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fields of practice

Fields of practice are linked to applicant profiles in the portal and describe a general field of artistic activity or an artistic discipline.

Circus Arts

For the Canada Council, circus arts are a form of artistic expression that integrates the mastery of one or more circus techniques recognized and taught by professional circus art schools such as the National Circus School (such as aerial acrobatics, balancing, clowning art, equestrian art, floor acrobatics and juggling).

We encourage and support a range of artistic genres and approaches in contemporary circus art, including social circus led by qualified professional artists.

The practice, discourse and works funded by the Canada Council are those that lead to the creative evolution of this art form and that use circus techniques, often combined with other art forms, in original and innovative artistic concepts.

Dance

The Canada Council supports professional dance artists and organizations in many forms – whether anchored in tradition or based on research and exploration – and expressions – on stage, site-specific, in non-traditional venues, or in a media or digital format.

Activities that fall within dance competitions, a college or university program or research project or that are exclusively educational or academic do not qualify for support.

Support for festivals and presenting activities is in complementarity with support offered by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Deaf and disability arts

For the Canada Council, Deaf and disability arts are diverse artistic practices in which being Deaf, having a disability or living with mental illness are central to the exploration of narrative, form and/or aesthetics. This work carries a high degree of innovation and breaks traditional or dominant artistic conventions to bring distinct perspectives and ways of being into the arts ecology, shifting perceptions and understandings of human diversity. 

The Canada Council recognizes that the advancement of Deaf and disability arts can be disciplinary or interdisciplinary in approach and includes practices such as De’VIA, Mad arts and Mixed Ability or Integrated arts. 

Artists, arts professionals and cultural connectors must self-identify as Deaf, having a disability or living with mental illness and must have a history of public presentation. Organizations must be dedicated to advancing Deaf and disability arts and have Deaf and disability-identified artists, arts professionals or cultural connectors within its leadership team.  

Digital Arts

For the Canada Council, digital arts are any form of artistic expression by professional artists, groups or organizations that responds to the following parameters:

  • Predominantly uses digital technologies throughout the artistic process as a stand-alone digital art work and/or a repurposed digital art work for use with other art works
  • Contributes to expanding vocabulary, impact or form of digital arts in various artistic contexts: critical, cultural, social, technological, etc.

Digital arts can take place in a wide range of contexts and situations, including, for example: interactive systems, immersive environments, web art, disintermediation, networks and disruptive, global eculture, pro-sumerism, remix/mashups, open source culture, surveillance peer-to-peer social systems, etc.

Inter-Arts

For the Canada Council, inter-arts work involves the exploration or integration of multiple traditional and/or contemporary arts disciplines that are merged or mixed in such a way that no single artistic discipline dominates in the final outcome.

The Canada Council recognizes a range of genres of inter-arts work, including:

  • Non-disciplinary : experimentation with new art forms that do not refer to existing arts disciplines
  • Transdisciplinary : methods that cross the arts with other non-arts disciplines to explore a theme or issue

Literature

The Canada Council supports the excellence and vitality of Canadian literature as expressed in a variety of practices and literary genres: fiction, poetry, drama, graphic novel, young people’s literature, literary non-fiction, exploratory literary works using new technologies, spoken word creation, storytelling and literary performance.

The Council supports literary writers and artists in oral literature working in a professional capacity as defined by organizations in the field, including literary publishers and literary magazines, recognized literary associations, specialized presenters like literary festivals and literary fairs, and production organizations.

The Canada Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage provide support to publishers and presenters as a complement to their respective mandates.

The Council does not support academic or scholarly publications.

Media Arts

For the Canada Council, media arts are understood as new media and moving images (film and video) practices. These practices are considered broadly; for example, moving image works may be single or multi-channel, expanded cinema, or installation based. New media art includes practices that involve digital art, social media art, interactive installation, immersive and interactive environment, web-based art, database art, bio art, and robotics. For any artwork to be considered a media artwork, the work must have a significant portion that is media arts.

The Canada Council funds works where the artist (in the case of moving images, the director) initiates and drives the project while maintaining complete creative and editorial control at all times. The Council does not support work intended for the creative industries of film, television and video games.

Artists may seek funding from other sources, provided that funding does not compromise the independence of the project.

Multidisciplinary Activities

For the Canada Council, multidisciplinary activities are driven by arts groups and organizations whose regular activities include 2 or more distinct artistic disciplines where no one discipline is dominant. 

The proposed multidisciplinary activities must be aligned with the professional qualifications of the applicant in each artistic discipline.

Individual applicants have the following options for multidisciplinary activities.

  1. Register a profile in each field of practice and submit applications using the field of practice that is most dominant in the activities.
  2. Register a profile for the main field of practice and include secondary fields of practice within the applications.
  3. Register a profile in the inter-arts field of practice for work that integrates 2 of more fields of practice into a new form.

Music and Sound

For the Canada Council, Music and Sound includes classical music forms from all world cultures, folk, jazz, new music, audio art and other innovative forms of sound expression that use digital technologies as an integral part of the finished work.

The Canada Council supports artistic and culturally-driven music made by professionals. It values distinctive artistic voices that are free from commercial considerations; and supports excellence, innovation, experimentation and creativity in all established and emerging traditions of music.

In Music and Sound, the Canada Council defines a professional artist as someone who:

  • has specialized training in the field, consistent with the standards of their practice.
  • is recognized by other music artists working in the same tradition as an artist of superior achievement or potential.
  • is committed to their own artistic vision, retains creative control and is committed to the creation and/or promotion of original work.
  • has a history of public presentation, receives professional compensation for the public presentation of its work, and actively seeks to maximize the audience for their work, regardless of purely commercial considerations.

Support for festivals and presenting activities is in complementarity with support offered by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Theatre

The Canada Council supports the creation, production and dissemination of professional theatre and recognizes a diverse array of theatrical forms and practices, including, but not limited to:

  • original Canadian work
  • classical and contemporary repertoire
  • theatre for young audiences
  • music theatre
  • puppetry and object theatre
  • physical theatre – including commedia, mime, clown, movement and dance theatre
  • site-specific and environmental theatre
  • live art, micro-performance and interactive theatre
  • interdisciplinary work
  • digital and multi-media performance
  • community engaged arts

The Canada Council does not fund capital projects or significant capital expenses. It does not support basic training such as Bachelors of Fine Arts or Conservatory programs. It does not fund projects in the context of a training institution, including end of term projects

Support for festivals and presenting activities is in complementarity with support offered by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Visual Arts

For the Canada Council, the visual arts is composed of a wide field of practices including photography, fine craft, performance art, independent curating, critical writing and publishing in the visual arts and architecture. It embraces emergent forms and multidisciplinary practices that include, but are not limited to, artist’s books, audio, video, film, and other innovative forms of visual arts expression that use digital technology as an integral part of the finished work.

In Visual Arts, The Canada Council defines a professional artist as someone who:

  • has specialized training in the field, consistent with the standards of their practice.
  • is recognized by other artists working in the same tradition as an artist of superior achievement or potential.
  • is committed to their own artistic vision, retains creative control and is committed to the creation and/or promotion of original work.
  • has a history of public presentation in a professional context, receives professional compensation for the public presentation of their work, and actively seeks to maximize their audience, regardless of purely commercial considerations.

A professional context is one that is recognized by a professional curator, gallery owner, art dealer, publisher, collective of professional artists or jury of professionals in the field.

The Canada Council supports the advancement and public presentation of practices and ideas in the fields of contemporary visual arts, as well as the advancement of public conversation about Canadian contemporary architecture. It values distinctive artistic voices responding to and critically engaging with civic life and culture as well as those committed to pushing boundaries of artistic practices, art forms and genres.

The Canada Council does not fund capital projects or significant capital expenses. It does not support basic training or fund academic projects.