Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Canada Council remaking funding: no more than 10 non-discipline-specific programs

Simon Brault
The Canada Council for the Arts is developing an entirely new funding delivery model that will reduce the number of programs from the current 142 discipline-specific programs to no more than ten broad, national non-disciplinary programs by 2016. 

This could ultimately mean major change for the current writing and publishing program as publishers have experienced it for many years. (That envelope alone was worth $3.25 million to cultural and literary magazines in 2013.) 

Simon Brault, the director and CEO of the Council told its annual public meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday
"Like many other arts councils here in Canada and around the world, we need to simplify our administrative and decision-making processes so that artists and organizations can devote more of their creativity and energy to their art practices and interactions with the public, and less trying to wade through the maze of an excessive number of programs....
"Our aim is to arm the Council with less than ten major national, non-disciplinary programs that cover all fields of artistic practice and its outreach in Canada and the world, and that take into account the specific issues of current arts disciplines and emerging art forms."
There will be a specific program supporting Aboriginal arts for First Nations, Metis and Inuit artists as well as allowing them to take advantage of the other programs. 
"The current distribution of funding envelopes by arts disciplines and specialized areas of intervention (publishing, Aboriginal arts, equity, etc.) will be the starting point for the new funding model," [he said.] "Nobody will lose any funding because of this new model. The intention is not to modify the actual allocations of funding or to destabilize arts organizations. It is to create a new baseline to fund Council's priorities with new investments by the government."
The project to remake funding mechanisms began in earnest four months ago, soon after Brault was appointed to be director and CEO. The changes will be carried out over the next 18 months. 
"We will be guided by the deliberations of peer committees who continue to evaluate proposals and analyze the state of the disciplines and fields of practice, while proposing improvements to existing programs. The exercise also draws on the vast experience and expertise of all of the directors, administrators and employees of the Arts Disciplines Division (dance, theatre, media arts, music, writing and publishing and visual arts) and the offices of Aboriginal Arts, Equity, Inter-Arts and Audience and Market Development. As well, it mobilizes our employees in Arts Services, Research and Evaluation, Communications and Information Technology. 
"This is a high priority project for the management and board of the Canada Council. It is key to the renewed leadership we must practice so that the arts sector can successfully rise to the technological, demographic, financial, historical and sociological challenges shaping a future whose waves we will navigate for the benefit of all Canadians."
Among the many items being funded through or administered by the current writing and publishing branch are grants to literary, cultural and art magazines, the public lending right, various writing and publishing prizes (including the Governor General's Literary Awards), arts promotion, readings programs,  professional writers, travel grants, writers residencies, book publishing supports and block grants, translation grants, leadership development and visiting foreign artists programs in various disciplines.

Full text of Simon Brault remarks



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