About the Summit
This first Americas Cultural Summit brought together leaders in public funding of arts and culture from across the Americas to discuss their role and impact on the rise of cultural citizenship.
Inspired by renowned thought leaders in the arts, participants explored the concept of cultural citizenship through diverse political, social, economic and cultural lenses. The Summit offered a trusting space to exchange ideas and share best practices to advance public support for arts and culture as part of building vibrant, prosperous and inclusive societies.
On behalf of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ministry for Culture of Argentina and the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, we wish to thank you for participating in the inaugural Americas Cultural Summit in Ottawa, Canada. We look forward to future collaborations and exchanges, as we all work towards an inclusive and sustainable arts and culture sector.
The Canada Council’s America’s Cultural Summit Digs into Citizen Engagement in Arts and Culture
The Canada Council’s Americas Cultural Summit Explores Democracy, Technology and Reconciliation
At the Canada Council’s Americas Summmit, participants discuss cultural citizenship.
During the opening night of the Americas Cultural Summit at the National Gallery of Canada, the conversation trended on social media with #CultureCultura18.
Cultural citizenship was the overarching theme of the Summit. Conceptually, cultural citizenship emphasizes the expression of diverse cultural practices and identities alongside full participation in cultural life. It envisions conditions for artists of all kinds to thrive and for citizens to engage with arts and culture as a gesture of personal and collective freedom.
Cultural rights are about the expression of artistic creativity alongside access and participation in cultural life under conditions of equality, human dignity and non-discrimination. They encompass language, cultural and artistic content, cultural heritage, intellectual property rights, author’s rights, minority rights, Indigenous rights and cultural participation, among others.
How can we publicly fund the arts and culture to create and sustain conditions for people to have the freedom to meaningfully choose, participate in and contribute to cultural life, free from discrimination?
Democratizing Technology in the Digital Age
Democratization of technology means increased access to technology and empowerment in its use for more people. New digital tools are drastically influencing how art is made, shared and experienced. Algorithms influence our decision-making more and more, challenging free will. The intrinsic value of the arts and their full digital expression can and should challenge this dynamic of disempowerment.
How do social media, online platforms and open source technology affect the cultural ecosystem for artists and organizations, and how can public funders of arts and culture address digital divides and inequalities?
Arts and Social Change
The arts help us to critically reflect on issues of social justice and imagine different possibilities and a more equitable world. They can empower individuals and communities by giving voice to their stories. Across the Americas and around the world, artists and organizations are using innovative approaches to contribute to civic engagement and social change.
How do artists and organizations engage with communities to alter attitudes, relations, institutions and policies and achieve positive social outcomes? What is the role of public funders in arts and culture in advancing action on social issues?
Dozens of countries, including many in the Americas, have engaged in truth, memory and reconciliation work over the last decades, re-examining their countries’ histories to honour and respect survivors, and to better understand how violence took place. The work of truth and reconciliation focuses on addressing inequality and healing divisions in societies with legacies of violence and discrimination against minoritized, disenfranchised and/or Indigenous communities. Furthermore, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples acknowledges the “urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies….” (excerpt from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.)
How can the arts contribute to the rebuilding and revitalization of relationships towards the goal of reconciliation with communities that have survived violence and oppression, and what is the role of public funders of arts and culture to engage with this vital work?
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are about acknowledging difference and empowering people that have been marginalized and disenfranchised because of race, age, disability, economic status, gender or sexual orientation. Inclusion promotes fair conditions for all persons to participate equally in society, recognizing that not all experience equal access to resources, opportunities or benefits. A diverse arts and culture sector helps counter fragmentation and disenfranchisement, and creates belonging within communities.
How can we create inclusive societies that promote fair conditions for all persons to fully engage in cultural life? How do we advance our thinking around diversity and inclusion in the arts?
The following question guided the Summit: How can government, institutions, practitioners, artists and citizens work together to help build more vibrant, open and pluralist democracies, which respect, promote and protect the right of everyone to take part in cultural life?
Writer, Documentarian, Organizer
Director of the National Library of Argentina, Writer
Consultant, Writer, former Mayor of Medellín
UK Chevening Clore Fellow
Former Secretary of State for Culture, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Director, Indigenous Screen Office
Researcher, Promoter of Open Government in Cultural Sectors
Executive Director, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
Artist, Editor and Founder, Casagrande Art Collective
Filmmaker, Animator and Storyteller
Assistant Professor, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University
CEO, Batuta National Foundation
Minister of Innovation and Culture for the Government of the Province of Santa Fe
Choreographer, Artistic Director of RDCreations and Executive Producer of BOW’T TRAIL
Consulting Director, Asociación de Arte para el Desarrollo
Director of Media Arts, National Endowment for the Arts
Filmmaker, Artist, Author
Artist and activist
Artist, Cultural carrier and Curator
President, Canadian Council for the Americas
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport
Executive Secretary, National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA)
(Canada, Algonquin Nation)
Executive Director, IFACCA
Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts
Director General, Arts Granting Programs, Canada Council for the Arts
Artist and cultural manager
Actress, cultural manager and activist
Minister and Executive Secretary of the National Secretariat of Culture