Public Art in COVID 19 Recovery- ON-533

Project type: Research
Desired discipline(s): Architecture and design, Social Sciences & Humanities, Cultural studies, Sociology, Urban studies, Visual arts
Company: STEPS Public Art
Project Length: 4 to 6 months
Preferred start date: As soon as possible.
Language requirement: English
Location(s): Toronto, ON, Canada; Canada
No. of positions: 1
Desired education level: CollegeUndergraduate/BachelorMaster'sPhDPostdoctoral fellow
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About the company: 

STEPS is Canada’s only national organization focused on creating multidisciplinary public art. We engage and empower artists and communities to transform public spaces into vibrant places. STEPS envision a world where artists and communities co-create meaningful, welcoming, and safe public spaces. In service of that vision, we build community by connecting people to public space through cultivating shared cultural experiences and amplifying the voices of Indigenous, Black, newcomer, LGBTQQIP2SAA+, racialized, disabled and equity-seeking artists across our portfolio. Our services include one-of-a-kind public art plans, installations, and engagement strategies developed in collaboration with municipalities, Business Improvement Areas, urban planners, property owners and community agencies. We transform spaces into cultural destinations, foster stronger relationships between stakeholders, and amplify the transformative stories of the communities in which we work. Our portfolio has included: World’s Tallest Mural to creative street furniture; sculptures; multidisciplinary cultural events; public art residencies and temporary main street activations.

Describe the project.: 

STEPS believes that public art has the potential to be a core pillar of the pandemic recovery for many Canadian communities, offering a combination of economic, community engagement and social justice outcomes. Unfortunately, many Canadian municipalities lack local public art departments, organizations or strategies to best leverage this unique approach. STEPS seeks to perform a needs assessment that will help advance our efforts to position public art as a recovery strategy. The project seeks to answer these research questions:

  • What research or impact measurement has been facilitated to date that can help build a case for support for the role of public art in community recovery?
  • What proportion of Canadian municipalities are developing public art strategies or departments?
  • To what extent is public art being integrated into wider community planning, economic recovery and/or main street revitalization strategies?
  • In what ways do public art strategies (not) embody anti-racism or social justice priorities?
  • What do Canadian municipalities need to advance this work?

Methodologies will include a combination of secondary research identifying relevant impact measurement to date, as well as primary research identifying and liaising with public art and cultural divisions across Canada to gain insight into local policy and activities relevant to the project.

This work will be supported and supervised by STEPS Management, who will provide feedback to research strategy and tools as well as may participate and/or co-facilitate some stakeholder interviews. Final outputs will include a summary report of methods and findings, with the intention of creating an accessible summary that can be shared with project stakeholders and/or integrated into public resources.

Required expertise/skills: 

We are seeking a candidate with experience developing survey tools and facilitating stakeholder interviews.