Toronto Pearson

The following proposal was submitted to Toronto Pearson’s Propeller Project (Nest Fund) on February 15, 2018.

Project Name

Groundstory / Histoire de Terrain

Project Summary

Groundstory is a ten-year Collective Impact effort to uncover and address the adverse effects of gentrification on the arts in Ontario.

Making 30% less than the average worker, and faced with rents/property taxes increasing up to 400% in the past year, Ontario’s arts and culture workers are increasingly being forced out of gentrifying neighbourhoods involuntarily. Groundstory brings cross-sectoral stakeholders together to implement collective solutions that stabilize the spaces and careers of low-income arts and cultural workers in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area, and across Ontario through shared learning.

Responding to a preliminary theory of change that reads, “75% of arts and cultural workers are satisfied with their shelter, spaces, and economies of work by 2030”, we are requesting Stage 1 funding for Groundstory to help build community consensus and identify an evidence base in support of future stages. Major activities for Stage 1 include:

a) Cultivate structured, cross-sectoral Steering Committee with eight convening sessions incorporating leaders from arts, government, philanthropy, business, and non-profit sectors, as well as impacted artists and arts groups from diverse communities in Toronto, Hamilton, Burlington, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Scarborough, and North York.

b) Map the system/landscape including regional/province-wide surveys, focus groups, and international literature review to identify data (and gaps in data) that illustrates varied roots, ripples and responses to gentrification, including social, cultural, economic, and political effects and interventions.

c) Outreach and community engagement including two bilingual information sessions and two “Round the Block” public roundtables to engage the broader public.

d) Publish a bilingual website and final report with recommendations for Stage 2.

Collectively, Groundstory‘s priorities are to identify interventions that help artists resist the impacts of income inequality and involuntary displacement, including improving access to community services that enhance their financial stability; achieving greater financial independence; becoming/staying employed; and becoming entrepreneurs. By mapping and responding to factors that drive changes in the accessibility of shelter and cultural spaces in gentrifying neighbourhoods, Groundstory will also help municipalities implement sustainable infrastructure plans that are responsive to the socioeconomic needs/potential of the arts to build vital communities. Thus, the arts will have improved access to the types of spaces necessary to produce and maintain compelling services and programming that connects more people to arts and culture.

In what communities does the majority of the project take place or have impact?

List ridings

Toronto Centre, Toronto-Danforth, Toronto-St Paul’s, Beaches East York, Spadina-Fort York, Davenport, Parkdale-High Park, Toronto-St. Paul’s, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Etobicoke Centre, Etobicoke North, York Centre, Scarborough Centre, Scarborough Southwest, Mississauga Centre, Mississauga-Lakeshore, Mississauga East-Cooksville, Hamilton Centre, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Hamilton Mountain, Burlington, Brampton Centre.

List townships/cities

Toronto (Wards 1-6, 9-10, 13-14, 17-24, 27-32, 35-38), Mississauga (Wards 1-4, 6-7), Brampton (Wards 1, 3), Hamilton (Wards 1-13), Burlington (Wards 1-4).

Detailed Description

Addressing the effects of gentrification on the arts; one brick, one story, at a time

WHAT

Groundstory is a cross-sectoral initiative to uncover and address the adverse ripple effects of gentrification on the arts, including growing income inequality and polarization, lack and loss of affordable shelter and cultural spaces, and socio-spatial displacement of lower-income artists and cultural workers in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area and across Ontario.

For decades, artists have traditionally been implicated as the leading edge in debates around facilitation of gentrification and displacement. However, recent research indicates the “standard arts-led gentrification narrative is too generalized or simply no longer applicable to contemporary arts-gentrification processes.” (Grodach-Foster-Murdoch, 2016).

Groundstory will detail, and pressure-test solutions to, these evolving narratives.

WHY

The rising costs of shelter and cultural spaces have reached a crisis-point in many neighbourhoods globally. At the same time, the very nature of work and mediums for cultural production, dissemination, and engagement are changing rapidly in an increasingly digital, post-capitalist society. Making 30% less than the average worker, and faced with rents/property taxes increasing up to 400% in the past year, Ontario’s arts and culture workers are increasingly being forced out of their neighbourhoods involuntarily as the growth in precarious work, stagnating wages, and declining revenues for the arts fail to keep pace with inflation. Groundstory brings cross-sectoral stakeholders together to identify and implement collective solutions for low-income artists and cultural workers, producing arts organizations, and arts venues in Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area. Groundstory also reaches cities across Ontario through a robust plan of inclusive public engagement and shared learning.

HOW

Groundstory is the first arts-led Collective Impact (CI) effort in the world known to address the roots and adverse ripple effects of gentrification on low-income households and businesses. CI is a framework for social innovation created in 2011 to help tackle complex societal issues. It is a structured approach to make multi-year collaborations work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profits, and impacted citizens to achieve lasting social change. Through deep collaboration, CI aligns the efforts of cross-disciplinary partners to collectively “move the needle” and achieve systemic change to a degree single organizations couldn’t possibly attain on their own.

Based on Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Collective Impact framework, Groundstory will be delivered in three stages: Stage 1, Define the Impact (2017-19); Stage 2, Organize for Impact (2019-2021); and, Stage 3, Deliver Impact (2021-2026+).  We are requesting funding for Stage 1 to help build community consensus and identify an evidence base in support of future stages. As the initial stage of an anticipated decade-long effort, we hope to evolve our relationship with Toronto Pearson into a new multi-year agreement at the successful conclusion of the proposed activities. Planned activities for Stage 1 include:

a) Cultivate structured, cross-sectoral Leadership Committee with minimum eight convening sessions between emerging and established leaders from the arts, government, philanthropy, business, and non-profit sectors, as well as displaced, lower-income artists and arts groups from diverse communities in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area.

b) Map the system/landscape including facilitating focus group interviews with displaced arts groups/artists in Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Scarborough, North York, Brampton, Burlington, and Hamilton; disseminating two needs-analysis/market-research surveys to the arts industry and general public province-wide; completing an international literature review; and, engaging a data scientist/technologist to implement strategies and practices for shared data collection and analysis between partners. Tasked with reviewing 1,500+ high-priority sources in a public Zotero bibliography, the literature review team currently includes 50 volunteers from Etobicoke, Mississauga, Scarborough, Oshawa, Ajax, and Toronto. An applied research partnership with Humber College will also help contribute to this multifaceted research.

c) Public outreach and community engagement including two information sessions and up to four “Round the Block” community roundtables in Toronto, Etobicoke, Hamilton, Mississauga, Scarborough, and North York to identify data (and gaps in data) that map the roots, ripples and responses to gentrification, including sociocultural, economic, and political effects and interventions.

Publish a bilingual website and final report with recommendations for Stage 2.

TIMELINE

2018
Initiate (Feb-Oct).
Develop a Common Agenda. Semi-monthly Leadership Committee convening during all phases. (Toronto x2, Hamilton x2, 1 each at Etobicoke, North York, Mississauga, Scarborough). Landscape review (regional). Public launch events and roundtables (Toronto, Hamilton).
Incubate (Jun-Sep). Landscape review (national). Arts industry focus groups, surveys and information sessions (Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, Mississauga, Scarborough, Brampton, Burlington, Hamilton).
Activate (Sep-Dec). Landscape review (international). Pressure-test preliminary solutions (GTA). Public roundtables (Etobicoke, Mississauga).

2019
Iterate (Jan-Apr). Pressure-test preliminary solutions (Hamilton). General public focus groups, surveys, and information sessions (Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, Mississauga, Scarborough, Brampton, Burlington, Hamilton).
Evaluate (May-Jul). Preparation of final reports with recommendations for Stage 2. Public report launch event and symposium to share gathered knowledge with the sector (Toronto).

DESIRED OUTCOMES

Rather than stop-gap solutions, Groundstory represents a concerted effort to intervene and empower positive, lasting change for some of the most socially and economically vulnerable arts and cultural workers in our society.  Through this effort, our theory of change is to ensure that within a generation no low-income households and small businesses in the arts are involuntarily displaced from their communities of choice due to lack of affordable shelter/spaces. In the shorter-term, a preliminary theory of change reads: “75% of artists in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area are satisfied with their shelter, spaces, and economies of work by 2030”. Given the lack of data and supporting evidence, the purpose of the current proposal is to research and build community consensus on the intervening steps that will help to get us there.

For example, to stem the tides of growing income inequality and socio-spatial displacement of low-income artists in gentrifying neighbourhoods, Groundstory will pressure-test interventions that limit or help artists absorb the rising costs of shelter. Our priorities are to identify interventions that help artists resist the impacts of income inequality and involuntary displacement, including improving access to community services that enhance their financial stability; achieving greater financial independence; becoming/staying employed; and becoming entrepreneurs.

By mapping and responding to factors that drive changes in the accessibility of spaces in gentrifying neighbourhoods, Groundstory will also help municipalities implement sustainable infrastructure plans that are responsive to the socioeconomic needs/potential of the arts to build vital communities. Thus, the arts will have improved access to the types of spaces necessary to produce and maintain compelling services and programming that connects more people to arts and culture.

RECOGNITION
  • Category exclusivity
  • Speaking opportunity at one Groundstory public event
  • Logo recognition in supporters’ panel for printed postcards, flyers, shared learning resources, and public reports related to Groundstory
  • Logo recognition in supporters’ panel of ArtsPond company press releases
  • Logo and name recognition in ArtsPond press releases related to Groundstory
  • Quote in one ArtsPond press release related to Groundstory
  • Logo recognition in supporters’ panel of community partner template press release for Groundstory
  • Name and logo recognition in supporters’ panel at presentations by ArtsPond staff at community outreach events (information sessions, roundtables, symposiums, conferences)
  • One company feature in social media (95,984 total impressions in 2016-17)
  • Logo recognition with hyperlink in footer to front page at ArtsPond.com (8,554 visits in 2016-17) and Groundstory.ca (5,000 visits since public launch in August 2017)
  • Logo recognition in supporters’ panel in ArtsPond monthly e-newsletters
  • Employee volunteer opportunities
  • One ArtsPond-supported strategic business building opportunity
BUDGET
Revenues * = confirmed
100,000 Canada Council for the Arts, Sector Innovation and Development Program (notification April 15, 2018)
8,000 Federal employment programs (notification May 15, 2018)
* 30,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation, Collective Impact Fund Stage 1
20,000 Ontario Arts Council, Arts Services (notification Jul 15, 2018)
30,000 J.W. McConnell Foundation, Innoweave Collective Impact Stream (notification Aug 1, 2018)
5,000 Humber College, Post-Graduate Research Analyst and Arts Management Co-Op Programs
25,000 Toronto Pearson Propeller Project
25,000 Other private sector grants and sponsorships (projected)
* 5,000 Individual donations and special events
  248,000 Total Revenues
Expenses
95,000 Project managers, coordinators, and assistants
50,000 Lead researchers, research assistants, and data scientists/technologists
30,000 Leadership and advisory committee, focus group, and roundtable participant honoraria
35,000 Province-wide survey, focus group, and roundtable hosting expenses
5,000 Research resources, subscriptions, conference attendance expenses
10,000 Marketing communications and publicity
14,500 Translation and simultaneous interpretation services (French/ASL)
9,000 Administration expenses (legal, audit, office supplies, telephone, internet, insurance, banking fees, etc.)
  248,000 Total Expenses

How does your initiative align with the funding stream you are applying for?

Groundstory aligns strongly with the Propeller Project’s investment in employment and community vitality through arts and culture, place-making, and city-building. While the detailed nature and scope of Groundstory’s long-term interventions are still to be determined, the strong applied research and community engagement focus of this proposal will help establish a solid evidence base to drive positive, systemic changes in cultural employment and placemaking in the GTHA in subsequent stages.

For example, by contracting a data scientist/technologist, we expect Groundstory will be able to bring together previously disconnected statistical studies to help identify new quantitative insights related to systemic issues in employment and housing. We anticipate using regression analysis to map new correlations between Toronto Artscape’s micro-analyses of neighbourhood impacts surrounding its buildings; studies of student housing trends by OCAD U, University of Toronto and Ryerson University; City of Toronto’s Vital Signs and new Economic Development & Culture Strategies; multiple sectoral studies by Hill Strategies Research; and more.

At the same time, by disseminating new surveys and facilitating one-on-one case studies and focus groups, Groundstory will help capture current and timely, quantitative stories and evidence about the realities faced by arts and culture workers today. While studies of employment and cultural placemaking typically rely heavily on outdated data from Statistics Canada, Groundstory will offer a much-needed infusion of data to support future advocacy and policy development regionally and across the province.

 

Provide at least one qualitative and one quantitative milestone that you will target each quarter

Q1 May to Jul 2018

Qualitative: Steering and Advisory Committee members have built trusting relationships that sustain strong and inclusive communications between partners.

Quantitative: 350 participants engaged including Steering and Advisory Committee members (50), public roundtable and information session attendees (250), and focus group participants (50).

Q2 Aug to Oct 2018

Qualitative: Artists and other impacted people feel enabled and empowered to share their experiences and perspectives and to contribute to the collective governance of the initiative.

Quantitative: 3,250 participants reached including arts industry survey participants (1,500 regional, 1,500 province-wide), arts industry and general public focus group participants (50), Steering and Advisory Committee members (50), public roundtable and information session attendees (150).

Q3 Nov 2018 to Jan 2019

Qualitative: The general public expresses greater understanding and awareness of the role of artists as rejuvenators of neighbourhoods, and a willingness to support the development of more engaged and inclusive communities through increased participation in arts and culture.

Quantitative: 350 participants engaged including Steering and Advisory Committee members (50), public roundtable and information session attendees (250), and focus group participants (50).

Q4 Feb to Apr 2019

Qualitative: The Steering Committee has identified and communicated a clear and compelling Theory of Change to cross-disciplinary stakeholders across Ontario, including a strong evidence base to guide the next decade of systemic interventions and attract greater community support.

Quantitative: 1,825 participants reached including general public survey participants (800 regional, 800 province-wide), arts industry and general public focus group participants (50), Steering and Advisory Committee members (75), public roundtable and information session attendees (100).

Minimum 0.5 million marketing and media impressions over the course of the year.

How will you effectively communicate your impact and results with Toronto Pearson at the conclusion of the project timeline?

Groundstory’s deep focus on applied research, cultivating a Common Agenda/Theory of Change, and promoting shared impact practices and evaluation between cross-sectoral stakeholders places us in a good position to communicate our impact and results at the conclusion of the proposed timeline. The collective governance model we are developing places evaluation at the core of every stage and activity. Throughout the year, quarterly progress reports will be made openly available to partners and the general public. At the conclusion of the timeline, a final report with a summary of lessons learned and recommendations for subsequent stages will also be made available for open community review and critique. Representatives of Toronto Pearson are also invited to attend any of the semi-monthly Steering Committee meetings to receive more detailed updates.