The Ontario Arts Council’s (OAC) strategic planning process continues on schedule with a draft strategic plan to be submitted for approval to OAC’s board of directors followed by a public launch of the plan this spring.
This work is being greatly informed by Phase I of the process – the information gathering stage.It began with an environmental scan focused on the external issues and trends currently affecting the Ontario arts sector and those anticipated in the future.This was followed by consultation with external stakeholders through an online survey and a one-day focus group session to delve more deeply into the survey findings.
In June 2013, OAC sent an online questionnaire to the 28,000 people who regularly receive OAC’s newsletter – individual artists, organizations receiving operating grants from OAC, other funders and stakeholders in the arts. The e-mail also included a request to forward the survey link to others with a connection to Ontario arts. Additionally, the survey was tweeted by OAC and others and posted on OAC’s website. A video version of the e-mail was available in American Sign Language. The survey covered a variety of topics including: the key needs and issues facing the arts sector, those that OAC should address, OAC’s roles, the appropriate focus of OAC’s activities, an exploration of public value, and OAC’s goals over the next five years. A total of 1,858 individuals responded to the survey, resulting in 1,460 completed questionnaires.
Data gathering culminated with a one-day focus group session on July 12 with 49 people (peer assessors on OAC grant review panels from the previous 18 months and participants in OAC’s Equity Plan focus groups), to dig more deeply into key themes emerging from the survey. The participants represented a broad spectrum of diversity, including artistic disciplines/practices, gender, age, language, people with disabilities as well as OAC’s current priority groups (Aboriginal, francophone, culturally diverse/persons of colour, new generation, and regional).
It’s clear from the number of individuals who took the time to complete the online survey or participate in the focus group session that people care deeply about the arts in Ontario and about OAC.The respondents and participants – including a diverse mix of artists, arts organizations and others, from across the province – shared their candid views about what OAC might consider addressing or fulfilling over the next five years.Their thoughtful opinions, responses and ideas are helping to shape OAC’s new strategic plan.
More details on the findings from the environmental scan, survey and focus group session are available in the Summary of the External Consultation Phase.
OAC’s strategic planning process is being led by OAC’s Research Office. Phase I components were contributed by Robyn Jeffrey Writing & Editing Services, The Monarch Park Group Inc., and Consulting Matrix.