Culture & Conversation

Stepping into the Spotlight

This Thursday and Friday, the State of the Arts Summit, presented by the English Language Arts Network (ELAN), will bring together the creative talents and cultural professionals from Quebec’s English-speaking arts community to analyse the issues driving our community’s successes. They will discuss this community’s contributions to the province, and will celebrate the artistic diversity that binds us together.

The 2011 State of the Arts Summit is an unprecedented interaction of ideas, in a community whose many factions often work alone and without a collective voice. Here, ELAN continues to promote the understanding of the English arts community as a vibrant component of Quebec society. ELAN will be building on the success of past projects such as the videos, histories and artist profiles available at

The Summit, a two-day conference entitled “Creative Solutions for a Creative Community”, will take place at the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT, 1201 St-Laurent Blvd). These working sessions will gather 120 of the province’s active and influential cultural professionals within the English-speaking arts community – alongside members of the French-speaking arts community and representatives from the education and government sectors – in order to develop a viable action plan for the growth of this thriving cultural sector.

While the working conference is restricted to invited guests, other events within the 2011 State of the Arts Summit program are open to the arts-loving public! ELAN has partnered with several of the city’s leading arts organizations to present a series of English arts-appreciation events intended to spotlight the hot talents currently working within the major creative disciplines that thrive in Quebec.

On Friday, September 23rd, ELAN, Guernica Editions, and Telefilm Canada will host a celebratory soirée in honour of the imminent publication of Minority Report: An Alternative History of English-Language Arts in Quebec.  First commissioned by ELAN Quebec as part of its Recognizing Artists: Enfin Visibles! project of 2010, this significant collection of essays by several of Quebec’s most prominent arts critics reconsiders the historical narrative of the major Quebecois artistic disciplines by explicitly focusing on the English-language contributions that have often been left out of the traditional storyline.  Published by Montreal’s Guernica Editions this fall, this important work will be launched at the historic Centaur Theatre (453 Saint-Francois-Xavier St; 6-8pm, free to public) in Old Montreal.

On Saturday, September 24th, ELAN will host an afternoon of thought-provoking panel discussions at the Atrium de la Maison du Conseil des Arts de Montreal (1210 Sherbrooke St. East; noon – 4pm, free to public). Well-known journalists and intellectuals will discuss the economic and ambassadorial value of the English-speaking art community’s contribution to the province, as well as dissect the old but still prevailing stereotypes of what entails a Quebecois Anglo in the 21st century.

Moderated by CJAD, Radio-Canada, and Hour Community columnist Anne Lagacé Dowson, the first panel is entitled “Many Peoples, One Official Language” (noon-2pm).  Speakers Jack Jedwab (Association for Canadian Studies) and André Courchesne (Carmelle & Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management at HEC, ex-Head of Theatre at Canada Council,) will offer a historical perspective on the evolving social contract between Quebec’s Francophone majority and the minority English-speaking communities.  For the second panel, entitled “Invisible or Too Visible?” (2-4pm), Brendan Kelly (Montreal Gazette), Philippe Couture (Le Devoir), Janet Lumb (Festival Accés Asie) and D. Kimm (Les Filles électriques/Festival Voix d’Amériques) will share observations on the growing presence of English-speaking artists in Quebec and debate possible scenarios for the future.

On Sunday, September 25th, we join our friends at Pop Montreal, with whom we’re collaborating with for our grand finale! At the Theatre Outremont (1248 Bernard Ave. West), ELAN Quebec and Pop Montreal, in association with the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts, will present the world premiere of a brand-new musical, The Season, written by left-of-centre indie-rapper Socalled and starring musicians Katie Moore, Yves Lambert, Narcy, Joe Cobden and Hanako Hoshimi-Caines.


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