#CdnCult Times; Volume 7, Edition 4: POWER SYSTEMS

#CdnCult Times; Volume 7, Edition 4: POWER SYSTEMS


In this country, first you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the culture.

(Adapted from Tony Montana)

This edition is all about power and culture.

Where does it come from? Who exercises it? To what end?

Each article seeks to address this question from a different perspective. Christine Quintana looks at the hiring practices of our artistic leaders. Thomas McKechnie examines the late capitalist economic system that defines power in our society and how it is reflected in our cultural institutions. Devon Ostrom and I discuss a recent CBC article on ‘the 1%’ in the arts and what that term means to us.

At the core of each of these articles is cash money. Who controls it and what they do with it plays a huge role in determining who makes what art, and just as importantly, what art doesn’t get made. If we exist in a system where trickle-down neoliberal economic theory is a guiding principal – what culture trickles down through our artistic institutions?

Certainly culture exists outside of funding and institutions, and there will always be culture generated by artists and creators regardless of what is green-lighted. The questions explored in this edition speak to what work we support and who can have the opportunity to make a living as an artist, a key factor influencing culture on the whole.

Michael Wheeler
Co-Editor: #CdnCult



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About the Author

Michael is Artistic Director of SpiderWebShow, which he co-created with Creative Catalyst Sarah Garton Stanley. He was previously Executive Director and Transformation Designer of Generator, where he led the transition from a fee-for-service model named STAF, to the current capacity-building model it operates on. Since 2003, he has run Toronto-based Praxis Theatre, with which he has directed 14 plays and curated several festivals while writing for and running performance-based websites. He teaches regularly at The National Theatre School and Queen's University, where SpiderWebShow is currently in residence.