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I think that there needs to be greater capacity within the art sector for research to action. When I say that the art sector itself needs to be driving policy. We need to have the tools, the understanding, the training, the connections to truly impact policy and one thing that Mass Culture is really focused on at the moment is how do we first engage the sector in what are the research priorities and what needs to be investigated together and what that process looks like, but then how do you then take that research create it so that it drives change.robin sokoloski, conscient podcast, june 29, 2021, toronto
Robin Sokoloski (she/her) is very active in the Canadian arts and culture sector. Currently, she is the Director of Organizational Development of Mass Culture – Mobilisation culturelle, Robin is working with academics, funders and arts practitioners to support a thriving arts community by mobilizing the creation, amplification and community informed analysis of research. For 10+ years, Robin was the Executive Director of Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC). During her time there she launched the Canadian Play Outlet (a bookstore dedicated entirely to Canadian Plays), fostered a growing national awards program for playwrights, the Tom Hendry Awards, and led major changes within the organization. Robin remains committed to Canada’s arts and culture scene by volunteering for various arts organizations as a way of staying connected to the local arts community and ensuring public access to artistic experiences.
I first met Robin Sokoloski at a national arts service organization meeting in Ottawa and as a representative of Mass Culture. As of April 2021, we worked together on the coordinating committee of the Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency (SCALE).
Two quotes caught my attention during our conversation:
Creative Solution Making
I’m very curious to see what the arts can do to convene us as a society around particular areas of challenges and interests that we’re all feeling and needing to face. I think it’s about bringing the art into a frame where we could potentially provide a greater sense of creative solution making instead of how we are sometimes viewed, which is art on walls or on stages. I think there’s much more potential than that to engage the arts in society.
We do have the power as human beings to change human systems and so I think I’m very curious of working with people who are like-minded and who want to operate differently. I often use the organizational structure as an example of that because it is, as we all know is not a perfect model. We complain about it often and yet we always default to it. How can we come together, organize and, and bring ideas to life in different ways by changing that current system, make it more equitable, make it more inclusive, find ways of bringing people in and not necessarily having them commit, but have them come touch and go when they need to and I feel as though there’ll be a more range of ideas brought to the table and just a more enriching experience and being able to bring solutions into reality by thinking of how our structures are set up and how we could do those things differently.
As I have done in all episodes in season 2 so far, I have integrated excerpts from soundscape compositions and quotations drawn from e19 reality, as well as moments of silence and new soundscape recordings, in this episode.
I would like to thank Robin for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her deep knowledge of cultural policy, her passion for research, her spirit of generosity and her ability to walk her talk on organizational change.