Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.

Category: Creative Communities Public Consultations

March 15, 2013, by

Civil Debates Post it BoxWelcome to Debate Day #1 – Creative Cities

WHEN: Doors @ 7pm, debate @ 7.30pm

WHERE: The Theatre Centre Pop-Up, 1095 Queen St. West, at Dovercourt

PWYC at the door. No RSVP required. Cash bar for the thirsty.

This evening Darren O’Donnell, Roy Mitchell, Kevin Stolarick, and Sabra Ripley will debate the resolution:

Be it resolved that the Creative Cities theories serve to reinforce dominant class structures.

Civil Debate ninja pirate box


Hosted by Theatre Centre Artistic Director Franco Boni

Moderated by Praxis Theatre Artistic Director Michael Wheeler

The event will be live-tweeted via @praxistheatre & @theatrecentre. The Debate Hashtag is: #CivilDebates.

Not on Twitter/Don’t want to be? Below is a livestream of the tweets and pictures using the #CivilDebates hashtag, feel free to follow along live from this post.

Want more info on the topic, the debaters, and how the event will work? CLICK PIRATE & NINJA.

Praxis Theatre Centre banner

April 6, 2011, by

In advance of tomorrow’s final public culture consultation at City Hall, this one focussed on youth issues, Praxis Theatre is continuing its series of hockey cards introducing the team putting together our next culture plan. Today we introduce to you the Advisory Council working with Co-Chairs Robert Foster, Karen Kain and Jim Prentice.

For those of you interested in attending tomorrow’s consultation, it is being held in Council Chambers at City Hall from 6pm to 8:30pm. We are encouraging as many young artists, arts workers and arts lovers to either attend this session, or follow the Twitter feed using hash tag #creativeYTO as we’ll be there tweeting via @praxistheatre. Hope to see you there!

And stay tuned for tomorrow when we release the final cards in our series, rounding out Rob Ford’s Creative Capital Initiative team.

Nichole Anderson, Business for the Arts. Click to Enlarge.

Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival. Click to Enlarge.

Claire Hopkinson, Toronto Arts Council. Click to enlarge.

Che Kothari, Manifesto Community Projects. Click to Enlarge.

Gail Lord, Lord Cultural Resources. Click to enlarge.

March 31, 2011, by

Councillor Michael Thompson spoke to an overflowing City Hall crowd before the culture consultation began. City Staff found extra tables, chairs and facilitators while the usual speeches kicked things off.

by Aislinn Rose

On Monday, Praxis co-Artistic Director Michael Wheeler and I attended the only downtown public consultation for the new Toronto Culture Plan not focused on youth issues.

We were armed with our smartphones and the Twitter hashtag #creativeTO, which I had also used at the public consultation in Etobicoke in February. Separately, we made the rounds of the various tables open for discussion and tried to document what we were hearing.

Below is a partial transcript of the event, a 100 tweet summary from the past few days with the most recent tweets at the top,  You can find the full and interactive transcript online here.

And remember, the final public consultation (on youth issues) will be at City Hall on April 7th from 6pm to 8:30pm. I’ll be there with my smart phone and a hashtag. Hope to see you there.

#creativeTO Transcript

March 28, 2011, by

Jeff Melanson is Arts Advisor to Mayor Rob Ford and Special Advisor to The Creative Capital Initiative. Click on the images to enlarge.

by Michael Wheeler with artwork and text by Jody Hewston

Today the one and only downtown public consultation on the City of Toronto’s ‘Creative Communities Public Consultations’, aka the Richard Florida-themed re-re-visioning of our city’s cultural plan (his theories also provided the basis of the old plan that went nowhere for a decade), will take place at City Hall from 6pm to 8:30pm. (There is also a youth-focussed consultation on April 7th.)

As part of our engagement with the City’s cultural plan, Praxis Theatre will be releasing ‘Hockey Cards’ that give stats on all the movers and shakers that will shape the City’s approach to culture in the years to come. Will this be a team that supports big institutions and sees culture as a means to tourism? Or will it be a team that recognizes the complex cultural ecosystem that makes the City more livable and inspiring for all residents and include a plan that fosters independent and mid-sized organizations?

One way or another – the people on these cards will eventually choose to play for team Massive Organization or Team Ecosystem. This city has bad luck with hockey teams, but I’m still holding out for an upset. (Note: Team Private Donations often refuses to play with team Team Ecosystem so here’s hoping that will be addressed in this plan also.)

Jim Prentice is one of three co-chairs of the Creative Capital Initiative. Click to enlarge

If you can come tonight, (You totally should!) you will have the opportunity to discuss these five questions:

How do you measure value in your organization and what have your metrics taught you?


What tools do you need from the City to improve affordability & access?

What should Toronto focus on over the next five years to raise its profile as a Creative Capital and what are the greatest barriers to accomplishing these goals?

Where can municipal investments in culture make the biggest impact?

If you could make one recommendation to the Mayor and Council regarding culture in Toronto, what would it be?

Karen Kain is one of three co-chairs of the Creative Capital Initiative. Click to enlarge

Now I know what you’re thinking:

These questions show a huge bias towards an understanding of culture that places its core value in its direct economic impact. What if I don’t agree that these are the right questions to be asking? What if I think metrics are incapable of capturing the impact of independent artists, and favour major institutions that have paid staff whose job it is to capture metrics, etc.?

There is a stool for you at 'The Duke of The Eatons Centre' (aka The Duke of Richmond) after the event at City Hall

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of people there that agree with you. The overall ideology this language applies, assumes a number of things to be true that governments and studies from around the world have found to be false. Namely that creative economies rhetoric is just a new language to talk about the educated upwardly mobile classes in a 21st Century economy.  Never mind that – it will be fun, and you can always use conversation to address those values and ideas that resonate for you.

Afterwards, Praxis has made a reservation at the Duke of Richmond for a couple of pints. Hope to see you there and look forward to tonight’s conversation on the future of culture in Toronto.

The Essentials:


6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Council Chambers & Members’ lounge (3rd Floor)

100 Queen St.West, Toronto

Also, join us on Twitter @praxistheatre where our Artistic Producer Aislinn Rose will be live-tweeting the event under hashtag #creativeTO. You don’t need a Twitter account to follow along, just go to Twitter and search the hashtag.

February 9, 2011, by

Click to Enlarge

by Aislinn Rose

Last week in this space, we told you about the Toronto culture consultations. The first of those public consultations is today from 2pm to 4pm at the Assembly Hall in Etobicoke, and I’ll be there “live tweeting” for Praxis. You can follow our Twitter feed here, and if there is a hashtag for the event, I’ll come back and add it to this post so you can follow along with everyone else.

In the meantime, you might be interested in looking back at that earlier post about the consultations to see what happened after the events document was circulated, and then read the even more interesting comments to our post.

See you at 2pm!

Hashtag #creativeTO

February 2, 2011, by

UPDATE: EYE WEEKLY is reporting that “The City is actually holding 11 consultation sessions on the culture plan, seven of them in downtown neighbourhoods.” Additionally, that “incomplete information had been circulated to some organizations “. Safe guess that’s the document below. Assuming the math stays the same – you now have 22 hours to talk to the big guns.

Click to enlarge

Similar to the recent city budget consultation process under Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto’s just-announced culture consultations will have no downtown meetings -holding consultations from 2pm-4pm on February 9th in Etobicoke and February 10th in Scarborough.

Titled, “Creative Communities Public Consultations”, these will presumably form some basis for recommendations made to City Council somewhere down the road.

So what is going on here?

There are three co-chairs of a lightning-fast pair of consultations done outside of the downtown core that will be used to inform a re-imagining of Toronto’s culture plan:

  • Robert Foster – an investment banker who specializes in mergers and acquisitions.
  • Karen Kain – Canada’s Prima Ballerina and Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada.
  • Jim Prentice* – a recent Alberta MP and Harper government Environment Minister.

This panel will have two “special advisors” separate from five other advisory council members from arts and business: Richard Florida – a controversial U of T theorist and pop culture guru who has postulated that Canada’s Social Compact should be replaced with a “Creative Compact”, and Jeff Melanson – the National Ballet School’s Executive Director and Rob Ford’s Arts and Culture Advisor.

For some more context on why this could get interesting in a hurry, read this recent CBC article on a panel held by the Canadian Conference of the Arts, attended by arts advocates from across the country in Ottawa. Titled, “Artists: Powering the Creative Economy?” it rejected the Martin Prosperity Institute proposed “creative economy” logic to advocating for arts funding. The centrepiece of the article: Richard Florida’s own statistician laments, “It’s been a trap.”

RSVP quickly if you would like to participate as spots are likely to fill up fast.

*Also the subject of a classic Yes Men action to highlight Canada’s inaction on climate change.