A Treasure Trove of Teaching Resources for Arts Policy

Arts research: what can we do with it?

In the Fall term of 2021, Director of Mass Culture Robin Sokoloski co-taught a course alongside Janis Monture for Centennial College’s Arts Management program. In this blog, Robin shares the resources she used to teach the course.

January, 2022

Last fall, I had the great pleasure of co-teaching a course entitled, Arts Policy, Equity and Activism with my friend and colleague Janis Monture for Centennial College’s Arts Management program. Although this was a brand new experience for me I was struck throughout the course how fortunate I was to have so many current and robust Canadian resources at my disposal. As the Director of Organizational Development at Mass Culture I have first hand knowledge of what the organization has within its storehouse of arts research ready to be shared. 

So, for all those out there teaching arts and cultural management, arts policy, cultural municipal planning and/or cultural diplomacy allow me to save you an extensive trip to the library and share with you the treasure trove of arts research resources that Mass Culture has to offer. 

Janis and I began our course as many Canadian arts policy teachers would with the Massey Commission (Fun Fact: The name, Mass Culture derived from the title of Commission as it too initiated a nationwide consultative process). Although very much a product of the 1950s, this historical process set the foundation for the Canadian arts sector and many of its major institutions. Of course it can easily be Googled. The 500+ page document has been digitized and made available by Library and Archives Canada. You can get a quick summary of it on Wikipedia. You may even discover Robert Sirman’s speaking notes on a lecture he delivered in 2014, entitled, “What Would Massey See Today.”  Although quite a bit has happened over the last seven years, this lecture still stands up and Janis and I used this as a class resource. However, this course wasn’t just designed to provide an in-depth look at how policy shapes arts and cultural organizations, but also how equity and activism shape policy. To get at the heart of these interwoven strands you need to access and share insights from a multitude of thought leaders on their challenges and the emerging ideas. Mass Culture has dedicated its work towards providing a wide breadth of perspectives on topics that matter to the arts sector. It is through this work that I was able to offer a contemporary and enriching educational experience.

Click on this link to see how I mapped out Mass Culture’s various resources within our course curriculum. Although it won’t have the links, you can also request an exported PDF. 

Resources utilized for this course included:


Learning Module: The Origins of Cultural Policy in Canada

Massey Commission History Lesson 

Podcast: Zainub Verjee & Narendra Pachkhédé

Current Climate: An analysis of the Arts


Learning Module: Municipal Cultural Policies

Mobilizing Cultural Plans into Action 

Cultural Development in Rural and Remote Areas


Learning Module: Canadian Cultural Policy in the International Context

Can Artists Really Save the World? 

Sedina Fiati interviews Simon Brault on cultural diplomacy


Activism for Art or Art for Activism

Podcast: Judith Marcuse on Art for Social Change

Photo by Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

Meet the Author

Robin Sokoloski is Mass Culture’s Director of Organizational Development, and was the Executive Director of the Playwrights Guild of Canada for 10 years.

A Treasure Trove of Teaching Resources for Arts Policy