Friday, January 10, 2014

What will 2014 hold for cultural policy and politics? Our musings

As the first full week of 2014 draws to a close, it’s time to put away the last decoration and look ahead to what the year will hold in the realm of cultural policy and politics.  Here are just some of the themes and initiatives we will be watching at The Arts Advocate.

  • Election anticipation is growing in Ontario.  Battle lines are being drawn among the parties, with issues like transit, scandalous spending and job creation expected to dominate the debate.  As in most elections, arts and culture are unlikely to garner more than a mention.  That said, the Ontario PCs have put it on the radar with the December release of their Building Great Cities white paper.  “We understand that arts and culture do more than add vibrancy to our cities.  This is a significant generator of employment for creative Ontarians and a sector with great export potential." they state.  
  • The Ontario government’s review of business support programs, like the creative industry tax credits, holds the potential for some substantial changes to the support of cultural industries – changes promised as soon as this year’s budget.  That said, the screen-based industry has a good relationship with the Ontario government and a history of effective mobilization.  This makes it unlikely that substantial changes the industry won't like are imminent.
  • Also under review, and up for renewal in 2015, are many Canadian Heritage programs that support the cultural sector.  Expect the results of various program evaluations to become available later this year; from there, look for signals on potential changes to these programs.
  • People changes will abound.  The Ontario government is searching for a new CEO of the Ontario Science Centre; in Ottawa, there will be a new Director of the Canada Council for the Arts.
  • In the realm of celebration, expect increased momentum in the lead up to Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.  Canadian Heritage has begun roundtables across the country to engage citizens in the conversation.  
Finally, and not to be lost, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of The Arts Advocate. We plan to make time for some celebration!