Culture|Shift: Blanketing the city in arts and culture

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update

April 3, 2020: Now is a time where arts and culture are needed more than ever. Key directions from Culture|Shift, including reconciliation, decolonization, equity, and accessibility, continue to guide our work. We recognize that deep and historic inequities can be magnified in times of crisis, and we are working to provide resources that support both immediate responses, and community resilience and recovery in the longer term.

Culture|Shift (previously known as the Creative City Strategy), Vancouver’s new Culture Plan for 2020-2029, provides a framework with strategic directions and actions to align and increase:

  • Support for art and culture
  • Champion creators
  • Build on our commitments to Reconciliation and Equity
  • Introduce bold moves to advance community-led cultural infrastructure
  • Position Vancouver as a thriving hub for music

The traditional, unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples make this place unlike any in the world. Diverse people from across the world have imbued Vancouver’s cultural landscape with the qualities, landmarks, and stories that make our city recognizable and distinct. Culture|Shift acknowledges that this landscape is critical to our shared economic prosperity, social cohesion, and sense of environmental responsibility.

Ongoing engagement

Culture|Shift represents the voices of a diverse cross-section of people, and places a particular focus on the voices of historically underrepresented communities (including Indigenous, racialized, disabled, deaf, low income, and LGBTQ2+ groups who organized City-funded Host Your Own Engagement meetups) to achieve a more accurate and inclusive representation of Vancouver. 

From 2017-2019, Staff engaged with 3,000 Vancouverites in-person and had approximately 4,000 virtual touchpoints. Partnerships with the local Nations helped to develop leading-edge work to prioritize and advance their cultural presence across the city.

Learn more about our Culture|Shift collaborations and partnerships

Read the news release Vancouver amplifies support for arts and culture through new 10-year plan

Early findings and key themes

Blanketing the City in Arts and Culture

The subtitle Blanketing the City in Art and Culture is a concept generously bestowed by Musqueam weaver and graphic designer Debra Sparrow to reflect these Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands and waters. In her own work, Debra is dedicated to blanketing the city with the beauty and strength of Salish culture, of which blankets are the foundation.

The subtitle underscores the critical importance of telling the truth about Vancouver’s colonial history and working with the local Nations to address colonial erasure and ensure that their voice and presence are woven throughout Vancouver’s cultural ecology.

It is an inclusive vision illuminating the role culture plays in shaping place and a shared sense of belonging for all people on these Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands. 

Project timeline

  • Fall 2017-
    spring 2018

    Phase 1: Discovery

    What we did:

    Best practices research on equity and access, formed the External Advisory Committee, strategy launch event

    Who we consulted with:

    Established and underrepresented artists and arts and cultural organizations and creative industries

    Began a consultation process with Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations

  • Summer-
    fall 2018

    Phase 2: Priorities

    What we did:

    Public consultations and Host Your Own events

    Who we consulted with:

    The public, artists, arts and cultural organizations, Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations

  • Winter 2018-
    spring 2019

    Phase 3: Directions

    What we are doing:

    Synthesize feedback on draft recommendations, research comparative investment in arts and culture and equity and access, and analyze Culture Track survey

    Free public symposium

    Open house

    Online survey for the draft strategy

  • September 2019

    Phase 4: Recommendations

    Proposed recommendations and draft implementation plan approved and passed by Council

  • Spring 2019

    Staff are implementing proposed actions in the Culture|Shift report

  • We are here

Get involved

Join us at our engagement events and let us know what you think about arts and culture in Vancouver.

What we do

Learn more about our highlights since the last culture plan and what we do at Cultural Services.

Collaborations and partnerships

Find out who we are collaborating with to make the strategy process possible.

Share your photos

Showcase your arts and cultural activities on our platforms.

Vancouver arts and culture landscape

The arts and cultural community is an ecology made up of different stakeholders, sectors, and infrastructure.

Arts and culture

We have a vibrant arts and culture scene from public to performance art, and more.

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