Art for Social Change

Summer greetings friends and colleagues!

I am delighted to report that activities at the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC) and the Art for Social Change (ASC!)research project are in full flight with existing projects and new initiatives. It feels like our work becomes more and more relevant in a world that cries out for more creative, inclusive and progressive action.

In the final year of the five-year ASC! Project, our national research team is busy collating and reporting back on our explorations. I am happy to confirm that art for social change (ASC) is burgeoning across Canada as more and more people recognize the power of co-creation in community-engaged arts to create positive change for individuals, whole communities and for policy creation. One of our goals is to share knowledge and news about these arts practices with a wider public. We regularly update the ICASC website with new resources, including both text and video materials from our team, as well as from colleagues in Canada and abroad.

It will be no surprise that one of our major findings is the need for more research and more exchange within our own sector and with others working for positive change.The Art of Changing the World (ACW) 2017our gathering in Ottawa in early November, is a direct response to what we have heard from folks across the country in hundreds of conversations and inquiries. More about ACW 2017 below!

And on another topic, our two-year Masters program in art for social change at Simon Fraser University is now well into its third of six semesters. I am happy to report that all is going very well! We are planning to offer the program again in Fall 2018.

Read the newly-published Re-approaching community development through the arts: a ‘critical mixed methods’ study of social circus in Quebec (Community Development Journal 1-18, 2017) article by ASC! social circus lead Dr. Jennifer Beth Spiegel in collaboration with ASC! team member Stephanie N. Parent. They examine how social circus – using circus arts with equity-seeking communities – has been affecting personal and community development among youth with marginalized lifestyles.

The ART of Changing the World (ACW) 2017

November 3 to 5
Carleton University, Ottawa

We invite you to join in a unique gathering of artists, activists, researchers, scholars, and others working in the field of community-engaged arts/ art for social change (ASC) to actively participate in cross-sector dialogue and action-oriented planning about the present and future of this vibrant and fast-growing field of practice in Canada.

This is not the usual conference!
Our workshops, dialogues, installations, and hands-on learning are designed to provide space for exchange and creative exploration across disciplinary and sector boundaries, as well as to provide opportunities for networking and relationship building.

We will have sessions on a range of topics, including: How are artists from Indigenous and Settler communities acting in response to agendas for reconciliation? How best can we create and sustain partnerships and collaborative relationships? How can a range of evaluative approaches be used to measure the impact of our work? What ethical issues emerge in these processes as well as in other aspects of our work for social change through the arts? What frameworks and languages can best be used to frame the work that we do – with funders, potential partners and changemakers from other sectors?

The ART of Changing the World 2017 is the final public event of the five-year Art for Social Change (ASC!) national research project led by the International Centre of Art for Social Change (ICASC) at Simon Fraser University. Artists, scholars, students and change makers from diverse public and private sector organizations have been working together to conduct research on art for social change practices in Canada. ACW 2017 is a response to what we heard and learned from people in this extraordinary field.

Space is limited, so please register early! 

Our program guide and more details can be found on our website:

We hope you will be able to attend and share your knowledge, perspectives and insights at ACW 2017 and look forward to seeing you in Ottawa!

Early Bird Rates
Available Now

Lord Elgin Hotel
Special Rate

Delegates may book at a special rate with the Lord Elgin Hotel in downtown Ottawa. To book, please call the hotel directly:
1-800-267-4298 or
or email and quote “SFU – Carleton, The Art for Social Change Project”
Read more

Check out our facebook event page for ACW 2017

Please share this event with your networks!
#ACW #ARTsocialChange

Kitchen Table Chataquas

When we started organising The ART of Changing the World 2017, we asked ourselves “What about those who cannot get to the gathering?” How do they get their voices heard and be part of it? We came up with the idea of Kitchen Table Chataquas.

Kitchen Table Chataqua is a self-organized, local, informal dialogue amongst changemakers with an interest in art for social change who want to explore and discuss what the most important issues are to them/you. Whether it is two people who happen to have a chat during coffee break or a tea and cake for 10 at a friend’s or colleague’s, we invite you to make a short video on what concerns you the most in community-engaged arts/art for social change and post it online.

This is an opportunity to share issues, concerns and ideas with us and many other communities in the weeks leading up to and during the ACW 2017 gathering.

Post your Kitchen Table video, photos and what you have to say on the ACW 2017 event page.

We have “how to”, FAQs and more about Kitchen Table Chataquas!

Share it out on social media!

“Kitchen Table Chataqua” in Vancouver

On April 25, we piloted a “Kitchen Table Chataqua” in Vancouver. What was originally going to be a small gathering, blossomed into a large, diverse and interesting group, so we had to take the kitchen table out!

Judith Marcuse used multiple arts-infused techniques with 30 change makers to discuss their community-engaged work and the issues most important to them.

As this was a large group that met for 3 hours, there were several topics of concern explored: communication, sustainability, personal sustainability and self-care for artists/practitioners, training, inclusion, emerging practices and evaluation.

See the ACW 2017 facebook event page for postings from the Vancouver “Kitchen Table” Chataqua.