Canadian Cultural Policy

May 4th 2021, 1:15pm-2:45pm ET


Canadian Cultural Policy

May 4th 2021, 1:15pm-2:45pm ET

Chair: Mary Elizabeth Luka (University of Toronto)
Format: Pre-recorded presentations with live Q&A

Presenters:
Mary Elizabeth Luka (University of Toronto), Claudia Sicondolfo (York University), Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte (Simon Fraser University), Debbie Ebanks (York University) and Raegan Swanson (The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archive; Dundee University)
Paper Title: Archive Counter/Archive: Activating Principles of Respect in Archival Policy Development
Paper Abstract:
Archive/Counter-Archive (A/CA: https://counterarchive.ca/) is a six-year partnership project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSRHC) “dedicated to activating and remediating audiovisual archives created by Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis, Inuit), the Black community and People of Colour, womxn, LGBT2Q+ and immigrant communities. Political, resistant, and community-based, counter-archives disrupt conventional narratives and enrich our histories.”
Embodied within the A/CA commitment is the intent to develop policy protocols and recommendations that are based on principles of respect and that have the potential to challenge and change regulatory and legislative approaches to the inclusion, preservation and uses of increasingly prolific forms and amounts of media content for marginalized and underserved archives and media-making communities. At the December 2019 A/CA Symposium, researchers initially discussed compiling evolving policy discoveries and recommendations throughout the six-year project in the form of a White Paper, to be delivered to SSHRC and university Ethics Review Boards (ERBs), while also becoming a contribution to a potential scholarly publication. Since then, the very nature of how we gathered and discuss these matters has shifted more deeply into considerations about how to activate and support the community arts and media activists, artists and organizations we partner with.
The paper proposed for the conference at McMaster will address outdated policy and procedural considerations for working with community archives currently imposed by research and ethics boards as well as constraints resulting from legislation or regulatory limits. Many of these boards and policies purport to encourage knowledge mobilization or sharing (for-profit or for social benefit) through the increased circulation of media material. However, A/CA participants observe a lack of evidence of synchronous reporting, archiving, and ethical policies in place aimed at prioritizing community members and their archival objects and knowledges above the procedures and protocols of the researchers--or more precisely--the ERBs or legislation in place.
Comprising seven case studies, and 28 official core partners (made up of representatives from universities, provincial and federal archives, artist-run centres, community organizations across Canada), the project involves more than 100 collaborating artists, academics and activists. In this presentation, members of A/CA’s Policy & IP, Knowledge Architectures, and Principles of Respect working groups will delineate the consultative and collaborative ecosystem that is evolving from a commitment to Indigenous methodologies, respectful and inclusive protocols for working with community archives, reflections from annual meetings, and deep dives into current case studies, including the Margaret Perry Collection, the Winnipeg Film Group and Urban Shaman. Despite the many complex sets of relations in Canadian settler society, A/CA’s commitments remain firmly grounded within the various communities and case studies we are working alongside, attempting to directly address and activate (re)conciliation and related ethical commitments. Rooted within a broader understanding of data sovereignty, moral rights and ethical frameworks as the foundation for sharing or withholding intellectual permissions, acknowledgments and property rights, we will share how A/CA is mobilizing a multi-layered, and multi-year online platform for communication, presentation and facilitating open-ended resolution attempts for vulnerable digital archives.

Robin Nelson (MacEwan University)
Paper Title: Digitizing Governance: The Evolution of Community Museum Policy in Ontario
Paper Abstract:
According to a policy translation perspective, museum policies are the relationships mobilized to support and enact museums. New technologies have (re)shaped those relationships, changing the governance of the sector. When the Province of Ontario introduced a museum policy (1981) and standards of operation attached to an operating grant (1984), the use of computers in museums was limited. The Ontario Museum Association (OMA) then led an automation project, encouraging museums to use new technologies and providing a computer advisory service. Today, digital platforms have become key to the OMA’s resource development and training activities. The province has also adapted to new realities, providing funding for digital initiatives and updating the standards to include electronic systems. Museums are expected to respond to new developments. For example, they are now asked to show social media plans to meet the provincial community standard.
The proposed paper considers how digital technologies have changed community museum governance in Ontario from the OMA’s automation project in 1986 to the Province’s expectation for a social media plan as part of the 2016 operating grant application. Using data from interviews and archival research, it will discuss changing regulatory expectations and means of governing. After outlining the intersections between museum policy and digital technologies, the paper will critically reflect on the implications of the redefined relationships. In particular, museums’ relationship to knowledge and information has changed, which results in a redefinition of roles for those governing the sector. Second, technology has altered how time is understood, privileging those with the capacity to act quickly. The paper contributes to understanding the critical role technology has played in museum governance, (re)creating particular power dynamics as relationships are (re)shaped and resources become more or less accessible to specific institutions.

Véronique Guèvremont and Diane Saint-Pierre, with the collaboration of Iris Richer (Université Laval)
Paper Title: Recognizing and supporting the specificity of “digital cultural goods and services” in the digital environment: Comparative study of innovative measures/ instruments (10 case studies)
Paper Abstract:
In recent years, Canada and Québec have been negotiating free trade agreements that contain binding commitments on electronic commerce. Although cultural exception clauses have the effect of excluding cultural industries from these agreements, doubts remain about their scope for cultural contents circulating in the digital environment. A legal uncertainty surrounds Canada's and Québec's ability to implement cultural policies, to promote their cultural contents on the Internet. Failure to clearly recognize the dual nature of cultural goods and services online could thus limit Canada's sovereign right to adopt policies which protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions on its territory, as well as at the national level under the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
Located at the junction of three fields of study ― international law of culture, trade liberalization agreements, and states' cultural policies ― this research project focuses on three main objectives: 1) identify new legal arguments to allow Canada and Québec to reaffirm the dual nature of cultural goods and services accessible through the Internet; 2) identify and compare the most innovative cultural policies in support of the various links in the value chain of cultural expressions in the digital environment, with the goal of identifying best practices that can inform policies and programs targeting Québec and Canadian audiences; and (3) identify cultural clauses that allow states to protect their culturally appropriate cultural policies in a context of electronic commerce liberalization. This project aims at responding to a need expressed not only by Canada and Québec, but also by the civil society and civil organizations in the cultural sector that act locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally (UNESCO).
Based on the review and analysis of relevant government documentation (2013-2019) produced by ten states (France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, Catalonia, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation) and two supranational organizations (the European Union and the Council of Europe), the paper will discuss the reflections and observations resulting from this research on the most innovative legal and policy measures / instruments (IPAs) with regard to ""digital cultural goods and services."" This paper is based on a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

M. Sharon Jeannotte (University of Ottawa)
Paper Title: Digital Platforms and Analogue Policies: Governance issues in Canadian Cultural Policy
Paper Abstract:
Governance is about choices – about both what to govern and how to govern it. In Canada, a complex set of public action instruments (or instruments of governance) have been used over the past 100 years or so to encourage, regulate and support Canadian cultural expression. During this period, governments were primarily motivated by three normative imperatives: national identity, economic vitality, and cultural diversity. One question now facing governments, as digital platforms disrupt the equilibria of economic, social and cultural life, is whether these motivations continue to be salient issues. A second question, if the first one is answered in the affirmative, is whether the traditional instruments of governance can be adapted to a media environment dominated by foreign entities that have so far managed to circumvent most of the legal, regulatory and financial instruments traditionally used by Canadian governments to protect and promote domestic cultural expression. This presentation will explore the cultural stakes for Canada in the digital platform environment to determine if the government’s normative perspectives are still valid and if they need to change. It will also examine options within the field of taxation – one of the most prominent public action instruments governing cultural policy – to explore the limits of political agency in this disruptive environment.

Pascale Chapdelaine (Faculty of Law, University of Windsor) and Jaqueline McLeod (Department Rhetoric, Writing, and Communication, University of Winnipeg)
Paper Title: Contested Sovereignties: Canada’s Regulation of Communication and Culture and the Networked Society
Paper Abstract:
This paper queries the foundations, legitimacy, and other ongoing challenges of Canada’s media and communication regulation through the concept of sovereignty. We look at sovereignty from various vantage points, i.e. State, personal data subject, and transnational digital platform sovereignty, and at how the tensions between these different levels of sovereignty are (should be) addressed in ongoing legislative reform and policy in Canada. We analyse the extent to which new methods of delivery and access to content through online digital platforms, coupled with massive personal data extraction, call for revisiting the traditional assumptions and objectives of Canada’s regulation of culture and content. More specifically, we look at the regulatory challenges regarding broadcasting and privacy law reform, and at the interaction between the two bodies of law in relation to Canada’s cultural policy.
We bring cross-disciplinary perspectives (in law, communications, media, and technology theory) to enable policy and language analysis. Our research methodology is mixed. We rely on rhetorical and discursive analysis to examine the language of current laws and recommendations, to identify potentially conflicting values animating communications’ regulation and how they may be (ir)reconcilable.
Applying the theories of McLuhan—in particular the ones about space, borders, environment/anti-environment and change—we will consider how he dealt with questions of individual and collective rights in the face of media change. Although he frequently cited the dissolution of borders, government and politics—of traditional forms of organization and affiliation—his probes and theories nonetheless turned on the exercise of humanistic leadership and intervention, and thus he was working in his day with interlocking questions similar to those we raise about the efficacy of state power and nation-based regulations, about protecting and nurturing individuals and communities, and about limiting corporate and technologized power.
Our analysis will drive toward considering options for (re)framing issues deserving regulatory and legal intervention, and the justifications therefore.

Kait Kribs (York/Ryerson University)
Paper Title: "Our Band is a Bandcamp Band": Making Music and Earning a Living in the Platform Era
Paper Abstract:
Digitization has had significant repercussions for the sharing and consuming of music commodities. For years, the Recording Industry Association of America flexed its litigious muscle in an attempt to stop so-called piracy, but failed miserably to curb illegal file sharing; and in Canada, the approach was litigiously reticent (if not altogether negligent). Only recently have the North American music industries begun reconfiguring themselves around the distribution, circulation, and presentation of music online via digital marketplace and streaming platforms. While it is important to examine how music is sold and how digital platforms reshape this exchange, I want to draw due attention to the following reality: when changes are made to the methods for selling music, it ultimately alters how artists are compensated — and usually not for the better. Consequently, the effectiveness of the policies and regulations designed to support or protect sound recordings become outmoded.
Within the last few years, however, in Canada, there has been great change afoot at the policy level, with several committees researching and examining the state of the music industry in a digital world. This paper asks: How have these recent reviews and reports addressed key changes to musician labour in the platform era? How have they failed to? What possible structural supports can be offered to ensure ongoing, sustainable music creation, production, and distribution in Canada?
The paper’s central argument asserts that there is a disconnect between how musicians see themselves and conceptualize their labour practices, and how industry officials understand and characterize musician labour. Employing a cultural industries approach that uses a combination of document analysis and the data collected from eight semi-structured interviews with musicians from across Canada, I assess the degree to which these platforms enable or constrain musician labour with the ultimate goal of introducing viable policy solutions that address the unique challenges faced by Canadian musicians in the platform era.


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