Canadian Cultural Policy and the Performing Arts

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Bachelor of Performing Arts
Course Code
BPAC 4001
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides an overview of public and private arts funding in Canada, including its historical development, institutional structures and the formulation and execution of municipal, provincial and federal policies. Students will focus on the status of the artist in the contemporary cultural performance milieu through the exploration of institutional and governmental acts, policies, reports, objectives, strategic initiatives and programs. Students will also examine the interplay of forces that influence and shape public arts policy. Through this process they will gain important insights into how public, foundation, private funding and earned revenue can be harnessed to enable meaningful arts production.
Course Content
  • Arts of the state and state of the arts: the beginning to the twentieth century
  • Canadian performing arts from the colony to confederation
  • Government and other support from confederation until Massey
  • The Massey Commission – National identity and the arts; conception and execution
  • The Massey Commission – Implementation and results; the Canada Council
  • Provincial arts funding – Saskatchewan leads the way
  • BC and arts funding
  • Municipal arts funding – City states revisited
  • Vancouver, the city, the region and the arts
  • The Sixties and a creative surge: OFY, LIP, Secretary of State – New times, new players
  • Addressing geography: the creation of the Canada Council Touring Office and its siblings
  • Funding the other – Multiculturalism and other diversities
  • Not Just High Art: The Barbarians are inside the gates and they are hungry!
  • New millennium and new challenges: digital technology in all its aspects
  • Quebec – Another country
  • Where is the Money? The Canada Council, peer review, arms length, Canadian creation, etc.
  • Where is the Money? Other federal funders from DOCH to DFAIT and beyond
  • Where is the Money? The province, the city, foundations and other sources of public funding
  • While You’re Up, Get Me A Grant I: Hands-on grant application exercise
  • While You’re Up, Get Me A Grant II: Hands-on grant application exercise
  • Sympathy for the Devil? The private sector and the arts
  • A phenomenon of festivals: once there were few, now there are hundreds
  • Nation building or welfare for artists? Debates on the philosophy and goals of public funding for the arts
  • Unions, professional organizations and scales and royalties: ongoing income from arts activities
  • Arts service organizations, lobbying, professional organizations and the politics and philosophy of arts funding
Learning Activities

Some of all of the following methods will be used:

  • Lecture
  • Class discussions
  • Oral presentations
  • Group projects
Means of Assessment

Typical Activities and Weighting (in %)

Assignments: 55%
Midterm Exam: 15%
Final Exam: 20%
Participation: 10%
Total: 100%





Specify # of assignments: 2

Specify nature of participation: class discussions, oral presentations, group projects

Number of writing assignments: 2

Sample Assignments

  • Assignments - assignments will be take-home
  • Participation - students are expected to be in attendance at all classes and to participate fully in class projects
  • Midterm - students are required to sit a written test on material as scheduled
  • Oral presentation - each student will choose a topic from the course outline in which to deliver an oral presentation of at least ten minutes. The schedule is to be determined by the instructor.

This is a letter graded course. Passing grade is C.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand how arts funding works in Canada; the forces that shape public cultural policy; the principal arts funding bodies; the role and status of the artist in contemporary Canadian society;
  • Conduct research, and use and adapt information to specific projects;
  • Communicate about their work in oral and written form;
  • Describe Canadian cultural policy as it evolved in the 20th century;
  • Communicate key debates in the development of Canadian cultural policy as it evolved in the 20th century;
  • Communicate key debates in the development of Canadian cultural policy and its evolution;
  • Articulate basic cultural policy goals and practices of the three levels of government in Canada – federal, provincial/territorial and municipal;
  • Identify and access varied and diverse sources of revenue available to artists;
  • Construct a plan to acquire funds necessary to carry out a project in the performing arts.
Textbook Materials

Typical text(s) and resource materials:

Required - Vance, Jonathan. A History of Canadian Culture. Oxford UP. Current Edition.









Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for BPAC 4001
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Winter 2023