Sunday, April 27, 2008



Working through English in the Arts
As you know Montreal is now primarily French. The organization Elan was formed to help English-language artists be better integrated in the Quebec arts milieu. It works to build bridges between artistic disciplines and also between English-speaking and French-speaking communities.
Exchanging information can be of enormous benefit in and of itself. One artistic discipline may pioneer an idea or open doors that can benefit other disciplines. This kind of dialogue can be facilitated by regular public events and an on-going electronic bulletin board. Concrete examples of exchanged resources are co-productions and shared mailing lists. Shared community resources can range from accountants and web designers to publicists and rehearsal spaces. The multidisciplinary nature of ELAN opens up many possible creative connections between artists e,g, musicians who provide music for theatre productions and visual artists who design book covers or posters.

ELAN brings together English-speaking artists from literature/publishing, theatre, film/television, music, dance and the visual arts. It facilitates communication between disciplines and promotes a new face of English-speaking artists in Quebec.

As Elan says, the roots of the English-language Arts Network go back to the Official Languages Act (OLA) of Canada, which guaranteed federal government support for linguistic minorities. “The real impetus for the OLA was to protect minority language francophone communities outside Quebec. Most bureaucrats in Ottawa did not recognize English-speaking Quebeckers as a linguistic minority in need of federal protection, and most anglo Quebeckers agreed.”
“During the 80s and 90s francophone artists outside Quebec took advantage of the OLA to structure, organize and develop their community. Anglo Quebeckers made few requests for assistance as part of a minority language community. The focus of their efforts was to become integrated in the mainstream of Quebec/Canadian culture.”
By the dawn of the 21st century many English-speaking Quebeckers were feeling secure enough about their place within Quebec society to admit that no matter how integrated we become, there will always be special obstacles to producing art as part of a minority culture. Theoretically, an infinite English-speaking market is "out there" but to tap into it without leaving Quebec is not always easy.”
To learn more about Elan, look at:

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