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Culture, Creativity and The Arts: Building Resilience in Northern Ontario


This thesis investigates the contribution of the arts to resilience within the context of Northern Ontario, a vast, sparsely populated geographical region dotted with isolated, rural, and smaller urban communities whose economies are based primarily on resource extraction. Industry restructuring and other pressing issues related to globalization are forcing communities to rapidly adapt to survive.

While the arts have been hailed as economic drivers in the creative economy and many, primarily urban centres, are attempting to harness the arts in this regard, less is understood about how engaging in the arts strengthens community identity and fosters the emergence of local culture-based economies, generally, and the critical role artists in rural communities play in achieving such.

The study utilizes action research to reveal ways individual creative practice and art sector collaboration develop creative skills and provide the social and commercial infrastructure necessary for successful transitioning and continual adaptation at the individual, organizational and community level.

Furthermore, the research highlights similarities between artistic and community development practices suggesting that capacities gained through engaging in the arts parallel those necessary for developers to work effectively within emergent, inclusive, and holistic approaches that underpin continual adaptation in addressing change.


Dr. Jude Ortiz


May 17, 2021