Mass Culture, Mobilisation culturelle.

Mass Culture is an arts support organization that strives to harness the power of research to learn and generate new insights, enabling the arts community to be strategic, focused and adaptive.

Three qualitative arts impact frameworks

Frameworks for measuring arts impact available to the arts sector

Mass Culture, in collaboration with its partners in this project, provides three exciting new qualitative arts impact frameworks to the arts sector. These new arts impact measurement tools are gamechangers. The result of two years of research, the frameworks provide innovative, effective ways of measuring the impact of the arts in communities and society. They all use methods rooted in respect for a multitude of ways of researching, knowing, being, and creating lasting, meaningful impact. 

Three frameworks were made available to the arts sector in Summer 2023. Each of the resources were shared with an instructional video, available at

Access in Counterpoint developed by Aaron Richmond (McGill University). A framework to measure the impact of making dance accessible to people with blindness and low vision. 

Living Climate Impact developed by Emma Bugg (Dalhousie University). This framework provides indicators to measure arts impact in environmental sustainability and climate action. 

Spiraling Outwardly For Equity in Public Arts developed by Shanice Bernicky (Carleton University). A framework to disrupt and reflect on arts’ organization  approaches to equity, diversity, and inclusion. 

About the initiative

The Research in Residence: Arts’ Civic Impact (RinR) research project brings together academics and the arts sector to develop and test qualitative frameworks that will greatly assist the arts sector in demonstrating its civic impact. It is guided by an Advisory Committee of the project’s partners, and is facilitated and documented by Robin Sokoloski at Mass Culture and Mary Elizabeth Luka at University of Toronto Scarborough. This national research model, including three qualitative impact frameworks, has been shared publicly. 

The Researchers in Residence: Arts’ Civic Impact initiative is a collaboration between Mass Culture, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Culture Statistics Working Group (Federal-Provincial-Territorial Culture and Heritage Table), the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Toronto Arts Foundation.

The initiative engaged researchers from each of the following institutions: McGill University, Emily Carr University’s Aboriginal Gathering Place, University of Winnipeg, Dalhousie University, and Carleton University.

The researchers and their specific arts’ civic impact area of focus were: Sydney Pickering, Indigenous Cultural Knowledge; Emma Bugg, Climate and Sustainability; Aaron Richmond, Health and Wellbeing; Shanice Bernicky, Diversity and Inclusion; Audree Espada and Missy LeBlanc, Diversity and Inclusion. 

The Research in Residence project represents a whole new level of collaboration across the arts community, arts funders and academia to advance arts impact research in Canada.

Mass Culture is thrilled to bring together a diverse group of researchers, an advisory group and link with them arts organizations and festivals across Canada. Researchers will work closely with arts organizations to create in-depth analyses of civic impact of the arts, including issues of anti-racism, equity, Indigenous cultural knowledge, health and wellness, and climate change. This collaborative work will create a national research model that Mass Culture will share openly with the arts and cultural sector.

The Canada Council for the Arts is pleased, through a great collaboration with other funders, to support the Research in Residence: Arts’ Civic Impact project, which is aligned with its Qualitative Impact Framework. This initiative will help the broader arts community explore the impact it has on their communities and society at large.

The Researchers

Topic: Diversity and inclusion

Residency: Culture Days

Supervisor: Susana Vargas Cervantes

University: Carleton University

Shanice is proficient in English and French.

Topic: Climate and sustainability

Residency: CreativePEI

Supervisor: Tarah Wright

University: Dalhousie University

Topic: Diversity and inclusion

Residency: Winnipeg Art Gallery Qaumajuq

Supervisors: Serena Keshavjee and Julie Nagam

University: University of Winnipeg

Topic: Health and wellbeing

Supervisor: David Theodore

University: McGill University

Aaron is proficient in English and French.


Robin Sokoloski, Co-facilitator, Mass Culture

M. E. Luka, Co-facilitator, University of Toronto Scarborough and Critical Digital Methods Institute

Jamie Gamble, Evaluator

Marke Ambard, Advisor, Canadian Heritage

Clare Daitch, Advisor, Mass Culture

Liz Forsberg, Advisor, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Nicole Frenette, Advisor, Canadian Heritage

Annie Grégoire-Gathier, Advisor, Canadian Heritage

Paula Ledaga, Advisor, Canadian Heritage

Daniela Navia, Advisor, Canada Council for the Arts

Shawn Newman, Advisor, Toronto Arts Foundation

Gabriel Zamfir-Enache, Advisor, Canada Council for the Arts

Canada Council for the Arts logo.
Federal-Provincial-Territorial Table on Culture and Heritage
Ontario Trillium Foundation logo
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Participating Universities

Dalhousie University
Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Aboriginal Gathering Place
Emily Carr University of Art and Design
McGill University
The University of Winnipeg

Researcher Bios