ELAN was conceived in November 2004 at the Quebec Arts Summit in Montreal. More than 200 artists, government officials, and other representatives of the English-speaking arts milieu came together for the first time to discuss supporting artists and cultural workers in Quebec’s official language minority community (OLMC).
In the preceding three decades, hundreds of thousands of English-speaking Quebecers had left the province. Around the new millennium, a new spirit of optimism began to emerge. English-speaking artists wanted to break down old stereotypes, identify common ground, and consolidate links with French-language communities. The challenge was to build a sustainable community and create conditions that would empower English-speaking artists to stay and thrive in Quebec.