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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
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OAC launches search for Director of Research, Policy & Evaluation

October 5, 2020

After leading Ontario Arts Council's (OAC) arts research activities for more than 10 years, Kathryn Townshend, Director of Research, Policy and Evaluation, has decided to step down in December 2020. The job posting for her replacement has an October 30, 2020 application deadline.

“Kathryn’s deep knowledge of the arts, and the leadership that she has provided within the country’s arts research community, are both significant and rare,” said Carolyn Vesely, CEO. “We have benefited from her steady and insightful views, and she has ensured that Ontario is in the forefront of arts research. Kathryn has made important contributions and has been a wonderful colleague.

About Kathryn

Kathryn TownshendKathryn rejoined OAC in 2008 as Director of Research, Policy and Evaluation, having previously worked at OAC from 1991 to 1999 as Manager of Research. For eight years prior to returning to OAC, she was Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network. Previously, Kathryn held senior planning and policy research positions in the Ontario ministries of Citizenship and Culture. Among her responsibilities in the latter role, she managed a $7.7 million multiculturalism strategy grants program aimed at achieving diversity outcomes across the Ontario government.

Over the years, Kathryn has led numerous OAC initiatives to raise awareness of the value of the arts in people’s lives, with an emphasis on producing and sharing credible research. Most recently these have included sponsoring OAC-funded organizations to participate in WolfBrown’s COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor, initiating a research review of the status of women in the arts in Canada that was published in 2019, commissioning the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, developing a series of public opinion studies on arts and the quality of life of Ontarians, and commissioning the Ontario Arts Engagement Study. She also led the development of OAC’s first-ever performance measures report. In the 1990s, Kathryn developed the OAC’s research program, which included the creation of ArtFacts and reports such as Making the Case for Arts Education, Occupation: Artist, and commissioning Assessing the Local Economic Impact of the Arts: A Handbook. In her time at OAC, Kathryn has led multiple strategic planning processes and has represented OAC on the Board and Steering Committee of CADAC (Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada) since 2008. She is a member of the Canadian Evaluation Society.