong interest
on the part of diverse dance artists and the CDA to enhance their relationship into the future.
To assist in this regard, there are several matters the CDA will need to address to undertake
the work needed to engage these artists in meaningful ways. At the same time, it is incumbent
on these dance artists to connect with the CDA and to contribute to the development of this
promising relationship.

The actions needed for this are noted below.


Given concerns expressed by several dance artists about past experiences and/or lack of
connection with the CDA, it is incumbent upon and imperative for the CDA to make meaningful
offers to engage these artists. The action items noted below represent a starting point and, as
starting points, these actions will open doors for greater involvement by diverse artists which
may lead to other issues over time for the CDA to address.

1) Advocacy. It is clear that dance artists from diverse backgrounds confront inequities in
terms of their access to resources, particularly funding, performance opportunities and
in their incomes. The CDA should undertake to address this as a high priority and, with
these artists, undertake raising the profile of these dance artists, the value of their
contributions to dance and the need for their presence in Canada’s dance milieu. The
CDA can address this by profiling such artists in its National Dance Campaign and can
raise concerns about funding, income and performance inequities to arts councils as
well as in communications with presenters.

2) A CDA Advisory Council on Pluralism. There was broad interest amongst dance
artists to have a standing structure within the CDA to address issues of diversity and
pluralism on an ongoing basis. This Advisory Council would be inclusive of diverse
communities and be based on several factors such as race, culture, immigration status,
regional location, physical ability and be of equal importance as the CDA Strategic
Advisory Committee. The Council would meet monthly in its first years to develop an
agenda, action plans and to contribute to developing and supporting CDA activities on
behalf of diverse dance artists;

3) CDA Policy and Responsibility of all Standing Councils. The CDA should develop a
vision to articulate its commitment to pluralism in all of its activities. This vision should
be developed in consultation with the newly created Standing Council on Pluralism and
with all other Standing Councils as well as the CDA Executive. This process of vision-
statement development is integral to all parts of the CDA getting on board with this
direction and to enable each Standing Council to develop an understanding of its roles
and responsibilities in implementing a pluralistic approach in their work. In this regard,
while the Standing Council on Pluralism can be seen as the catalyst to identifying and
proposing solutions to issues related to pluralism/diversity, each Standing Council
should equally in its own way undertake similar responsibilities. This will ensure that all

components of the CDA are engaged in this process and that a healthy dialogue cuts
across the CDA on this timely issue.

4) Reduction of ‘Duplicating’ Standing Councils. Several concerns were raised in the
interviews and focus groups about potential duplication of efforts. This was most
notable in regard to areas addressing presenters and dance artists since it was felt that
these issues are being addressed through the CanDance Network and CADA. It was
also felt that the CDA may be more able to take on this new area of pluralism if had the
capacities to do so. In this regard, eliminating standing council’s that may be
duplicating other organization’s efforts may free up resources so that the CDA might be
in a better position to focus on issues of pluralism. At the same time, this reduction of
duplication might also prompt the CDA to enhance relationships with those bodies that
are mandated to work with dance presenters and artists.

5) Recruitment of New Members. As part of the roll out of the CDA initiatives to support
pluralism in dance, the CDA should also focus on recruiting new members based on the
issues it will be addressing. For example, the ‘I Love Dance’ campaign can be
enhanced with visual imagery and promotion of diverse dance traditions and
performances that support the values of pluralism and raise to the national level the
expansive dance landscape in Canada. This sign of commitment is valuable in
communicating sincere intent in being inclusive and promoting pluralism in the short
and long-term.

To undertake actions on these recommendations, the CDA will need to:

a) discuss with and receive adoption by CDA board to ensure support for these new
b) promote and communicate these directions nationally and, particularly, to Aboriginal
and diverse artists (racially, culturally, regionally);
c) begin the process of recruitment and setting up of the Advisory Council on Pluralism;
d) once the Advisory Council on Pluralism is set up, engage all Standing Councils and the
CDA Executive in dialogue on the pluralism vision statement and the
roles/responsibilities of all CDA Standing Council’s for implementation of activities to
promote pluralism;
e) prepare advocacy challenge regarding inequitable access to funding/resources as part
of the CDA National Dance Campaign.

Given concerns expressed by several dance artists about past experiences and/or lack of
connection with the CDA, it is incumbent upon and imperative interested diverse dance artists
to engage with the CDA, provided the CDA undertakes the activities noted immediately above.
These action items represent a starting point and, as starting points, they are aimed at opening
doors for greater involvement by diverse artists which may lead to other issues over time for
the CDA to address


Appendix 1



By charles c smith

Oct. 21, 2012


According to the 2006 Census, Canada had a population of 31,612,897. A key part of Canada’s
population growth has been the increased levels of immigration and the rapid growth of Aboriginal
communities. Other key factors within Canada’s population are the increasing numbers of
individuals either retired or approaching retirement and the self-identification of persons with

As part of these demographic changes, it is evident that in 2006:

a) persons with disabilities currently comprise 14.3% of the Canadian population for all
ages and 16.6% of those 15 years of age and older;1

b) 47% of Canadian citizens have an ethnic origin that is other than Anglo or French;

c) immigration accounts for more than 50% of Canada’s population growth and that
immigrants are 100% of net labour force growth in Canada;

d) 16.2% of Canadians self-identified as racialized (i.e., visible minority);2

e) Aboriginal peoples comprise 1,172,790 of the Canadian population for an increase of
45% between 1996 and 2006, almost 6 times more than other communities;

f) the Aboriginal population has experienced significant growth in Nova Scotia (95%),
New Brunswick (67%), Newfoundland and Labrador (65%), Quebec (53%) and Ontario
(68%); and 54% of Aboriginal people live in urban areas, an increase of 50% from 1996;

g) the Métis are the most rapidly growing Aboriginal group in Canada increasing by 91%
since 1996, in 2006 they totalled 389,785.3

Resulting from changes to selection criteria, recent immigrants to Canada are highly educated,
skilled and have significant economic capacities. For example, the Conference Board of Canada
suggests that immigrants account for 33% of Canada’s economic growth in the past ten years and
by 2011 will account for all labour force growth. This report further suggests that racialized peoples
currently account for 16% of those in the labour force and that this will increase to close to 18% by

See Participation and Activity Limitation Survey 2006: Analytical Report, Statistics Canada 2006 at 9
Visible minority population, by age group (2006 Census) Statistics Canada While Statistics Canada census
data refers to racialized groups as visible minorities, there has been strong distaste
amongst critical race scholars about the imprecision of this term. See footnote # 2 for
some references to the term ‘racialized’ and ‘racialization’.
See Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Metis and First Nations, 2006 Census at 6-7
See Making a Visible Difference: The Contribution of Visible Minorities to Canadian Economic
Growth, 2004 at 3-5.

According to the 2006 Census, there were 140,000 artists in Canada 5 . In terms of demographic
characteristics relevant to this research, this data indicates significant discrepancies between groups.
For example:

i) those with English as mother tongue comprise 75% of all artists but are 68% of the
overall labour force or a upward swing of 7% in terms of their engagement in the

ii) those with French as a mother tongue comprise 18% of all artists but are 21% of
the overall labour force or a downward swing of 3%;

iii) those with mother tongue other than English or French comprise 6% of all artists
but are 10% of the overall labour force or a downward swing of 4%;

iv) the English-language minority in Quebec comprises 4% of all artists but are 2.4% of
the overall labour force for an upward swing of 1.6%;

v) French Language Minoritiesoutside of Quebec comprise 1.3% of artists but are
1.8% of the overall labour force or a downward swing of 0.5%;

vi) Aboriginal peoples comprise 2.4% of artists but are 2.9% of the overall labour force
or a downward swing of 0.5%;

vii) Racialized peoples comprise 11% of all artists but are 15% of the overall labour
force or a downward swing of 4%;

viii) Immigrant artists comprise 20% of the arts labour force but are 21% of the overall
labour force or a downward swing of 1%; and

ix) Persons with disabilities comprise 5% of all artists and are also 5% of the overall
labour force. 6

To contextualize these findings, it is useful to review data related to the change in the demographics of
the arts and overall labour force from 1991. In this regard, while the arts labour force experienced an
increase of 7% between 1991 and 2006, the overall labour force experienced an increase of 22%.
Regarding specific demographic groups, this breaks down as follows:

a) Aboriginal peoples were not successfully captured for either the arts or overall labour
force in 1991 but have had a 5% increase from the 2001 to 2006 census;

b) Racialized peoples have experienced a 28% increase in the arts labour force since
1991 or a 123% change since 1991 and a 109% increase in the overall labour force;

See A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada: Based on the 2006 Census, Hill Strategies February 2009
at 5 and 6.
Ibid at 18 and 20 and 22

c) Immigrants have experienced an 8% increase in the arts labour force or a 41% change
since 1991 and a 43% increase in the overall labour force.7

In examining this data, it is evident that:

1) Aboriginal, racialized and immigrant groups are more engaged in the overall labour
force than in the arts labour force;

2) The variations between the make-up of these groups in the arts labour force and the
overall labour force quite clearly favour those whose mother tongue is English and
clearly disadvantage those whose mother tongue is neither English or French and that
Aboriginal and racialized artists face similar disparities; and

3) The impact of some of these disparities is very notable in the downward earnings of
Aboriginal, racialized and immigrant artists who respectively have seen their earnings
from the arts drop 16%, 20% and 20% from 1990 – 2005 even though the earnings for
racialized peoples in the overall labour force increased by 3% and was -1% for

These differences are even more profound when comparing with overall population data.

Arts Labour Force in Specific Disciplines:

While the data and supporting charts above provide very strong evidence of funding disparities, they
are not broken down by artistic disciplines. This is an important issue as funding parity should be both
in aggregate, operating and project and within specific disciplines. Council and other funders may wish
to address this matter in going forward with the implementation of their equity initiatives. In this regard,
the following baseline data may be helpful as it provides insight into the composition of specific
disciplines by Aboriginal and equity groups. This data can be used by funders to assess and develop
strategies within each discipline by comparing this data with the composition of these groups within the
arts and overall labour force as well as with the general population. This would then be compared to
funding allocated in each discipline to these groups and, based on the results of this assessment,
strategies developed to achieve equity in funding to Aboriginal and equity groups.

According to data derived from the 2006 census, the arts labour force for specific disciplines breaks
down as follows:

 “musicians and singers(33,600 reported earnings, or 24% of the 140,000 artists);
 “authors and writers (24,500 or 18%);
 “producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (22,400 or 16%);
 “artisans and craftspersons (17,400 or 12%);
 “visual artists (17,100 or 12%);
 “actors and comedians (11,700 or 8%);
 “dancers (7,300 or 5%);

Ibid at 33
Ibid at 36

 “other performers (3,630 or 3%); and
 “conductors, composers and arrangers (2,300 or 2%).”9

Regrettably, there isn’t comparable data for Aboriginal and equity groups from the 2006 census.
However, data for specific disciplines based on the 2001 census is provided below10.

Racialized Artists by Discipline

Actors and

Visual artists
11% Musicians and singers

Artisans and
Producers, Writers
directors, 14%
s, related

The data in this Chart indicates that racialized peoples are:

 3,145 or 10% of all musicians and singers(31,000);
 1,435 or 6.8% of writers (21,145);
 1.525 or 7.9% of producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

Ibid at 10
In calculating these percentages, I have had to rely on the Hill Strategies report Diversity in Canada’s
Arts Labour Force: An Analysis of the 2001 Census Data since that report is the only one that provides
comparative detail based on census data. This is not the best of situations given changes from one Census to
another. However, there appears to be no other data to assess these comparisons.

 1,760 or 9% of artisans and crafts persons (19,575);
 1,180 or 7.7% of visual artists (15,250);
 1,290 or 5.8% of actors and comedians (22,200).11

Aboriginal Artists by Discipline
Musicians and singers

Actors and
13% Writers

Visual artists Producers, directors,
17% choreographers, related

Artisans and

The data in this Chart indicates that Aboriginal peoples are:

 300 or 1.0% of all musicians and singers(31,000);
 295 or 1.4% of writers (21,145);
 305 or 1.6% of producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (19,240);
 1,295 or 6.6% of artisans and crafts persons (19,575);
 515 or 3.4% of visual artists (15,250);
 410 or 1.8% of actors and comedians (22,200);

Ibid at 4

Immigrant Artists by Discipline
Actors and comedians

Visual artists

Musicians and singers

Artisans and


Producers, directors,
choreographers, related

The data in this Chart indicates that Immigrants are:

 6,215 or 20% of all musicians and singers(31,000);
 4,300 or 20.3% of writers (21,145);
 3,180 or 16.5% of producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations
 4,660 or 23.8% of artisans and crafts persons (19,575);
 3,775 or 24.8% of visual artists (15,250);
 2,055 or 1.9% of actors and comedians (22,200);
 425 or 18% of conductors and composers (2,290).

Some of the numbers for racialized, immigrant and Aboriginal peoples are comparable to their make-up
of the arts labour force. However, the significance of these findings are enormous given that
operational funding for racialized artists is 4.2% which is approximately 7% below their composition of
the national arts labour force and 11% below their composition of the overall labour force. Similarly, for
Aboriginal peoples, operational funding is 1.5% or 0.9% below their composition of the national arts
labour force and 1.4% below their composition of the overall labour force. For racialized peoples this is
an astounding level of disparity in funding; for Aboriginal peoples, while the percentages are closer,
there is a unique concern that requires separate consideration beyond the scope of this research, i.e.,
First Peoples status and the fiduciary responsibility of the federal government and all of its
departments, including arms length agencies, to work with First Nations and Aboriginal peoples in

addressing issues related to self-determination and the ongoing relationship of the Canadian state to
Aboriginal peoples.

The following Charts provide data that compares Aboriginal, equity groups and non-Aboriginal/non-
equity groups in specific disciplines. This data demonstrates the vast inequities in the distribution of
artists by discipline. For example:

 Non-equity groups comprise 90% of all actors and comedians while racialized peoples
comprise 6% even though they make-up 10.6% of the arts labour force, 15.4% of the
overall labour force and 16.2% of the national population while Aboriginal peoples are at
2% even though they comprise 2.4% of arts labour force, 3% of the overall labour force
and 3.8% of the national population. Immigrants comprise 2% of this cohort;

 Non-equity groups comprise 90% of artisans while racialized peoples comprise 7% even
though they make-up 10.6% of the arts labour force, 15.4% of the overall labour force
and 16.2% of the national population while Aboriginal peoples are at 2% each even
though they comprise 2.4% of arts labour force, 3% of the overall labour force and 3.8%
of the national population. Immigrants comprise 24% of this cohort;

 Non-equity groups comprise 69% of all musicians/singers while racialized peoples
comprise 10% even though they make-up 10.6% of the arts labour force, 15.4% of the
overall labour force and 16.2% of the national population while Aboriginal peoples are at
1% even though they comprise 2.4% of arts labour force, 3% of the overall labour force
and 3.8% of the national population. Immigrants comprise 20% of this cohort;

 Non-equity groups comprise 90% of all producers/directors/choreographers actors while
racialized peoples comprise 8% even though they make-up 10.6% of the arts labour
force, 15.4% of the overall labour force and 16.2% of the national population while
Aboriginal peoples are at 2% even though they comprise 2.4% of arts labour force, 3%
of the overall labour force and 3.8% of the national population. Immigrants comprise
16% of this cohort;

 Non-equity groups comprise 64% of all visual artists while racialized peoples comprise
8% even though they make-up 10.6% of the arts labour force, 15.4% of the overall
labour force and 16.2% of the national population while Aboriginal peoples are at 3%
even though they comprise 2.4% of arts labour force, 3% of the overall labour force and
3.8% of the national population. Immigrants comprise 25% of this cohort;

 Non-equity groups comprise 72% of all writers while racialized peoples comprise 7%
even though they make-up 10.6% of the arts labour force, 15.4% of the overall labour
force and 16.2% of the national population while Aboriginal peoples are at 1% even
though they comprise 2.4% of arts labour force, 3% of the overall labour force and 3.8%
of the national population. Immigrants comprise 20% of this cohort;

 Non-equity groups comprise 90% of all actors and comedians while racialized peoples
comprise 6% even though they make-up 10.6% of the arts labour force, 15.4% of the
overall labour force and 16.2% of the national population while Aboriginal peoples are at

2% each even though they comprise 2.4% of arts labour force, 3% of the overall labour
force and 3.8% of the national population;

Demographic Breakdown of Actors and Comedians
by Equity Group

Non-Equity Group

Demographic Breakdown of Artisans and Craftspersons
by Equity Group


7% Non-Equity Group

Demographic Breakdown of Musicians and Singers by Equity Group


Non-Equity Group

Demographic Breakdown of Producers, Directors, Choreographers
and related fields by Equity Group

Aboriginal 16%

Non-Equity Group

Demographic Breakdown of Visual Artists by Equity Group


Non-Equity Group
Racialized 64%

Demographic Breakdown of Writers by Equity Group


Non-Equity Group

Population Projections:

Most population estimates suggest that the changes in these provinces, cities and communities will
only accelerate over time and the proportion of Aboriginal, immigrant and racialized communities will
continue to increase at rates faster than their European counterparts. Some provinces and cities
have already witnessed changes in the numerical majority of their communities and most of this has
come about during the last twenty years, a short period of time.12
For example:

 in 2017, racialized peoples will likely be between 19% and 23% of the Canadian
population and that racialized communities in the country’s largest urban centres
(e.g., the Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver and Richmond B.C.) will be more than
50% of the population. Further, Aboriginal peoples are likely to comprise 4.1% of
the Canadian population;13

See Alain Belanger and Eric Caron Malenfant Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada: Prospects for 2017,
and, Krishna Pendakur Visible Minorities in Canada’s Workplaces: A Perspective on the 2017 Projection
See Arts Fact Sheet Series: Cultural Diversity – Our Regenerative Strength in the 21st Century, Sharon
Fernandez, May 2006, unpaginated, from “Study: Canada's visible minority population in 2017” from 2005

 racialized peoples will likely comprise between 29-32% of the Canadian population
by 2021 or between 11.4 to 14.4 million people. This population will also have
more youth under the age of 15 (36%) and South Asians and East Asians will be
the largest of all racialized groups;

 Arabs and West Asians are projected to grow the fastest between 2006 and 2031,
increasing from 806,000 to 1.1 million Arabs and 457,000 to 592,000 for West
Asians between 2006 and 2031;

 Muslims are anticipated to increase to being 50% of those who self-identify as non-

 those whose Mother Tongue is neither English or French will increase to between
29% and 32% by 2031, up from 10% in 1981;

 96% of racialized peoples would live in urban areas in 2031 with 72% of these
residing in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal;

 55% of those living in urban centres are anticipated to be immigrants in 2031 with
Toronto and Vancouver expected to reach 78% and 70% respectively;

 60% of those living in Toronto and Vancouver will likely be racialized peoples in
2031 and they will likely be 31% of those residing in Montreal.14

These figures indicate an apparently irreversible trend in terms of the growth of the Canadian
population over the next two decades. These changes will have significant impact socially and
culturally and will require those in the arts to analyze and assess the significance of these
demographic changes as they relate to artistic expression, funding policies and financial
commitments, peer assessment and criteria and other elements of the arts ecology. Coming to
accept and work with this is inevitable.

Growth and Socio-economic Characteristics of Aboriginal and Equity Group Artists:

The change in demographics is evident in the growth of artists from Aboriginal and equity group
communities. Trends in these areas will increase almost exponentially given the growth of Aboriginal
and equity communities and artists, and challenges resulting and/or imminent due to the ‘aging’ of
artists and their dispersal in urban and rural settings. There is little statistical data on persons with
disabilities in the arts; however, there is anecdotal information that is useful to understanding the
challenges these artists face. Further, this section will also provide information on some of the
inequities in the socio-economic achievement of artists in some of these groups.

The socio-economic achievement for Aboriginal and equity group artists is somewhat similar to the
performance of these communities in other sectors of society. For example, it has been consistently
documented that Aboriginal and racialized persons as well as persons with disabilities do not fare as

Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population, 2006 to 2031, Statistics Canada 2010 at 1-2

well as their counterparts in economic achievement. A recent report by the Wellesley Institute and
the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives15 suggests that racialized peoples:

 earn 81.4 cents for every dollar paid to non-racialized persons;

 have higher levels of labour market participation (67.3% v. 66.7%) but also
experience higher levels of unemployment and that the work they get is temporary
and low-paying and, further, racialized men are 24% more likely to be unemployed
than their counterparts and racialized women are 48% more likely to be unemployed
than racialized men;

 see their incomes decline between 2000 and 2005 by 0.2% while the earnings for
their counterparts grew by 2.7% and while the economy grew by 13.1%;

 particularly immigrant women, earn 48.7 cents for every dollar of a non-racialized

 occupy only 14.7% of all occupations compared to 85.3% for non-racialized groups.
Within the arts and cultural sector, racialized people occupy 10.4% of all
occupations compared to 89.6% for non-racialized groups;

 in terms of industry, are composed of 8.5% of the ‘arts, entertainment and recreation’
sector compared with 91.5% of their counterparts;17

 in terms of gender, racialized men make $48,631 compared to $60,044 for non-
racialized men while racialized women make $37,932 compared to $52,345 for
non-raciailized women. Combined the difference is $43,979 earnings for racialized
peoples compared to $52,345 for non-racialized peoples;18

 while these gaps may narrow, they do not evaporate for second and third generation
wage earners. There is still a significant gap that widens where racialized men in the
second generation make $57,237 compared to $75,729 for non-racialized men and
racialized women earn $42,804 compared to $46,391 for non-racialized women.
The differential in the third generation indicates that racialized men earn $66,137
compared to $70,962 for their counterparts while racialized women earn $44,460
compared to $44,810 for their counterparts;19

 in terms of poverty, 19.6% live in poverty compared to 6.4% of their counterparts.20

See Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market: The gap for racialized workers, Sheila Block and Grace-
Edward Galabuzzi, 2011
Ibid 3-4
Ibid at 9-10
Ibid at 12
Ibid at 13
Ibid at 15

As might be expected, similar to the increased percentage of the population comprised of Aboriginal
peoples and racialized groups, there has been a significant increase in the artists, particularly
performing artists, within these communities. This is especially evident for ethno-racial artists,
including racialized and immigrant groups. As well, the growth of work by Inuit artists has been
captured in Arts & Culture in Canada: Fact Sheet – Contemporary Inuit Arts in Canada.21
According to the Economic Impact Study: Nunavut Arts and Crafts, commissioned by the
Government of Nunavut – Department of Economic Development & Transportation:

There are roughly between 3,000 and 6,500 artists in Nunavut. An artist is defined as:
“Any Nunavut resident over the age of 15 years with the ability to produce arts and
crafts products for resale.” Given the wide range estimate, it is possible that more
than 6,000 Nunavut residents produce arts and crafts to some extent, even if only
for personal use, gifts or an extremely modest economic return. However, when
examined in the full context of the territory, accounting for total sales amounts and
other employment statistics, the number of artists in Nunavut that earn a moderate
or even supplemental income from arts and crafts sales is likely closer to 2,500-

Based on analysis of the 2001 census, Hill Strategies Diversity in Canada’s Arts Labour
Force23suggests many revealing pieces of information, including:

 of the 131,000 artists in Canada, 11,700 (8.9%) are racialized, 3,100 (2.5%) are
Aboriginal and immigrants accounted for 20% of all Canadian artists. Racialized
artists earnings were 11% less than other artists while earnings for Aboriginal
artists were 28% less than other artists;24

 Ontario accounts for 50% of the racialized and immigrant artists in Canada with the
overwhelming number of these artists living in metropolitan areas while Aboriginal
artists tend to live outside metropolitan areas;

 B.C. is home to 25% of racialized artists with the highest concentration of racialized
artists in its arts labour force with 13% of all provincial artists;

 90% of racialized artists live in urban areas (Census Metropolitan Areas/CMAs)
with Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal combining for 39% of all racialized artists. Of
these racialized artists, Toronto’s CMA has the highest concentration (39%),
followed by Vancouver CMA (24%) and Montreal CMA (11%);25

Canada Council for the Arts,
Government of Nunavut – Department of Economic Development & Transportation. “Economic Impact
Study: Nunavut Arts and Crafts,” Submitted by: Nordicity Group and Uqsiq Communications, June 2010.
Statistical Insights on the arts, Vol. 3 No.3,February 2005
Ibid at 1
Ibid at 1-3

 corresponding with increases in immigrant settlement, racialized and immigrant
artists grew ‘strongly’ between 1991 and 2001 by 74% and 31% respectively; 26

 between 1991 and 2001, the number of racialized artists more than doubled in such
professions as actors, dancers, producers, directors, choreographers and related
occupations, exceeding the increase in the number of artists in all other groups;27

 Ontario is home to 50% of all racialized artists and these artists comprise 11% of
the province’s artists while B.C. is home to 25 of these artists who comprise 13% of
all B.C. artists and Quebec has 12% of these artists or 5% of all Quebec artists;28

 in the aforementioned CMAs, racialized artists earn less than their counterparts
with Toronto 26% less, Montreal 27% less and Vancouver 22% less;

 between 1991 and 2001, there was a ‘slight widening’ in earnings between
racialized and other artists (9.8% to 11.3%), however, this small disparity is notably
increased in such professions as acting (-21%), dancing (-14%), as well as
amongst musicians and singers (-18%), and producers/directors/choreographers (-

 racialized artists in Ontario have the highest average earnings ($22,800) when
compared to their counterparts in other provinces, i.e., B.C. ($19,800) and Quebec
($19,400). Respectively, these artists lag 15% behind all other artists in Ontario,
10% less in B.C. and 19% less in Quebec;30

 across Canada, while most Aboriginal artists are involved in crafts, there are
numerous artists involved in performing arts as musicians and singers, writers,
producers, directors and choreographers;31

 B.C. was home to 29% of all Aboriginal artists who comprised 2.6% of the
province’s artists. This was followed by Ontario which was home to 20% of all
Aboriginal artists comprising 1.2% of all Ontario artists

 71% of Aboriginal artists reside outside CMAs while 29% reside within them across

 Aboriginal artists earned on average 28% less than all other artists in Canada with
actors, dancers and other performers making 13% less, and, producers, directors,
choreographers making 30% less;33

Ibid 4
Ibid 3-4
Ibid 4
Ibid 7
Ibid 8
Ibid 10
Ibid 11
Ibid 2-13

 while Aboriginal artists have their highest earnings in Ontario, these artists make
21% less than the average earnings of all other Ontario artists. Aboriginal artists in
B.C. earn 25% less than other artists while in Quebec their earnings are 38% less
than other artists;34

 the largest number of immigrant artists arrived in Canada between 1991 and 2001
with the most common areas of creative expression as musicians and singers
(20%), writers (20%), and producers, directors and choreographers (19%) with
actors amongst this group more than doubling;35

 Ontario is home to 49% of all immigrant artists while B.C. is home to 24% and
Quebec to 13%. These three provinces combine for 86% of immigrant artists in

 83% of immigrant artists reside inside CMAs with Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto
comprising 75% of these and Toronto has 33% of these artists, Vancouver 30%
and Montreal 11%;37

 Immigrant artists’ earnings are 1.4% less than the average for all other artists.
However, between 1991 and 2001, their earnings increased 13% which is 50% less
than the average increase for all other Canadian artists.38

Hill Strategies provides additional data on these artists.39 In a report based on the 2006 Census, it is
noted that:

there were 140,040 artists in Canada with 105,345 whose first language is English or
75% of all artists; 24,585 whose first language is French or 18% of all artists; 8,630
whose first language is a non-official language or 6% of all artists. Of these artists,
5,555 are English-language minorities residing in Quebec (4%) and 1,755 Official
Language Minorities (Francophones) (1.3%);40

Anglophone artists made $22,776 per year compared with Francophone artists who
made $24,520, Non-official language artists who made $17,373, English-language
minorities who made $26,069 and French-language minorities who made $22,738;41

there were 3,295 Aboriginal artists (2.4% of all artists), 14,910 racialized artists (11%)
and 28,355 immigrant artists (20%). Respectively, these artists earnings were
$15,883, $18,796 and 20,877;42 and

Ibid 14
Ibid 16
Ibid 18
Ibid at 17-18
Ibid 19
See A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada – Based on the 2006 Census, Hill Strategies, 2009
Ibid at 18
Ibid at 19

there were 6,300 artists with disabilities (5% of all artists) who indicated that they are
often limited in their activities and 13,500 artists with disabilities (10% of all artists)
who indicate that they are sometimes limited in their activities. Average earnings for
the former are $15,300.00 or 42% less than other similarly situated workers and for
the latter earnings are $17,700.00 or 43% less than other similarly situated

In terms of changes in artists’ income from the 2001 to the 2006 Census, Hill notes that while all
artists’ income fell 14%, Aboriginal artists’ income fell by 16% and income for immigrant and
racialized artists each fell by 20%. 44 Further, regarding specific disciplines and in order of the
highest number of artists within each discipline:

racialized artists are predominantly active as musicians and singers,
artisans/craftspersons, producers/directors/choreographers, writers, visual artists,
actors and dancers;45

Aboriginal peoples are predominantly active as artisans/craftspersons, visual artists,
actors and performers, producers/directors/choreographers, musicians and singers,
and writers;46

immigrant artists are predominantly active as musicians and singers,
artisans/craftspersons, writers, visual artists, producers/directors/choreographers,
actors, other performers, and conductors/composers/arrangers.47

Unfortunately, these Hill Strategies reports do not correlate racialized and immigrant artists.
However, judging from the immigrant settlement patterns noted earlier, it is quite likely that many
immigrant artists are also racialized. What is also very notable is the dramatic increase in the
number of Aboriginal, racialized and immigrant artists since 1991. While this has contributed to the
diversity of Canadian artists, and has likely provided a broader span of cultural forms, histories and
artistic standards and values to audiences, it is also likely that the significant disparities in earnings
for Aboriginal, racialized and immigrant artists are attributable to them being less employed than
other artists.

This may be due to a number of factors, including the relative newness of these artists as well as the
diverse cultural forms and values they bring to the arts that are different than the Eurocentric values
and practices of the current Canadian arts ecology. In fact, the latter may be directly related to the
lesser rate of earnings of Aboriginal, racialized and immigrant artists since their forms of culturally
specific expressions and stories (including costumes, myths, iconography, references, techniques,
etc.) may draw on the rich histories and traditions of their own cultures and not be based on

Ibid at 20-21
Ibid at 22
Ibid at 36
See Diversity in Canada’s Arts Labour Force, Kelly Hill, 2005 at 4
Ibid at 11
Ibid at 17

Eurocentric norms. Many in the arts’ field, including presenters, may see this as being not
appropriate for ‘their audiences.’

Another issue is that what’s considered ‘contemporary’ by Aboriginal, racialized and immigrant
artists are often not considered to be ‘contemporary’ enough by the current arts system and peers 48.
This likely occurs because of the given different evolution of styles, trends and artistic movements in
different parts of the world. The contemporary arts milieu is very much based upon the standards of
the West and rarely takes into consideration the important histories and artistic practices that had
been suppressed during centuries of European domination and its insistence on universal values
that were implicit in European systems of thought, governance, economics and civil society.
Further, while some of these values have been eschewed by contemporary post-modernist
philosophies and its influence on artistic expression, there are divergent perspectives by Aboriginal,
racialized and immigrant artists about the value of post-modernism to their world and their work as
these artists see post-modernism as the latest salvo of European hegemonic thought.

The change in demographics is supplanting traditional notions of Canadian culture as Eurocentric
and addressing issues concerning groups marginalized within the Eurocentric, ablest and urban-
centric framework, e.g., persons with disabilities, rural communities, official language minority
communities, etc. The trend in these areas will increase almost exponentially given the increased
sizes of racialized, Aboriginal and other equity-seeking communities and artists, and the resulting
and/or imminent challenges due to the ‘aging’ of artists and their dispersal in urban and rural

The obvious challenge here is for the arts community generally to begin to understand that it is not
possible to use traditional Western modes to assess the merits of diverse artistic forms and
expressions of Aboriginal and racialized communities.49 Long-standing ‘standards of excellence only’
need to be re-assessed against the measure of a critical capacity, one that considers the
‘standpoint’ of presenters, i.e., their relationship to the production of knowledge and their adherence
to a selective tradition that honours the notion that universal values in the arts derive from the

See Natasha Bakht Mere Song and Dance: Multicultural Imperative in the Arts. This paper was first
presented in 2009 at the Canada Dance Festival and then has been published by Between the Lines Press in
Unsettling Multiculturalism: Lands, Labours, Bodies, May Chazan, Lisa Helps, Anna Stanley, And Sonali
Thakkar, (Eds.), , (2011) and is forthcoming in Pluralism in the Arts In Canada: A Change is Gonna
Come, compiled, written and edited by charles c. smith for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
See also Kevin A. Ormsby Between Generations Towards Understanding the Difference in Realities and
Aspirations of the First and Second
Generation of Culturally Diverse Artists, and, George Elliot Clarke The Stage Is Not White —
And Neither Is Canadaforthcoming in Pluralism in the Arts In Canada: A Change is Gonna Come,
compiled, written and edited by charles c. smith for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
For a more in-depth discussion on this issue, see Cornell West The New Cultural Politics of
Difference(1990), Homhi Bhabha The Location of Culture (1994), Frances Henry and Carol Tator
Challenging Racism in the Arts (1998), Althea Prince Being Black (2005), Michael M. Ames Cannibal
Tours and Glass Boxes: the Anthropology of Museums (1992), Natasha Bakht, Mere Song and Dance
(2009), Michael Greyeyes Notions of Indian-ness (2009), Kevin A. Ormsby Between Generations:
Towards Understanding the Difference in Realities and Aspirations of the First and Second Generation
of Culturally Diverse Artists (2009), Little Pear Garden Theatre Collective Demystifying Chinese
Aesthetics (2009), Mennaka Thakker Dance Company and Kalannidhi Fine Arts of Canada Contemporary
Choreography in Indian Dance (2009)

European systems against which others are then measured. Such an approach cuts short any
dialogue about the values and selective traditions of Aboriginal and racialized groups and their
importance in influencing the creative expressions of artists from these communities.