Groundstory is a collective impact effort with a mandate to address the adverse effects of gentrification on the arts
Groundstory is a collective impact effort with a mandate to address the adverse effects of gentrification on the arts and other vulnerable, low-income groups in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Over the coming decade, Groundstory will bolster cross-sectoral responses to three systemic issues, including:
- Deepening income precarity and inequality
- Increasing lack of accessible and affordable shelter and spaces of work
- Growing socio-spatial displacement of vulnerable workers from rapidly densifying neighbourhoods.
For decades, artists have been commonly implicated in traditional debates around the facilitation of gentrification and displacement. However, recent research indicates that the “standard arts-led gentrification narrative is too generalized or simply no longer applicable to contemporary arts-gentrification processes.”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 respond to, these evolving narratives with a focus on the Greater Toronto to Hamilton Area, while reaching communities across Ontario and the rest of Canada through a deep commitment to shared learning online.
Theory of Change
What will it take to feel satisfied with both shelter and spaces of work?
An early proposed theory of change for Groundstory reads:
“75% of arts and culture workers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area are satisfied with their shelter and spaces of work by 2030.”
What will it take to get there? Is this both a desirable (truly yes) and deliverable (uncertainly so) milestone for every community? How might future solutions benefit not only the arts, but other vulnerable, low-income groups in society equally well? What do arts and culture workers need to help rally and inspire a new course in city-building that is inherently inclusive, affordable, and accessible for all?
In order to evaluate the validity and progress in achieving this theory of change, significant research is required to better understand:
- Essential elements underlying satisfaction with shelter and spaces of work for arts and culture workers and other low-income groups from all cultures, ethnicities, industries, and neighbourhoods
- Correlations between shelter and spaces of work to overall satisfaction for these diverse communities
- Current levels of satisfaction across regions, cultures, and disciplines
- Past and future risk of displacement from shelter and spaces of work
- Perceptions and roles of the arts in either causing and/or mitigating the adverse effects of gentrification and displacement in diverse communities.
Impacted residents and cross-sectoral champions from the arts, business, non-profit and public sectors are invited intervene together with shared, collective purpose
With generous funding from Ontario Trillium Foundation, the first stage of Groundstory invites impacted residents and cross-sectoral leaders from the arts, business, non-profit, and public sectors come together to cultivate consensus and urgency to intervene with shared, collective purpose via a multi-year collaboration.
Spanning Fall 2017 to Spring/Summer 2019, major activities for Stage 1 include:
- Convene cross-sectoral stakeholders, and identify who else needs to be involved
- Define the Steering/Advisory Committees and their roles
- Develop a common agenda
- Establish a theory of change and shared measurement approach
- Map the system/landscape and build a strong case for change
- Identify what data (and what gaps in data) exists
- Community outreach and engagement to attract participation.
Major community outreach and applied research activities for Stage 1 also includes:
- “Round the Block” public roundtable events to capture stories from community members about how they have been impacted by shelter or spacing issues;
- Surveys and focus groups designed for both artists and the general public province-wide and nationally; plus,
- Comprehensive international literature review to help establish a foundation for action.
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