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
In summer 2009, the NORDIK Institute approached the Sault Ste. Marie & District Labour Council to conduct a research study on the impacts of Sault Ste. Marie trade unions on the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie. The purpose of the project was to explore the nature and extent of labour’s involvement in the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie, as a way of celebrating and making more visible the major contribution that the labour movement has made to the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Unions are an integral part of the community, and continue to contribute positively to the social economy through their relationships with community groups and organizations, as well as through the activities of their membership. These contributions have transformed leaders in the labour market to act in solidarity with others in the community. Labour’s contributions highlight similar principles to the cooperative movement, which include solidarity, democratic decision-making, skills building, and the prioritization of people before profit.
David Thompson, Dr. Gayle Broad, Arnie Harnish, Al Fraser
NORDIK Institute oversaw the data collection of the $900,000 study on the effects of industrial air pollution, which involved local researchers, nurses, health professionals and over 60 research participants. The final analysis and interpretation from Health Canada is still to be determined. On June 23rd 2011, NORDIK received the Innovation Research Project of the Year award from the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre for the Air Quality Study.
Ildiko Horvath, Stephanie Blaney
Through partnership with Edith Orr, manager of the Johnson Township Farmers’ Market, and the Algoma Food Network, NORDIK examined the flow of local food into the Sault Ste. Marie marketplace. A directory and map of businesses that report sourcing local (to the Algoma District) food (local food meaning any product harvested or raised in the Algoma District) was developed.
David Thompson and Nairne Cameron
In May 2003, the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program of Algoma University undertook a study of the non-profit sector in Sault Ste. Marie, to determine its contribution to the overall economy of the City. The study explored In order to determine what contribution the non-profits were making to the economy, the areas of revenue generation and disbursement; direct and indirect job creation; community capacity building through volunteer and staff development; and social capital development were explored. The study indicated that in In addition to the significant contributions to the City’s economy and concrete jobs created job creation, the non-profit sector provides substantial contributions to the quality of life of Sault Ste. Marie’s citizens. Findings indicate and t that this sector of Sault Ste. Marie’s economy could be grown through strategic investment.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Steffanie Date
In 2011, the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Association approached NORDIK to explore marketing opportunities for local lamb and chevon (meat goat) products. Market analysis for lamb and goat products in the Algoma District was desired by the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Producers Association, in order to determine the feasibility of a market-based co-operative for lamb and goat producers in the Algoma District. Recommendations outlined how the group can realize opportunities and mitigate threats as producers continued to serve this market
Broderick Causley, David Thompson
Locally Grown Food for the Northern Urban Marketplace (2012)
Community Supported Agriculture is an alternative, and locally-rooted model of agriculture and food distribution that develops a network of individuals who have pledged to support one or more farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of farming good food.
This research demonstrated the benefits of the cooperative model for expanding locally sourced beef markets in Northern Ontario and support regional agricultural economies experiencing crises sparked by globalization through strengthening stakeholders. By examining existing Northern Ontario cooperatives and place-based businesses that support a value chain for local beef, researchers explored the impacts of scale, regulations, markets and infrastructure to the successes of these operations.