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Update from Michelle Silver-Sirois…..

I attended last night’s Board of Governors meeting at Capilano University. The Board voted to move forward with the proposed program cuts. Here is a link to the programs that are affected which include the Studio and Textile Arts Programs. As you know the university’s administration decided which programs to cut without consultation from faculty.

As a member of the general public I’ve been following this issue since the proposed cuts were announced in April. What stays with me is that the affected programs are not necessarily those with low enrollment or obsolete. Case in point is the Interactive Design program which boasts that 80% of their grads find employment within six months of graduation. In the midst of this Cap U continues to add new programs even though Cap U President Dr. Kris Bulcroft has repeatedly stated and that as of last night there is still no academic plan in place.

Across Canada we continue to engage in a conversation about ‘why arts?” Some of the best remarks I have heard about this conversation come from Robert Sirman, Director, Canada Council. On May 24th he spoke about art and public engagement at Culture Days’ National Congress. In his remarks he also talked about the ‘civic’ footprint and the importance of ‘cultural development’. Here are some links he referenced as well as the link to his presentation at the Congress.

Bob Sirman – Remarks – PM – Part 1 (National Congress, May 24)
Canada Council Paper on “Public Engagement in the Arts”
Christian Poirier research is referenced in this speech given by Simon Brault.
Allan Brown, Researcher
“Beyond Attendance: a multi modal understanding of arts participation”

In the meantime, the provincial government has appointed a new Minister of Advanced Education – Amrik Virk. As of this morning I don’t what the answers are, but I would encourage the members of the general public, art organizations, and those who work in and engage with the arts to continue to speak out and express their disappointment about these cuts and why arts and culture matter to Canadians in the 21st century.

It’s also important to note that when Cap U transitioned from a college to a university in 2008 it was never adequately funded, in fact Cap U ranks third from the bottom in post secondary education funding in BC. This data was provided by Dr. Kris Bulcroft Cap U in a meeting I attended on May 10th. The five institutions at the bottom of the list are Douglas College, Camosum College, Capilano University, Langara College, and the BC Justice Institute.