Dance Mapping News
The Canada Dance Mapping Study moved ahead on many fronts in 2012, with more work planned for 2013. The Study’s first major research undertaking, a literature review, was completed in 2012. It synthesized more than 200 published reports and studies, to provide a snapshot of what is currently known about the dance field in Canada, and to identify gaps in existing knowledge. Look for it on the 'Findings' page in the near future.
The gaps are significant: there is a dearth of information on dance activities outside the traditional professional sector, on dance of non-European/Western origin and for many of the country’s regions. The review also underscored the lack of up-to-date data.
With the insights that the literature review provided, we defined our research priorities, ‘chunkified’ them (broke them down into manageably-sized chunks) and launched several.
The first to get underway was the dance inventory, which created a database of membership-based dance associations across the country (professional, recreational, competitive, participatory, educational, etc.). The inventory revealed some fascinating facts about our dance landscape. For example, it identified more than 90 dance genres practiced in Canada. The inventory provides us with an extensive list of contacts where we had few before. We'll use these contacts as a starting point for a survey of those who dance or make dance (a ‘vocational’ survey as described below). We’ll also use the inventory data as the basis of an interactive online map we’re developing for the Council website. Although not originally intended as a publishable piece in itself, we’ll transform the inventory from what is basically a very large spreadsheet into a standalone document which we'll publish on the Council web site.
Soon after the inventory was completed we launched a survey of public arts funders. The goal of this work was to determine the existing level of public monies available to dance in Canada. The online survey was distributed to more than 70 public funders, and yielded a good response rate of greater than 50%. The respondents included all significant arts funders identified. Although the intent of the Canada Dance Mapping Study is also to identify non-public funding sources as an element of the map we're drawing, the public funding piece was more easily defined and of a smaller scope and thus we were able to include it in the past year's work. The contracted research firm, Nordicity, is preparing a final report and once it's reviewed, approved and translated we will share it through the Council web site.
In tandem with the public funding survey we started a piece of research in-house: the Council’s Research and Evaluation Office is compiling a literature and data review of dance dissemination, public participation and engagement (or ‘dance audiences’, for short). As with the initial literature review, this snapshot of the most recent audience data will inform the type of primary research we might do in the future. A final report should be ready in February and available on the Council web site shortly afterwards.
Our main research focus for 2013 will be a vocational survey of dance. Specifically this online survey will capture key characteristics of the individuals and organizations most closely involved in dance in Canada, the makers and doers of dance. We call these the ‘core participants’ of the dance field. This research is needed to start filling some of the key gaps in our knowledge of the field as identified in the literature review.
The survey's scope will include all genres and all contexts (commercial, social, recreational, competitive, professional, etc.) in which dance is practiced in Canada today. We aim to cast a very wide net for our survey, and collect data that will illuminate several characteristics of the dance field:
• Volume, in terms of the number of people actively involved in dance,
• Reach, in terms of where dance occurs geographically in the country, and
• Variety, in terms of the motivations to dance and the dozens of different genres active.
We expect to issue a Request for Proposal in February, contract a researcher shortly afterwards, and devote much of 2013 to carrying out this far-reaching survey.
“Absolutely, it’s natural. I believe that if you try it just once you will love it and you will always want to continue dancing.”
The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) commissioned the video “Why I dance” to support the goals of its Ontario Dances program. The video complements our own Canada Dance Mapping Study in communicating the joy of participation, the diversity of dance practices, and the range of motivations for dancing found in our country today. View "Why I dance" on the OAC's YouTube channel.
As indicated below, we have contracted the research firm Nordicity to conduct a study on public arts funding to dance in Canada. For the study, Nordicity is surveying a large selection of public funders including government ministries, department and agencies, arm’s length agencies and foundations, and crown corporations.
If your organization received a link to this online survey from Nordicity, we encourage you to complete the questionnaire to ensure that your organization’s contributions to dance are captured in the results. Even if your organization does not define itself as a funder of dance or arts and culture, you may still be supporting dance activity through your programs and we hope you will complete the survey to the best of your ability.
If your organization did not receive a link from Nordicity but think that it should be included in this research, please email Marlene Alt at the Canada Council for the Arts or phone (613) 566-4414, ext. 5501.
Please note: To qualify as a public funder in the context of this research you must be one of the following:
- Government ministry or department
- Government agency
- Arms-length agency or foundation
- Crown corporation
You must also directly distribute public funds or in-kind support through grant, award and other support programs. For the purposes of this study, public funds are defined as funds being directly distributed on behalf of a government ministry, department or agency that originate from government tax revenue streams.
If you are a municipal level government or arm’s length organization, please note that in order to keep the scope of the survey at a manageable level we have opted to include only these cities:
- cities listed in Statistics Canada’s Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA), and
- suburban cities surrounding the CMA that have a population of 100,000 or more, and
- provincial and territorial capitals, as applicable.
The Canada Council contracted the research firm Nordicity to collect data from Canadian public arts funders regarding their support to dance. The funders surveyed for this study will include all levels of government – community, municipal, provincial, territorial and federal – as well as foundations that allocate taxpayer dollars to dance. The study also aims to capture data on public funding to dance from non-arts funders, for example, from health or education programs. Nordicity’s work will be completed in November 2012, with the submission of a final report on these findings.
June 6, 2012:
A key part of the Dance Mapping research will involve visiting communities across Canada to make presentations about the study and to have conversations with you about dance in Canada. You are cordially invited...
April 2, 2012:
The Canada Council launched its new blog last week, which included a post about the dance mapping study. Visit the blog.
It is early April and our Phase 1 work is winding down, with the completion of the research contracted to MDR Communications (described below) and the dance inventory database. Also, a working group from the Steering Committee met last week to determine the next steps needed to launch Phase 2 work. In the coming weeks we hope to share the fruits of those initiatives through the Council web site or the blog.
With all the other initiatives underway we decided to delay the start of the government funding data study mentioned below. It will now be tendered in April, with the research to start in May.
February 10, 2012:
In tandem with the research being carried out in Phase 1 we have initiated two smaller studies that will feed directly into the Phase 2 work (to start in April 2012).
The first is a dance inventory study, which aims to compile a data base of all membership-based dance organizations across the country (professional, recreational, competitive, participatory, educational, etc.) A Request for Quote (RFQ) was issued for this project and Montreal-based consultant Lys Stevens was selected. The work is currently underway and Ms. Stevens will produce a final report by March 31, 2012.
The second study aims to capture data related to dance funding from all levels of government across the country. The RFQ for this study will be issued shortly, with the work to be completed by March 31, 2012.
January 17, 2012:
In January Communications MDR submitted their final report, a scalable plan for conducting original research in Phase 2. This report will be used as a basis for determining the next research projects.
January 7, 2012:
In December Communications MDR submitted literature review and gaps analysis documents. These were reviewed at a meeting of the full Steering Committee on December 21 to provide feedback to the researchers. Once the literature review is finalized it will be posted on this web site. In addition, the Steering Committee identified the following research gaps as highest priority for follow-up research, in descending order:
- Who is part of the dance field in Canada
- Financial and related support of the field
- Infrastructure, including physical spaces, human resources and support structures, such as member associations
- Economic and social impacts
Other areas for later research include arts in education, dance training, access to domestic and international markets, and integration of new technology.
History and the context of dance today were also considered of high priority but it was thought that these could be tackled outside the framework of formal research projects.
November 22, 2011:
Phase 1 of the research for the dance mapping study is focused on a review of existing literature, with a synthesis of key findings, identification of gaps in existing data, and a proposal for how to fill those gaps. The Canada Council issued a Request for Proposal to secure a consultant for this Phase 1 contract. A subcommittee of the study’s Steering Committee, along with the research staff of the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council, carefully reviewed the proposals and selected Communications MDR. The team at Communications MDR, based in Montreal, includes Maria De Rosa, Marilyn Burgess and Philip Szporer. The research is currently underway and Communications MDR will produce a final report by January 18, 2012.
Contact Marlene Alt, Project Coordinator, at 1-800-263-5588 ext. 5501 or e-mail Marlene Alt.