The Culture of inClusion

Talk about diversity By Grace Wells-Smith
  • Propeller Dance Company in Spasticus Liz Winkelaar

The Canadian Arts Presenting Association/l’Association canadienne des organismes artistiques (CAPACOA) focused on inclusive and integrated arts as a form of diversity in the arts community at this year’s annual conference in Ottawa. Titled “The Culture of inClusion” the event brought together industry leaders from November 25 through 28 to address current issues and trends in touring and presenting in Canada.

This year – the organization’s twenty-eighth – honoured Debbie Slade, retired director of the Centre for the Arts at Brock University, with the CAPACOA Lifetime Achievement Award while Norman Armour, artistic and executive director of Vancouver’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, received the 2015 National Arts Centre Award for Distinguished Contribution to Touring in the Performing Arts.

A panel presented by the Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Alliance of Canada (DDMAAC) centred the discussion on inclusive arts. “Our mission is to cultivate a broader appreciation for increased investment in and the national promotion of Canada’s deaf, disability and mad arts domain,” said Michele Decottignies, chair of DDMAAC.

Discussion touched on the evolution of talk around impairment in arts, from equality and awareness to the art itself and its contribution to the community. With Decottignies, panelists included Joanne Cripps, executive director of the Deaf Culture Centre, and Marjorie Chan, artistic director of Cahoots Theatre. The session ended with a showing of Propeller Dance’s Spasticus, a new piece by choreographer Elizabeth Winkelaar. Directed by Renata Soutter and Shara Weaver, Propeller Dance is a contemporary dance company dedicated to creating integrated and inclusive work.

Other topics throughout the conference included “Aging is Trending,” “Indigenous Protocols in Performance,” “Reciprocity: Co-producing and Presenting Beyond Frontiers.


For more, check out CAPACOA at CAPACOA @ CINARS in Montréal in 2016 and at their next conference in Ottawa in 2017.

Learn more >> capacoa.ca, ddmaac.ca, propellerdance.com

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