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Research in Residence: Arts' Civic Impact

Last updated: August 1, 2023

Mass Culture, in partnership with Canada Council for the Arts, the Culture Statistics Working Group, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Toronto Arts Foundation, conducted research to understand the civic impact of the arts.

Research goal

This research explored the impact of the arts on communities and society at large in the following key areas:

  • Indigenous Cultural Knowledge
  • Climate and Sustainability
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Diversity and Inclusion


Mentored by faculty from post-secondary institutions, six early-career researchers worked with Canadian arts organizations and festivals to develop and test practical tools and approaches for the arts sector to better articulate its impact in communities.


This project resulted in qualitative impact frameworks to enhance the capacity of the Canadian arts sector to develop evidence-based approaches and build a future in which the arts sector in Canada can thrive.

Living Climate Impact, developed by Emma Bugg (Dalhousie University), is a framework that provides indicators to measure arts impact in environmental sustainability and climate action. 

Access in Counterpoint, developed by Aaron Richmond (McGill University), is a framework to measure the impact of making dance accessible to people with blindness and low vision

Spiraling Outwardly For Equity in Public Arts, developed by Shanice Bernicky (Carleton University), is a framework to disrupt and reflect on arts organizations’ approaches to equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

Research Team

The initiative engaged researchers from McGill University, Emily Carr University’s Aboriginal Gathering Place, University of Winnipeg, Dalhousie University, and Carleton University.

The researchers and their areas of focus are:

  • Sydney Pickering, Indigenous Cultural Knowledge
  • Emma Bugg, Climate and Sustainability
  • Aaron Richmond, Health and Wellbeing
  • Shanice Bernicky, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Audree Espada and Missy LeBlanc, Diversity and Inclusion


Please contact Mass Culture at: info@massculture.ca