The new creative edge: how contemporary cultural workers are transforming Canadian suburbs


Project Summary:

This project is an empirical study of cultural production and creative practice in the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ suburbs of Toronto (Etobicoke and Mississauga) and Vancouver (North Vancouver and Surrey) – two city-regions in Canada with the highest concentrations of people working in cultural and creative occupations. In public and private imagination, artistic creativity is often associated with the energy and intensity of ‘authentic’ places in the centres of large cities. Yet, as scholarly studies and reports commissioned by Canadian arts organizations document, the process of gentrification is steadily erasing spaces of cultural production and displacing artists from downtown artistic neighbourhoods to suburban locations. However, these same studies offer minimal discussion of how artists function as cultural workers on the suburban periphery. This project examines how suburban cultural workers relate to the suburbs as place, but also as expressions of lifestyle and values. The objectives are to investigate the functional advantages and disadvantages of suburban cultural production, the relationship of cultural workers to suburban landscapes and lifestyles, and the impact that cultural workers have on the form and character of Canadian suburbs. It extends scholarly understanding of how the creative process differently unfolds for practicing suburban cultural workers and how it is variously affected through the presence or absence of cultural infrastructure and cultural planning initiatives.

Project Description:

Project Type:
Funded

Project Role:
Principal Investigator

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Year
Start Date:
Apr
2006
End Date:
Apr
2010

Funder:
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Year Project Started:
2006

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