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Organizational Directory

As a tool of the cultural inventory project the directory of cultural organizations is intended to be a means of categorizing and retrieving basic data and is meant to be a dynamic and ongoing recording of Edmonton’s cultural organizations

A framework (or taxonomy) was used to guide the predicable and repeatable pattern of data collection, categorization, and interpretation. The complex and rich fabric of today’s cities, of which cultural organizations are a vital part, called for a rationalization process aimed at determining how data on Edmonton’s diverse range of creative and cultural organizations in the, private and public sectors, can logically be housed together in a directory.

For instance, what about the many churches and restaurants that have become performance venue mainstays, the art programs run by churches and community leagues; how do they fit into a directory alongside formal venues such as theatres, symphonies, and museums? How do you logically justify their inclusion in a directory of cultural organizations while also ensuring the process is not blurred by global commercial culture (e.g., Cineplex Odeon complexes, Chapters, HMV, etc.)?

Though cultural in the broad UNESCO conception of the term, Edmonton's parks, churches, schools, community leagues, and restaurants were in fact not included in the directory in and of themselves as their purposes are not directly involved with arts or heritage. However, the specifically arts and heritage focused elements of these organizations are embraced. The idea was to include, for instance, only the fine arts department of a university but not all universities in general; only the churches that can and are repurposed as arts or heritage facilities/venues but not all churches in general; restaurants that annually display, present, or distribute art work but not restaurants in general.

Organizational Directory Framework

The organizational directory's development through a database allowed large amounts of data on Edmonton's cultural organizations to be consistently and logically categorized and, eventually, retrieved.

It is hoped that the framework for the directory will facilitate the consistent categorization and retrieval of data on Edmonton’s cultural organization and their potential characteristics. It determines the possible cross measures for the organizations entered into the directory and allows for important differentiations. Unfortunately it, as has been extensively noted by others attempting similar cataloguing or data-based activities, does not have neat or firm boundaries—it is an imperfect process.

Presented below are the main components of the framework.

1. Civic Ward

Organizations entered into the directory are recorded as belonging to one of Edmonton's six civic wards and the directory therefore reveals, through its search function, the breakdown of organizations by ward.

2. Corporate Structure
  • Non-Profit
  • For-Profit
  • Distinct Department or Section of a University/College/Secondary School
  • Distinct Department or Section of the Municipal Government
  • Distinct Department or Section of the Provincial Government
  • Distinct Department or Section of the Federal Government

An important and defining element of a cultural organization is its corporate structure. Though there are an ever increasing number of interdependent relationships between cultural organizations in the commercial and non-commercial sectors - being able to differentiate between them is thought important.

3. Discipline and Sub-Discipline
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Literary Arts
  • Media Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Heritage
  • Multidisciplinary

An organization's primary area of focus is vital in shaping an organization's activities. The discipline sub categories presented below are adapted from www.Culture.ca-the portal developed by the Department of Canadian Heritage. This categorization is very general (i.e. rock could be further subdivided into alternative/indie rock, pop rock, hard rock, etc., but for the purposes of the directory the term "rock" is simply used).

Table 1: Discipline Breakdown

Dance Music Theatre Heritage
Ballet Blues Children's Museum
Contemporary Classical Comedy Archives
Hip Hop Country Drama Historical and Heritage Societies
Tap Folk/Roots Improvisation Preservation and Conservation Organizations
Ballroom Jazz Opera Interpretative Facilities / Sites
Competitive New Age Performance Art Protected Places
Experimental Rap Spiritual/Religious (Archeological,
Folk Pop Spoken Word Architecture,
Jazz Rock Street Historic, and
Social World Circus Natural Landscapes)
Ethno Cultural Children's Community
Multidisciplinary Experimental/Electronic Experimental
Hip Hop/Rap Musical
R&B Pantomime
Punk Puppetry
Musicals Storytelling
Opera Variety
Spiritual/Religious Multi

Literary Arts Media Arts Visual Arts
Canadian Classics Animation Folk
Fiction Design Graphic
Graphic E-Learning Painting
Magazines Games Sculpture
Non-Fiction Online Communities Installation
Poetry Pod Casting Drawing
Spoken Word Radio Graffiti
Children's Digital Recordings Craft
Publishing Film Multi
Folktales Photography
Humor Television
Newspapers Multi
Short Stories
4. Basic Description

A basic description (i.e. a descriptive sentence on what the organization is—a dance school, dance company, band, theatre school, commercial art gallery, museum, etc) is recorded to accommodate keyword searches.

5. Function

  • Creation (A)
  • Production (A)
  • Manufacturing (A)
  • Distribution (A)
  • Casual Education (A/H)
  • Professional Education (A/H)
  • Supplies and/or Services (A/H)
  • Advocacy and/or Funder (A/V)
  • Artifact Storage and Preservation (H)
  • Exhibit Development and Presentation (H)
  • Public Programming and Interpretation (H)
  • Architectural Preservation and Restoration (H)
  • Historical Interpretation and Re-enactment (H)
  • Ethno-Cultural Education Promotion and Production (H)
  • Facility (A/H)
  • Social Advocacy (A/H)

The values established for recording the function of an organization are adapted from Statistics Canada's Canadian Framework for Cultural Statistics. It is seen as central in facilitating the capture of organizations with such divergent purposes in one directory. It makes it possible to record information on independent bookstores and movie theatres (distributors) to theatre companies (creation) to repurposed church halls used for live performance (facility) in one place. The value selected is the one/s which represent/s the overarching-the ultimate-purpose of an organization, within the context of the cultural inventory project. Even though "creation" definitely takes place in a university drawing class the ultimate purpose of the class is "professional education" not the generation of original creative artistic ideas. Or in the instance of, say, a rentable community league hall or church basement where the organizations only purpose, within the context of the project, is that of "facility". The letters in brackets indicate if the function is applicable to an arts organization (A), or a heritage organizations (H), or both (A/H). This is represented below with Tables 2 through 4, where these potential values are defined.

Table 2: Functions for Arts (e.g. Dance, Literary Arts, Music) Organizations Only

Creation Production Manufacturing Distribution
Organizations that generate an original creative artistic idea (e.g. original screen play, original musical composition)
Note: this "function" is usually undertaken by individuals not organizations
Organizations that produce a creative artistic idea into a good or service (e.g. books, magazines, sound recording, concerts, theatre, performances, or exhibitions at an art gallery), that can be readily identified Organizations that reproduce on a mass scale a created or produced cultural good (e.g. film duplication, printing, visual arts posters) from a master copy Organizations that distribute, on a mass scale (i.e. to groups or repeatedly on an individual basis), cultural goods and services (e.g. book stores, libraries, cinemas, live performance presenters with facilities, radio and television broadcasters).

Table 3: Functions for Heritage Organizations Only

Artifact Storage and Preservation Exhibit Development Public Programming and Interpretation
Organizations involved in the storage and preservation of artifacts ( e.g. archives like the City of Edmonton Archives) Organizations involved in producing exhibits from stored and/or preserved artifacts (e.g. museum exhibits) Organizations involved in producing and presenting programs to the public designed to contextualize the significance of heritage exhibits ( e.g. museums with public programming like the Royal Alberta Museum)

Historical Interpretation and Re-enactment Architectural Preservation and Restoration Ethno - Cultural Education and Promotion
Organizations involved in re-creating historical periods and architecture ( e.g. living history parks like Fort Edmonton Park) Organizations involved in the protection and/or restoration of buildings (e.g. preservation societies like the Alberta Government House Foundation) Organizations involved in the preservation, promotion, and education of specific ethnocultural practices (e.g. ethnocultural organizations like the Edmonton Indonesian Community or German Association of Alberta)

Table 4: Functions Applicable to both Heritage and Arts Organizations

Professional Education Casual Education Supplies and/or Services
Organizations which offer post secondary accreditation in the arts or heritage sector and also professional dance schools and musical academies ( entry through audition only) Organizations which offer recreational, often non competitive ( but not always), non-accreditation and commercial arts and heritage instructional classes and programs Organizations which sell or repair supplies used for the creation or production of art or other heritage related purposes; paid agent management, or promotional services ( without a facility)
Note: this value would most likely be selected in the case of for - profit organizations

Advocacy and/or Funder Facility Social Advocacy
Organizations that provide grants or undertake other funding or advocacy activities in support of artistic creation and production and/or in the heritage sector
Note: this value would most likely be selected in the case of non - profit and government organizations
Organizations which have rentable spaces for arts or heritage related activities Organizations which specifically use the arts and/or heritage to fulfill a social service mandate or mission
6. Usage Group
  • General Public
  • Professional Artists
  • Community/Amateur Artists
  • Post Secondary Students
  • Aboriginals
  • Ethnocultural Groups
  • Youth ( K–12)
  • Seniors
  • Medical Patients
  • Women
  • Corporate
  • Non-Profit

Who the intended audience, patron, recipient, user, and/or consumer is thought to be an interesting and important factor in defining a cultural organization. Just as people hold many identities (e.g. professional artist and woman); organizations exist representing a range of individuals and/or groups (e.g., post-secondary students and Aboriginals or non-profit groups and professional and emerging artists as, which for instance, is the case with the Edmonton Arts Council). As with the function, the most applicable value, the one that best represents who specifically, group and/or individual the organization exists for. Some organizations are intended for no one readily identifiable group and so the value "general public" has been included. An organization can be intended for the general public (e.g. live theatre company), but could also have program/s for a specified target demographic (e.g. a theatre school for k-12 youth). In such a case both values are selected.

Table 5: Usage Groups Descriptions

General Public Professional Artists Community/Amateur Artists Post Secondary Students
Organizations which are intended to serve the general public (i.e. no one specific group) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically professional artists, as defined by the Edmonton Arts Council (e.g. The Writers Guild of Alberta) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically amateur artists (e.g. Theatre Squared and their Shrieking Youth Emerging Artist Festival, note: the value "youth would also be selected) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically post - secondary students (e.g. University of Alberta's Department of Art and Design)

Youth Aboriginals Ethno - Cultural Groups Seniors
Organizations which are in intended to serve specifically youth ( e.g. Sandra Gray School of Dancing or Young Alberta Book Society) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically Aboriginals (e.g. The Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association's Arts and Culture programs) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically a given ethno - cultural group other than Aboriginals (e.g. Centre D Arts Visuels D Alberta or The Bavarian Schuhplattler of Edmonton) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically seniors (e.g. SAGE Geri Actors)

Medical Patients Women Corporate Non-Profit
Organizations which are intended to serve specifically medical patients (e.g. University of Alberta McMullen Art Gallery) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically women (e.g. The Amber Affair Festival) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically the corporate sector (e.g. Frecklecreative Marketing and Design) Organizations which are intended to serve specifically the non-profit sector (e.g. Edmonton Arts Council)
7. Rentable Facility Type

This part of the framework is intended to reveal the range of rentable facilities in Edmonton - some are owned by a given cultural organization others are only facilities, within the context of the project. When this information was available (via the internet) it was recorded. As the level of detail available in this area on the internet was limited, often this field was very difficult to fill.

  • Multipurpose Facility
  • Auditorium
  • Gallery Space
  • Cinema
  • Work/Live Studio
  • Production Studio

Table 6: Description of Facility Types

Multipurpose Facility Auditorium Gallery Space
A space that could be suitable for gatherings, concerts, classes, rehearsals and/or other performances (e.g., community league hall, church basement, etc) A space designed specifically for concerts, and other performances with a stage and permanent audience seating (e.g., Jubilee Auditorium) A space designed specifically for art or heritage exhibits (e.g., an art gallery or museum)

Cinema Work/Live Studio Production Studio
A space specifically designed for the presentation of audio visuals. A space specifically designed for artists to live and create and/or produce art A space specifically designed and equipped for artistic creation and/or production (most applicable for the visual or media arts)


In summary, cultural organizations entered into the directory are categorized (and can be searched for) by their ward, corporate structure, discipline, function, usage group, and if they have/are a rentable facility.

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