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November 2010 Competition
A Pilot Program for Artist-Researchers Affiliated with Canadian Postsecondary Institutions
Value and Duration
Evaluation and Adjudication
This pilot program was developed in several stages.
In October 2000, SSHRC
sponsored a major conference on the future of the humanities in Canada,
“Alternative Wor(l)ds: The Humanities in 2010”. The vigour
of debate and richness of ideas led to SSHRC appointing a Working Group
on the Future of the Humanities to make recommendations to Council concerning
the issues that the delegates deemed of greatest importance. The Report
of the Working Group on the Future of the Humanities (PDF 684KB),
published in March 2001, elicited a formal Response
from SSHRC Council (PDF 49KB). Among the report’s guiding principles
was that “we must bridge the gap between the creative and interpretive
disciplines and link the humanities more closely with the arts communities.”
In June 2001, SSHRC responded to this by creating the Sub-Committee on
the Creative and Fine Arts to look into the nature of the research undertaken
by artist-researchers and their access to federal funding for research.
The sub-committee’s two reports to Council discussed the following:
the potentially transformative nature of research undertaken by
the centrality of artist-researchers to current interdisciplinary
research and humanities scholars’ demands for better integration
into the overall Canadian research effort;
the significant and increasing number of practicing artists—faculty
and graduate and undergraduate students—working in Canadian
the limited research funding currently available to artist-researchers;
relevant policies and programs of other agencies, such as the Fonds
québécois de recherche sur la société
et la culture (FQRSC) and the Canada Council for the Arts;
the frustration experienced and opportunities lost by university-
and college-based artists who lack a federal research funding agency
to which they can apply;
artist-researchers’ low participation and low success rates
in existing SSHRC programs, the associated difficulties they face
as applicants, and their widespread perception that SSHRC programs,
criteria, and committees are not sympathetic to their research.
The sub-committee concluded that SSHRC should put into place a pilot
program to support the work of artist-researchers in Canada’s postsecondary
institutions. In March 2003, Council approved the launch of a three-competition pilot
In 2006-07 SSHRC undertook a formative evaluation of the program. The evaluation was positive and, as such, SSHRC is offering the program for another year of funding. A summative evaluation will be conducted at a later date.
The broad purpose of the pilot program is to support
and develop excellence in research in artistic disciplines. An artistic
discipline includes, but is not limited to, one or more of the following categories:
architecture, design (including interior design), creative writing, visual
arts (e.g., painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles), performing
arts (dance, music, theatre), film, video, performance art, interdisciplinary
arts, media and electronic arts, and new artistic practices. This list is not exhaustive and applicants are encouraged to communicate with the program officer when the relevance of proposed projects to the program objectives is uncertain.
SSHRC recognizes that artist-researchers work in an academic setting
and that, like their colleagues in other fields, their duties focus on
two broad functions: contributing to the development or renewal of their
field, and training undergraduate and graduate students. Accordingly,
the program’s specific objectives are to:
support high-quality research-creation in projects that advance
knowledge in the fine arts and enhance the overall quality of artistic
production in Canadian postsecondary institutions;
develop the research skills of graduate and undergraduate students
who are working in artistic and related disciplines through their
participation in programs of research that involve artistic practice;
facilitate the dissemination and presentation of high quality work
to a broad public through a diversity of scholarly and artistic means;
foster opportunities for collaboration, whenever appropriate, among university- and college-based
artist-researchers, other university and college researchers, and
The program invites artist-researchers
affiliated with Canadian postsecondary institutions, within a broad range of disciplines, to apply for research
grants of up to three years’ duration to support research-creation.
An artist-researcher is defined as a member of the faculty of a Canadian
postsecondary institution whose work involves research, the creation of
works of art, and the training of undergraduate and/or graduate students.
Where the institution agrees, this category includes adjunct, part-time,
sessional and emeritus faculty as well as university-employed curators,
so long as these individuals meet the requirements of the definition.
Research-creation refers to any research activity or approach to research
that forms an essential part of a creative process or artistic
discipline and that directly fosters the creation of literary/artistic
works. The research must address clear research questions, offer theoretical
contextualization within the relevant field or fields of literary/artistic
inquiry, and present a well considered methodological approach. Both the
research and the resulting literary/artistic works must meet peer standards
of excellence and be suitable for publication, public performance or viewing.
This means that the artist’s or writer’s peers must regard
the research or the approach to research as contributing to:
- development of one or more forms of artistic expression (i.e., the
proposed project represents a new development, is original, innovative,
or renews some aspect of the field);
- training of students; and
- enrichment of Canadian and/or international culture.
A program of research-creation
is defined as a sustained research enterprise that includes one or more
projects or other components, and which is shaped by broad objectives
for the advancement of knowledge in the fine arts, through the development
or renewal of the field of artistic endeavour concerned.
Such a program might be undertaken primarily by one investigator and
be encompassed within a single research career, or it could mobilize a
team of researchers during a specific period. In pursuit of the overall
objectives, specific approaches and methods are advanced, adopted and
modified as the research proceeds and research results are made available
to the research community and the public.
SSHRC will award grants for new and ongoing programs of research-creation
based on peer-review judgment of proposals’ probable contribution
to knowledge in the relevant disciplines. Such knowledge may concern the
development of techniques (e.g., musical, computer, material) in the various
artistic disciplines involved. Proposals that focus on the creation of
curriculum are not eligible, though it is understood that research-creation
can lead to improved curricula and serve as a method of disseminating
Value and Duration
Grants are available for programs
of research-creation of up to three years. The value of these grants
is up to a maximum of $100,000 per year, but totalling not more than $250,000
in a three-year period. SSHRC welcomes both small- and large-scale projects.
Except for researchers at Canadian postsecondary
institutions that do not receive a SSHRC
Institutional Grant, the program requires a minimum budget of $7,000 in at least one of the three years.
The value of
individual awards will vary. Most awards are for three years. Grants must
be taken up in the first fiscal year for which they are awarded.
Only those who fulfill the definition of artist-researcher
are eligible to apply to this program. Humanities and social science scholars
affiliated with Canadian postsecondary institutions who engage in research-creation
are also eligible to apply.
Note: Research proposals that do not involve a significant
creative component should be submitted to one of the Standard Research
Grant committees or to another appropriate SSHRC program. Proposals that
do not meet the definition of research-creation
will be ruled ineligible for this program.
Applications may be submitted by an individual artist-researcher, a team
of artist-researchers, or a mixed team of artist-researchers, researchers
in other academic fields, and professional artists. There are two categories
of eligible applicant:
There are three other categories of eligible participant:
- Research collaborator
- Student assistant
- Other assistants and support staff
All applicants and participants must meet the eligibility criteria specific
to their category.
Professional artists may participate, but only as research collaborators
or consultants. If such artists are involved as paid consultants, it must
be clear that neither the applicant nor any available co-applicant, collaborator
or student has the artistic skills needed to carry out the research.
Students may participate only as research assistants. They may be paid
either through hourly wages or through student stipends. Faculty who are
also students—that is, who are taking courses on a part-time basis—should
apply as faculty, assuming they have the support of their institution.
SSHRC encourages Canadian artist-researchers to develop international
research collaborations when appropriate. Please consult the SSHRC
Holder's Guide for detailed information about eligible expenses, including
the travel and subsistence costs of foreign research collaborators and
the hiring of foreign research assistants.
Institutions that propose to administer any grant awarded under this program must meet the requirements for managing SSHRC funds and must hold or obtain institutional eligibility.
Evaluation and Adjudication
Peer Review Process
Applications are adjudicated, and available funds awarded, through a
competitive process. An interdisciplinary peer adjudication committee
evaluates and ranks all applications. The committee is composed primarily
of artist-researchers, but may also include, as appropriate, professional
artists and researchers in relevant humanities, social science and natural
science and engineering disciplines. SSHRC may also solicit external assessments from
experts in fields appropriate to the applications.
The committee will rely primarily on a required one-page statement of
relevance to screen out any applications that do not, in its view, fulfill
the definition of research-creation.
The adjudication committee and any external assessors will examine proposals
on the basis of the following five criteria:
Significance: intellectual and artistic significance
of the proposed research-creation within both artistic and academic disciplines;
significance of the proposal for society, whether at local, regional,
national, or global levels.
Research-creation plan: strength and feasibility of
the proposed program of research-creation, including clarity of research
questions, strength of theoretical or reflective framework, specificity
and viability of proposed methodologies and creative practices, degree
of coordination with partners, handling of any ethical considerations,
measures in place for management of the project.
Training plan: value and feasibility of the proposed
training for students pursuing careers in research-creation.
Qualifications: academic, artistic and other qualifications
of the applicant and (as applicable) other members of the research team
for carrying out the proposed research-creation and training, including
strength of the overall track record in research-creation and student
training as these relate to the proposed program of research-creation.
Knowledge mobilization: value and feasibility of plans
to disseminate resulting artistic and other research knowledge within
the academy, at the community level, across Canada and internationally
via exhibitions, performances, publications, curricula, Web sites, CDs,
DVDs, films, etc.
The committee’s application of the five criteria will take into
account the stage the applicant and any team members have reached in their
careers. Emerging scholars will be assessed as much on their promise as
artist-researchers as on their achievement to date in research-creation.
The committee will also take into consideration circumstances that the
applicant demonstrates have justifiably impeded his or her achievements
in research-creation. Allowances will be made for applicants from smaller
institutions who are not in a position to supervise graduate students.
The adjudication committee will rank each application on the basis of
its assessment of the strength of the proposal in relation to the other
applications in the competition.
The committee will provide each applicant with a summary page of feedback
on the most important factor or factors in their assessment.
All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations
Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide (TAFAG). While the TAFAG has precedence, additional information can also be found in the
For more information about the Research-Creation Grants in Fine Arts
program, and for advice on how to best present your application, please
Strategic Grants and Joint Initiatives Division
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4