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  2. Americas Cultural Summit 2018
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About the Summit

This first Americas Cultural Summit brings 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 will explore the concept of cultural citizenship through diverse political, social, economic and cultural lenses. The Summit offers 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.



Cultural Citizenship

Cultural citizenship is 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.



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Cultural Rights

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?


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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?


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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?


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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?


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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?




Other speakers to be announced soon

Astra Taylor

Astra Taylor (USA)

Writer, Documentarian, Organizer

Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel (Argentina)

Director of the National Library of Argentina, Writer

Leandro Carvalho

Leandro Carvalho (Brazil)

Former Secretary of State for Culture, Artist

Jesse Wente

Jesse Wente (Canada)

Director, Indigenous Screen Office

Mauricio Delfín Pacheco

Mauricio Delfín Pacheco (Peru)

Director, Asociación Civil Solar

Elizabeth Silkes

Elizabeth Silkes (USA)

Executive Director, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

Patricia Ariza

Patricia Ariza (Colombia)

Producer, Director, Actress, Playwright, Poet and Manager of the Corporacion Colombiana de Teatro

Cristóbal Bianchi

Cristóbal Bianchi (Chile)

Artist, editor and scholar

María Laura Ruggiero

María Laura Ruggiero (Argentina)

Filmmaker, animator, narrative designer

Eliza Chandler

Eliza Chandler (Canada)

Assistant Professor, School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University

María Claudia Parias Duran

Maria Claudia Parias Duran (Colombia)

CEO, Batuta National Foundation

María de los Ángeles González

María de los Ángeles González (Argentina)

Minister of Innovation and Culture for the Government of the Province of Santa Fe

Miguel Rubio Zapata

Miguel Rubio Zapata (Peru)

Theatre Director, Researcher, Founding Member of the Yuyachkani Cultural Group


Event Program

The Summit will be guided by the following question: 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?


Time Description Location
18:30 Opening Reception National Gallery of Canada
Time Description Location
8:00 Registration opens National Gallery of Canada
8:30 Welcome by Algonquin Elder
9:00 Opening Remarks
9:30 Keynote Address: Astra Taylor
10:30 Morning Break
10:45 Cultural Citizenship
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Cultural Rights
14:00 Cultural Connectors in the Digital Age
15:15 Afternoon Break
15:30 Truth, Memory and Reconciliation
17:00 Close of Day
18:00 Tour of Canadian History Hall (optional) Canadian Museum of History
19:00 Reception and Dinner
Artistic Performance: Cris Derksen Orchestral Powwow
Time Description Location
9:00 Reflections on Day One National Arts Centre
9:30 Keynote Address: Alberto Manguel
10:30 Morning Break
10:45 Arts Funders Roundtable
12:15 Lunch
13:45 Arts and Social Change
15:00 Open Discussion Sessions
16:15 Afternoon Break
16:30 Plenary Report and Wrap-Up
17:30 Closing by Algonquin Elder
17:45 Close of Day
20:00 Closing Event Âjagemô Gallery/Canada Council for the Arts
Time Description Location
-- Optional Cultural Programming Various venues

Coming to Ottawa

Ottawa is Canada’s capital, a dynamic city of more than one million people. The city is situated within the extensive traditional territories of the Algonquin people, an Indigenous First Nation that has occupied the Ottawa River watershed area for thousands of years. Ottawa is a place where you can discover Canada’s proud heritage at impressive national sites and famous landmarks, as well as world-class museums and galleries displaying stunning national collections and special exhibitions from Canada and around the world.



Registration forms have been sent to all invited participants!
Participants must register to attend the Americas Cultural Summit.
If you have not received a registration form or need assistance, please contact:






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