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Cultural life of Canadians Report (Assessment)


From the ancient times, much significance has been attached to the cultural life of Canadians; this is marked by the attachment to the institutions that seek to preserve and perpetuate culture.

The primary institutions seeking to preserve the Canadian culture are the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Film Board and the Canadian Council.

The reawakening moment for Canadian culture was motivated by the need to guard it from absorption by the US culture which has been gaining dominance since the 1980s. Consequently, the desire to activate the culture of Canada was due to the concern that there was no uniform culture that bonded the Canadian population.

The period around 1990s witnessed a paradigm shift in public concern about the preservation of Canadian culture; this exposed all areas of cultural similarities and differences. There was uniformity in public opinion in acknowledging the importance of monuments, national institutions and celebrating local events.

The areas that have attracted controversies are the need to stage musical plays together with the brewing tensions regarding gay rights, art gallery exhibitions and celebrations of cultural festivals. These differences, commonalties and controversies have signaled shifts in the cultural politics of Canada which focuses on balancing of Canadian culture against that of US.

The matters raising conflicts in the quest for independence of the Canadian culture are racial, cultural, linguistic and religious identifications. The cultural politics of Canada has been played at the local and provincial level since cultural issues concern communities (Curtis, Gupta and Straw 2).

The political controversies surrounding the focus and the character of Canadian culture are related to racial, ethnic and sexual identities. This has called for the Canadian people to look at cultural dissimilarities from the perspective of representation and images since culture has become a central area in globalization.

Consequently, cultural matters in Canada have been subjugated and relegated to questions of identity. Matters of culture were previously centered on issues of morality and the need for equality of cultural experience, whereas cultural intervention targeted cultural diversity.

The striking feature of Canadian cultural matters is that it is a subject of constant debate in cities and predominantly touches on public visibility, community cohesion and social interaction as the main aspects of cultural identity, while the politics of cultural diversities are a subject of debate in the urban areas.

The central part of Canadian culture is the arts; culture provides means of entertainment and provides an opportunity for the Canadian people to celebrate their differences and similarities (Curtis, Gupta and Straw 2).

Similarities in the Readings

The three readings emphasize the influences and the effects accrued from culture. The readings appreciate that culture enhances social creativity and stimulates innovation, human progress and well being. All these are an indication that culture is a central engine in human development and a tool to facilitate economic growth and as a means of leading intellectual and emotional growth (Toolkit 2).

Culture has the following effects: it enhances human understanding and has the capacity to trigger action; it fosters the creation and the maintaining of identities; culture also modifies values and preferences for collective behavior and thus enhances of social cohesion. Furthermore, culture contributes to community development and fosters civic participation (Canada Council 1).

Both readings acknowledge the several impacts of culture on the society which include the following: personal development, social cohesion, local image and identity, imagination, vision and community empowerment. From these impacts, it is evident that arts have both individual and social benefits (Canada Council 2).

All the three readings differ on their approach to matters and issues that require modification in order to adapt to the modern changes; in the toolkit bibliography article, there is the introduction of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) which has developed a toolkit on database format which is an instrumental source of information for all stakeholders in the sector like presenters, artists and arts organizations in various fields of organizational planning.

The CPAMO tool kit enables individuals and groups to learn, from previously researched studies, all aspects of cultural policy and theory as well as their implications and adaptations by other organizations (Toolkit 1). Among the fields of cultural pluralist planning are: organizational commitment, community engagement, audience development, employment and professional development.

The toolkit bibliography article dwells a lot on the organizational aspects of culture; it explains how an organization can acquire a culture and how such a culture is nurtured. It defines and explains culture in the following ways:

Organizational planning: this is a body that is concerned with initiating the changes that an organization whishes to make. Their role involves the evaluation of the organization, identification of both internal and external challenges and the opportunities that the organization faces, policy and structure appraisal and organizational strategic plan.

Among the main areas of concern in organizational planning are: a new organization should undertake a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis which reflect on the internal and the external environment.

This is instrumental in allowing organizations to identify its stakeholders, its potential partners and the audience and to systematically review its policies towards promoting cultural diversity. New organizations can develop their culture in line with the requirements and goals of United Nations Environmental and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and particularly their cultural diversity programming lens or the arts council of England.

The following are considered success factors in an organization: cultural vision, a receptive institutional culture and harmony between an organizational and community values, artistic excellence and cooperative governance.

The development of an organizational culture may be hampered by things like cost, institutional resistance and limitedness of human resource. In the development of institutional culture, requisite cultural practices may be obtained from research institutions, government agencies and arts councils (Toolkit 2).

Community engagement: this offers the organization better connection with its environment. This can be achieved through engaging the community and getting its opinion about good organizational practices. This can be realized through the use of art organizations to participate in diverse communities, another one is the use of traditional approach which seeks to involve communities in organizational activities.

The assessment of a community’s engagement in issues of mainstream culture can be realized by gauging their interest in current cultural affairs and on the other hand organization’s engagement with diverse communities can be evaluated by assessing its interest in the life of the community.

Programming and curatorial development: this is indispensable and cannot be separated form community and audience development. This is necessary if the organization is to create an all inclusive programming and if it is to execute curatorial decisions. This program has the capability of attracting wider and diverse organizational audience.

Audience development: this involves meeting and engaging the needs of underrepresented audience. This can only be realized with a clear and passionate vision. The two barriers to audience development are representational and intellectual barriers which may result from limited inclusiveness in programming.

Employment and professional development: diversity in the employment and professional cultures is a reflection of an organizational culture and diverse in its background. A homogeneous workforce population is one that is reluctant to change and this homogeneity is a threat to the survival of an organization (Toolkit 8).

Differences in the Readings

The Canadian Council for Arts exhibits its difference in the approach to culture, unlike the toolkit bibliography article which dwells on organizational aspect of culture, the Canadian Council for Arts dwells more on the social aspects of culture. The role played by the Canadian Cultural Organization has been criticized for under representing the indigenous and the immigrant population.

On the other hand, the book on cultural identity brings to fore the impact of bi lingual nature of the Canadian society and how it is making it difficult for Canada to have a homogeneous culture. These cultural differences have threatened cultural generations and their perpetuation.

The book describes all the modern and traditional aspects of culture. Unlike the other two readings, it explains the various ways of propagating culture and the things that enable the Canadian population to learn culture. The areas of concern are film and theater industry, music, literature and oral tradition.

Oral tradition: Canada’s cultural politics have had an impact on the language and the definition of Canada’s national cultural traditions. To deal with the cultural aspect of language, there is need to strengthen the English-Canadian culture especially in Canadian institutions.

Preservation and propagation of Canadian culture can only be achieved when it is presented in the linguistic form of both English and French. There is, for example, a theme of unity in explaining Canadian cinema of English origin especially in character motivation.

The theme and specificity of Canadian popular music is a mix of urban and rural influences. There have been various controversial opinions regarding the traditional culture of Canada. There have been claims that the artistic practice of Canada was characterized by preoccupation with landscape and are ambivalent towards nature which undermine their beauty and terror (Curtis, Gupta and Straw 3).

Canadian television programs have been described as lacking or having fewer jolts per minute when compared with other countries like the US. Consequently, culture in French Canada has been described as noble and is manifested in the modernity of Quebec.

There has been controversy concerning the treatment of the social-cultural diversity of the modern Quebec culture which has been considered as a metaphor for urban modernity.

While cultural production in the English language has been considered as unifying, the diversity that is latent in the French- language cultural production has been associated with the fragility of Canadian community and hence derives Canada of continental experience (Curtis, Gupta and Straw 3).

The areas of concern necessary to propagate Canadian cultural tradition are cinema, music, literature and theatre.

Cinema: Canada lacks a tradition of film making. This has been liked to the need of avoiding cultural confrontation that comes with cultural diversity.

The pioneer of film-making was the auteurist feature film movement, prior to that time the English-Canadian film making was only aimed at perpetuating state-sponsored documentaries and the avant-garde experimental film. Since then, cinemas of duty which are conventional in form have gained prominence and are aimed at incorporating those who have been for longtime excluded from the Canadian cinema.

The emergence of the National Film Board has led to various experiments in the quest to enhancing film productivity. This has led to increased politicization of urban scenes and the growth various forms of art like video art. As an academic discipline, film studies have been faced with questions of identity (Curtis, Gupta and Straw 5).

Music: Music, though a cultural instrument is seldom studied in Canadian universities and has long been ignored. Music is a form of folklore and there has been minimal research on various aspects of music. Traditions and innovation are typical of musical life.

Musical lessons are undertaken within the collectors and the fans including those who publish in magazines which are devoted to Quebec pop. Music is a cultural tool whose content is hard to judge and to isolate and it only becomes meaningful when its sound and lyrics meets prejudice.

Music is marked with racial, ethnic and gender identities. Musical videos, for example, introduce the link between musical forms of practice and gendered or racially oriented identities (Curtis, Gupta and Straw 6).

Literature: Literature is the main medium of transmitting culture. There is an aspect of literature called cultural studies which concerns developments in literature, its criticism and anthologies. Canada’s duality nature of languages casts doubts on the writing margins.

The need to define Canadian literature has been plagued with multiculturalism which diffuses cultural and ethnic unrest. There have been some calls to accept the heterogeneous nature of Canada and the culture should be contextualized along that line that should go beyond the homogeneous perception of nationhood in order to eliminate the traffic between language, cultures and religions.

Another introduced aspect of literature is the African-Canadian culture which is characterized by inconsistencies with the definition of Canada.

Canadian literature is characterized by the following aspects: plurality, stereotyping and hybrid. To avoid stereotyping, there should be a need to attack and homogenize stereotypic behaviors which can destabilize the cultural coexistence (Curtis, Gupta and Straw 8).

Importance of culture: Enhance the quality of life. Through culture the quality of life can be improved. Visual arts, for example, can reduce stress and depression.

Music also can lower the blood pressure in people and hence reducing the intensity and the degree of pain. Culture can also have longevity impact. Attendance of cultural events can reduce mortality risks. Culture is also important in understanding the neighbors and how people can co-exist (Canada Council 2).


Just like in any other country, culture remains a central part in the lives of Canadian people. It provides them with an opportunity for entertainment, enables them to share their similarities and dissimilarities and more so culture provides them with some sense of attachment.

There are divergent ways by which people can express their culture, it may be through reading of books, attending life performances, visiting art galleries and attending movie theatres. The central theme of culture is that it forms basis for attachment.

Culture enhances individuals’ social body. In the context of theater, for example, race identity carries a lot of weight particularly in our resolve to answering the question of crisis of cultural identification.

Each of the reading explains different aspect of culture. Tool kit bibliography describes organizational culture, the Canadian Council for Arts explains more on the societal significance of culture, its impact and influences to the members of the society. The reading on cultural identity explains various ways of transmitting culture and also how a nation or a society can nurture culture.

Works Cited

Canada Council. “Social Effects of Culture: Exploratory Statistical Evidence.” Statistical Insights on the Arts 6.4 (2008): 1- 40. Print.

Curtis, Liane., Gupta Dipti and Straw, Will. Culture and Identity: Ideas and Overviews. Department of Canadian heritage, 2001. Web.

Toolkit. Toolkit Bibliography. Class Notes, n.d. Print.

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