Image from ELAN’s 2016 AGM: Front row, centre: Bettina Forget; second from left: Kristelle Holliday. Back row, second from left: Amy Macdonald; fourth from right: Fortner Anderson.

This month ELAN is saying farewell to Amy Macdonald, who has worked with ELAN for six years. Arriving shortly after a near-death financial crisis in the summer of 2013 had reduced ELAN to a single part-time employee, Amy helped me rebuild the organization on a solid foundation, taking charge of all membership and communication duties. During the past couple of years, as ELAN has multiplied the number of projects we manage and added new full-time employees, she has been instrumental in helping ELAN navigate challenges with team-building, communication, and creating synergy between in-house staff and external project teams. As Amy sets off to pursue her burgeoning career as a musician, she leaves ELAN in immeasurably better shape than she found it. On behalf of ELAN’s staff, board and members I want to thank Amy for her contributions to ELAN, and wish her well in the exciting new adventures that lie ahead.

This month we are also bidding adieu to three dedicated board members who have reached the end of the six-year terms prescribed by ELAN’s by-laws. Bettina Forget has been an ELAN member from the beginning, and president since 2015.  No organization could hope for a better ambassador and leader. Bettina was always available for ELAN despite pursuing her own busy career as an artist, running a gallery, and studying for a Master’s Degree followed by a PhD.  Kristelle Holliday has been treasurer for three years. As administrator for le Théâtre des Petites Lanternes in Sherbrooke, Kristelle spearheaded a series of Made en Estrie schmoozers that increased connections between English- and French-speaking artists in the Townships and le Conseil de la culture de l’Estrie. Kristelle is also the only treasurer I have known who can make the AGM financial report as entertaining as a stand-up routine. Fortner Anderson, a well-known spoken word artist, has collaborated closely on ELAN’s CRTC interventions for many years, and he also represented ELAN on the board of Culture Montréal and the Consultative Programming committee of MAtv.

I invite you all to attend ELAN’s 15th anniversary AGM on August 26 to say goodbye and thank you to the outgoing board members, and to elect their successors. It will also be an occasion to wish Amy well in her future adventures and meet her successor, who should be hired in time for the AGM and the big 15 party at the Rialto Theatre.

Guy Rodgers

Executive Director

 

Alexandre Schmitt (Vice President, Alliance des radios communautaire du Canada); Lily Ryan (President, Quebec Community Newspaper Association); Mélanie Joly (Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie); Francis Sonier (Association de la presse francophone); Guy Rodgers (Executive Director, English Language Arts Network) and Hugh Maynard (representative on behalf of English-language community radio in Quebec).

 

The Official Language Community Media Consortium has been working for the last two years to raise awareness of the urgent necessity for government support for media in a minority language situation.

Through the federal government’s Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023, a $14.5 million investment toward community-based, minority language media has already been initiated, made up of $4.5 million over five years to create 100 internships, and $10 million toward the Minority Media Fund to provide financial assistance for projects that contribute to the maintenance of official-language minority radio and newspapers. The Consortium met with Minister Joly on July 11, 2019 to update on the progress of the support measures and to talk about progress on a Harmonized Interdepartmental Action Plan to Support Official Language Community Media, especially a proportionate share of federal government advertising in official language minority media.

As an organization serving the minority-language community of English-speaking Quebecers, ELAN strongly condemns the implementation of Bill 21 and Justice Michel Yergeau’s decision last week to reject an appeal from civil rights organizations to suspend this law. We support the newest actions of the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association who now seek to appeal the Quebec Superior Court’s decision.

We therefore join our voices in solidarity with the Canadian and Quebec organizations that have condemned Bill 21, including the Canadian Council of Muslim Women; Fédération des femmes du Québec; Justice Femme; the Public Service Alliance (MUNACA); the Quebec Writers’ Federation; the Council of Canadian Muslims; the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA); and the municipal governments across Quebec that have declared that they will not enforce Bill 21.

Read the full statement below:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Board strategic planning meeting.

ELAN celebrated its third year with more firsts! While this stage was still early on in ELAN’s development, our strategic focus turned to questions about the diversity and vitality of our membership. We wanted to know how we could be more effective in diffusing, promoting and improving the work and lives of our members.

To kick off the year, we hosted our first Schmoozer on Valentine’s Day in the single heated room at the Empress Theatre (in NDG). The schmoozer included a guided tour of the once-glamorous, long-abandoned, tragically-dilapidated, and bitterly-frigid shell of a theatre that community partners had ambitious plans to resurrect.

 

Schmoozer in Old Port: Elizabeth Woodyard (staff), Vince, Derek Yaple-Schobert, Sandra Belanger (staff).

Schmoozer in Bily Kun (Plateau): Sandra Belanger (staff), Anne, Erin, Valerie Buddle (who would become ELAN VP (2015-18), Stephanie.

As a great way for members to meet other artists in and outside of their disciplines, Schmoozers became a regular part of our programming. Scores of artists have initiated friendships and professional collaborations at ELAN Schmoozers.

We’ve hosted events around the province, including Quebec City, the Eastern Townships (Knowlton, Sherbrooke, Sutton, North Hatley), Morrin Heights, and Gatineau (Wakefield and Chelsea). Some of our most popular Schmoozers over the years have been partnerships with Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF), Quebec Drama Federation (QDF), the Fringe Festival, the Montreal Film Group and the McGill School of Music.

New office on the Lachine canal. Staff: Aimee Velle, Elizabeth Woodyard.

Office view of the Lachine Canal.

During the previous year, ELAN moved from a corner of Quebec Writers’ Federation office in the Atwater Library to a shared office at the Lachine Canal Complex, complete with sparkling views of passing pleasure craft and paddling kayaks.  We didn’t get a lot of drop-in visits from members on the canal but the office was close to the McAuslan Terrace, which was home to many memorable schmoozers

A key strategic issue for us at this stage was securing ELAN’s stability as an organization. This meant thinking about funding and planning for the long term, understanding the capacity of ELAN’s staff and resources, and defining the roles and responsibilities of our board. With a growing membership, it was also important for us to develop a deeper understanding of members’ needs that would shape our services.

Between 2006-2007, we surveyed ELAN members to identify key areas of interest for professional development and the perennial need for artists’ access to funding. We developed an online job board, hosted Artist Talks that shared practical expertise, and collaborated with YES Montreal to offer business training and entrepreneurial skills for young artists. In October of 2007, we hosted a day-long Grant Writing Workshop that was organized with Canada Council and was attended by 100 people.

Launch of the Arts Services Kit.

It was clear that ELAN could become a valuable resource for members by making documents, guides and research widely available for English-speaking artists in Quebec. We made workshop notes from the Canada Council grant writing workshop available to the public, and constructed an Arts Services Kit (ASK) that was incorporated into our website. Over the years, we have continued to share guides and tool-kits through our Documents archive, a small sample of which includes the Getting Media Attention Workshop Summary (2015), ACCORD Artists Toolkit (2016), the Visual Arts Market Access Panel Summary (2016).

Based on interviews and focus groups with ELAN members and allies, we produced a Strategic Plan that would guide our programming and identify key areas of concern for artists in Quebec, which, in 2019, continue to guide our work. We wanted to ensure that the French-speaking community saw us as a partner in the creation and promotion of the arts in Quebec. We understood that there was important work to do in strengthening the ties between arts and education⁠—work that would lead to successful projects like ACE Initiative and Artists Inspire Grants.

One of ELAN’s major roles was, and continues to be, to give a clear voice to the concerns of our members and to be a catalyst for promoting multicultural and multidisciplinary exchanges. ELAN has been a member of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) since 2005. Along with the QDF, ELAN has promoted artists and the arts as an important part of the English-speaking community. QCGN played an instrumental role in helping ELAN write to major applications that would result in Recognizing Artists, Enfin Visible! (RAEV).

During 2006-07, ELAN’s Advocacy Group prepared briefs for the reorganization of le Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Standing Committee of the CBC, the Standing Committee on Official Languages, and the CRTC. ELAN was increasingly approached by government bodies to give the English-language arts community representation in public consultations where our community was previously unrepresented.