The Senior Artists Research Project (SARP) is a group of artists’ associations with an interest in improving support for senior Canadian artists. The SARP Steering Committee group met over the last four years in order to examine the complex needs of senior artists. As a result, a three-year research project was officially launched in 2009, with Joyanne Sidimus as Project Director and Celine Marks as Administrator.
Initial research activities for the project focussed on gathering information about international programs, services and associations that support older artists, including an investigation of whether there are any programs or services that could be particularly relevant to the Canadian context. Kelly Hill from Hill Strategies Research was hired to conduct this research and meet with representatives from artist associations, artist unions, researchers, program managers and older artists in 8 international locations: New York, Zurich, Bonn, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin and London. A report on this part of the research was completed and submitted to the Steering Committee in June 2009.
From September to December 2009, Hill began the Canadian component of our project, investigating senior artists’ situations, needs and interests in the areas of Housing, Finance, Health/Isolation and Career. Nearly 1,900 senior artists from across the country completed a survey, and over 160 participated in one of the 17 town hall sessions held in Halifax, Charlottetown, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton. In addition, nine interviews were conducted to supplement the information from the survey and discussion group sessions.
The report on the above research, as well as further research conducted by Joysanne Sidimus and Celine Marks into what currently exists for senior artists in Canada, has been drafted. In March, four subcommittees were struck to decide what action to take on the four areas of investigation (housing, finance, health/isolation and career), based on the findings of the survey and town hall meetings. A day-long retreat will be held in May to determine an action plan based on the research and recommendations from the subcommittees. Additional focus groups of senior artists and other stakeholders will be held across the country over the summer to review and comment on the proposed plan, with public release of both the report and plan scheduled for the fall.
The SARP Steering Committee is comprised of:
Carol Anderson – The Actors’ Fund of Canada – ACTRA – ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society American Federation of Musicians, Canada – Canadian Actors’ Equity Association – Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC) – Canadian Music Centre – Cultural Careers Council of Ontario – Dancer Transition Resource Centre – Directors Guild of Canada – PAL Canada Foundation – Royal Canadian Academy of Arts – Union des artistes – Writers Guild of Canada – The Writers’ Union of Canada
Joysanne Sidimus, Project Director – Celine Marks, Administrator – Garry Neil, Consultant