The Social Efficacy Of Music in Canada is a three-year research project spanning 2013-2015, with the goals of better understanding the processes, challenges, and results of musical collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous artists in Canada.  The research is grouped around three case studies discrete in scope, location, and production protocols.

Case Studies Overview

Dr. Ingraham’s case study began with the Turning Point Ensemble, a Vancouver-based chamber music ensemble dedicated to exploring relationships and connections between composers, their music, the communities where they create, and audiences. One focus of the Turning Point Ensemble’s programming has been collaboration with West Coast artists, including specific projects with the Haida and Westbank First Nations. Dr. Ingraham and her research assistants participated in both the 2010 IMPRINT performance at UBC Museum of Anthropology, 2012 and “The Lake | N’ha-a-itk” at the Quails’ Gate Winery in the Okanagan Valley in 2014. Research included rehearsal and performance observation, as well as a series of interviews with collaborators that revealed the deeply personal and artistic impact of the collaboration.

Dr. Robin Elliot’s case study, “Navigating Going Home Star,” explored the creative collaborations behind the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star production, which was supported by a grant linked to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools in Canada and premiered in Winnipeg in 2014. The production included performances by the principals and corps of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Wood (Mistikwaskihk Napesis) and the Northern Cree Singers, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Dylan Robinsons’s case study, “Nuyamł-ił Kulhulmx, or Singing the Earth” is both a creation and an exploration of collaborative response to the people, environment and spirit of the Bella Coola valley. The work was created by Anna Höstman (composer), Dylan Robinson, Patrick Nickleson and Marion Newman. The collaborators workshopped the 11-piece work with the Continuum Music Ensemble (Toronto) in December 2013. One of the project’s central foci is how song itself can carry historical or legal record, produce an act of healing, or provide the sonic underpinning for multi-modal means of expression framing aesthetic, ethnographic, and historical considerations simultaneously.

We are humbled by the creativity and courage we witnessed in all our case studies, and are incredibly grateful to the artists who welcomed us into the risky spaces of rehearsal, creation, and collaboration.