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Accounting for Culture

 | 
Caroline Andrew
, 
Monica Gattinger
, 
M. Sharon Jeannotte
, 
et al.

Foreword. Accounting for Culture

Examining the Building Blocks of Cultural Citizenship

Judith A. LaRocque

Texte intégral

1The following are the opening remarks made by Judith A. LaRocque, Deputy Minister for the Department of Canadian Heritage, at a colloquium held in Ottawa in November 2003 celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Canadian Cultural Research Network and the tenth anniversary of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

2On behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage, I would like to welcome you all here tonight on an occasion that marks a number of important milestones.

3First, it is the fifth anniversary of the Canadian Cultural Research Network (CCRN), which held its inaugural colloquium in Ottawa in June 1998.

4I am pleased that the CCRN has chosen to meet here again five years later, in partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage and the University of Ottawa, to examine the theme of Accounting for Culture: Examining the Building Blocks of Cultural Citizenship.

5For the Department of Canadian Heritage, this colloquium also marks a couple of significant events: the tenth anniversary of our creation and the launch of the Canadian Cultural Observatory’s new on-line service, http://www.culturescope.ca.

6When the department was formed ten years ago, many wondered about the relationship between its two halves. Just what did culture have to do with citizenship? Why would anyone try to bring together the people who worked with artists and museums and broadcasters with the people who were concerned about official languages, multiculturalism, and citizen participation?

7Avec l’Université d’Ottawa, je suis certaine que nous allons faire du progrès au cours des deux prochains jours pour répondre aux questions que je viens de poser.

8It is important that we think hard about this because there is a growing realization among cultural policy-makers that economic justifications of cultural and heritage activities are no longer adequate (if they ever were) for policy and advocacy purposes.

9We are increasingly concerned with the social and citizenship dimensions of culture. The social dimension does not just mean better measures of consumption and demand for cultural goods. It means understanding how Canadian culture affects citizens and how Canadian citizens interact with and shape their culture. It means understanding cultural diversity, citizen participation, and community building.

10As Canada becomes a more diverse place, the sources and kinds of cultural expression become more diverse. We need to understand these cultural changes if our policies are going to help us to benefit from this diversity. We need information on the characteristics of cultural change, and on the effects of cultural participation on people and the motivations which drive them.

11Cultural participation is one of the key tools people use to build their sense of attachment and connection to each other. Cultural participation also bridges fault lines and builds common understandings where only difference existed.

12Engagement with culture is hard to distinguish from community development and the growth of citizenship. When people engage with culture, they necessarily engage with each other, with people like them in some way, and inevitably with people who are different.

13Cultural policy has the potential therefore to reach out beyond the traditional realm of industry, art, and museum to influence citizenship, values, tolerance, and the very construction of Canadian society.

14To support these new policy directions, we obviously need different data than we have now. But our needs go beyond data. We need scholarship to understand the relationship between culture and society. We also need theory to link culture to its social effects, and we need conceptual frameworks to help us focus in on the indicators that will really tell us what is going on.

15That is why I find the dual themes of this colloquium so interesting and so timely.

16Under the Accounting for Culture theme, you are going to look at new tools to support planning, reporting, and assessment of cultural policies and actions. And under the Cultural Citizenship theme, you are going to link these new tools to “rebuilding the case for culture,” specifically, examining culture’s role in supporting new understandings of citizenship and civic participation.

17I think that by doing this alone you are breaking important new ground. However, you are doing even more. By inviting the participation of both researchers and policymakers at this colloquium and by focusing clearly on “knowledge transfer” as a key element, you are building a bridge between those who think about cultural citizenship and those who will have to address the new policy imperatives of diversity and inclusion.

18In the coming months, as Ottawa undertakes the “changing of the guard,” I believe that there will be a huge appetite for new ideas, for creative approaches to persistent problems, and for what David Zussman of the Public Policy Forum has termed “a more evidence-based approach to public policy.”

19I view this colloquium as an important step in creating those ideas and building the evidence base that we will need to address the emerging issues surrounding cultural citizenship.

20Une autre partie très importante du colloque, et un événement marquant pour le ministère du Patrimoine canadien, est le lancement du service en ligne de l’Observatoire culturel canadien, http://www.culturescope.ca.

21L’Observatoire culturel canadien est une initiative du ministère du Patrimoine canadien, avec le support du programme Culture Canadienne en ligne. Sa mission est de suivre les développements, disséminer l’information et procurer des occasions de réseautique à ceux qui abordent le genre de problèmes et de questions qui seront soulevés au colloque durant les deux prochains jours.

22Culturescope.ca est destiné à devenir le “guichet unique” de l’information culturelle au Canada. Et j’espère que ça deviendra une des grandes ressources de la base de preuves à laquelle je me référais plus tôt, de même qu’un outil pour soutenir l’échange continu de connaissances entre les communautés de la recherche et des politiques.

23Le développement de culturescope.ca a tiré bénéfice de deux ans de réactions en provenance de la communauté culturelle du Canada. Et il forme une collaboration grandissante entre tous les niveaux de gouvernement, et entre des partenaires privés et sans but lucratif.

24Jusqu’à maintenant, culturescope.ca est soutenu grâce à la participation de plusieurs partenaires, incluant Statistique Canada, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, la Conférence canadienne des arts, le Réseau des villes créatives et le Réseau canadien de recherche culturelle, pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns.

25En fait, le Réseau canadien de recherche culturelle a accepté de participer en donnant une période d’essai à culturescope.ca, par la création de groupes de travail de politiques en ligne qui reflètent les thèmes discutés durant les deux prochain jours. J’espère que culturescope.ca va effectivement élargir le débat, les discussions et le “momentum” jusqu’à la prochaine occasion de se rassembler.

26With that, it gives me great pleasure to launch both this colloquium and culturescope.ca and to invite you all to participate in the knowledge transfer and mobilization that will take place in the next two days.

27Thank you and have a great colloquium. Merci. Je vous souhaite un colloque formidable.

Auteur

Deputy Minister
Department of Canadian Heritage

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2005

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