Canada Council Change Agenda

Robert Sir­man, Direc­tor and CEO — Cana­da Council

Canada Council Change Agenda

by Louise Campbell

Much of the dis­cus­sion at the NASO meet­ing in Octo­ber 2012 cen­tered on the Cana­da Coun­cil Change Agen­da. As we all know, this change agen­da will have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the Cana­di­an arts com­mu­ni­ty. Coun­cil took great care to sit­u­ate the change agen­da with­in the glob­al con­text of accel­er­at­ed change, the cur­rent gov­ern­ment and the cur­rent Cana­di­an arts milieu. The ques­tion at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment is how to best serve the cit­i­zen­ry; Coun­cil is assess­ing how best to serve the cit­i­zen­ry through ful­fill­ing it’s man­date. Coun­cil invests in pro­fes­sion­al arts prac­tice. How best can the Cana­di­an cit­i­zen­ry be served through a pro­fes­sion­al arts prac­tice? Some of the major issues at play include pub­lic engage­ment, nation­al and inter­na­tion­al mar­ket access, equi­ty and Canada’s North.

What does this mean for the Canada Council?

Coun­cil wants an on-going dia­logue with the Cana­di­an arts com­mu­ni­ty as it pur­sues the change agen­da. This is being done through nation­al con­sul­ta­tions with advi­so­ry com­mit­tees through­out the 2012–13 sea­son, on-site con­sul­ta­tions held across Cana­da and use of webi­na­rs and social net­work­ing tools. The goal of this dia­logue is to learn where the arts com­mu­ni­ty is at in terms of the artis­tic prac­tice and the var­i­ous per­spec­tives on the change agen­da. Mod­i­fi­ca­tions will be made in response to and only after these con­ver­sa­tions take place.

Council’s under­stand­ing of their cur­rent posi­tion is that their fund­ing enve­lope is sta­bi­lized, mean­ing no cuts or growth in base fund­ing from GOC. In addi­tion to under­tak­ing a thor­ough assess­ment of the ever-evolv­ing arts prac­tices in Cana­da, Coun­cil is under­tak­ing a major self-assess­ment, mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant inter­nal changes to update and stream­line their own way of operating.

Cana­da Coun­cil direc­tor and CEO Robert Sir­man gave a per­son­al goal of want­i­ng to give artists more of a sense of con­trol over their own des­tiny. Ulti­mate­ly, Sir­man feels that what hap­pens in the arts com­mu­ni­ty fol­low­ing the change agen­da will deter­mine if the change agen­da has been successful.

What does this mean for music?

Music as a dis­ci­pline was cit­ed as being well posi­tioned in terms of the major issues, par­tic­u­lar­ly with regards to pub­lic engage­ment. Plac­ing pub­lic engage­ment as a pri­or­i­ty will aid Coun­cil in inter­nal GOC pol­i­tics, as it makes more clear the impor­tance and role of pub­lic fund­ing for the arts in serv­ing the Cana­di­an public.

Spe­cif­ic pro­grams under review include the Oper­at­ing fund­ing and Fly­ing Squad pro­grams. Nation­al and Inter­na­tion­al mar­ket access has received a larg­er fund­ing enve­lope for the 2012–13 season.

While not specif­i­cal­ly a part of the change agen­da, Coun­cil is under inter­nal pres­sure to strict­ly assess orga­ni­za­tion­al effi­ca­cy and respon­si­ble use of funds. Giv­en this pres­sure and the increas­ing com­pe­ti­tion for funds, it is impor­tant to respond to fund­ing guide­lines in a time­ly and appro­pri­ate manner.

Further Resources

Find more infor­ma­tion on the change agen­da on this page of the Cana­da Coun­cil web site, where you can down­load their PDF doc­u­ments, such as:

Read the Director’s mes­sage from Cana­da Council’s 11/12 Annu­al Report here.

Read Kather­ine Carleton’s take on the change agen­da here.


Direct arti­cle link: Cana­da Coun­cil Change Agenda
15th edi­tion CNMN Bul­letin — Win­ter 2013