We have been dedicated to using research to gain evidence-based knowledge about our sector for a number of years. Data from our own studies as well as external projects build our knowledge and guide our decisions.

Calgary Arts Development is seen as an arts research leader in Canada. Our research manager Greg Burbidge participates with a number of networks and partners including Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada (CADAC), Canadian Public Arts Funders Research Group, Community Data Project, Cultural Research Network, and Municipal Arts Research Network. Other research partners and collaborators include Calgary Economic Development , Canada Council for the Arts, the Conference Board of Canada, Creative Cities Network of Canada, and DataArts.

Our research activities increase our capacity as a knowledge hub and improve our ability to be a strategic advisor to City Council.


Research projects in 2022 included the following:



2022 Citizen Engagement Survey report


Since 2014, Calgary Arts Development has partnered with Stone-Olafson to better understand the degree and nature of how Calgarians are engaging with arts and culture in our community. Specific objectives include:

  • Monitor overall engagement with the arts in Calgary;
  • Determine the type of engagement — either in observation, attendance or creation;
  • Understand community perceptions and interactions with arts and culture activities/organizations;
  • Understand how perceptions and interactions with the arts have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Evaluate citizen perceptions of the benefits of the arts and culture sector to the city, their community or themselves.


While the original versions of the Citizen Engagement Survey were fielded biannually in 2016 and 2018, the global COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the decision to delay the next version of the survey. Changing contexts are altering the conditions under which Calgarians engage with the arts. The results of this survey show large audiences that are eager to return to live events though many individuals remain concerned about crowded gatherings and some will continue to prefer the online offerings they discovered while in lockdown. Financial pressure and changing priorities post-pandemic will also inform future participation.


A summary and the full report can be found here.



Economic Impact Assessment


In 2022, Calgary Arts Development contracted KPMG, a leading global professional services firm, to independently conduct a revised economic impact assessment of Calgary arts organizations that receive Calgary Arts Development operating grant funding. The assessment measured recurring economic impacts resulting from the collective operating expenditures of these 166 operating grant recipients. This is an update to the 2018 Economic Impact Assessment.


The economic impacts relate to the direct and indirect impacts from the injection of dollars that result from the operating expenditures of these collective arts organizations. Types of operating expenditures include: salaries and benefits, production and equipment, fees paid to artists, rent and facility costs, marketing and communications, supplies, administration and other costs.


This study focuses on quantifying four specific dimensions of economic impact: value-added GDP, labour income, employment, and government revenue.


The full report can be found here.  



Understanding Youth and Arts Education in Calgary


Despite overwhelming research that supports the long-term benefits of arts education and the role it has in youth development, learning, community building and employment, these benefits are not widely recognized by key stakeholder groups. To better understand this disconnect, Calgary Arts Development funded a benchmark survey undertaken by Arts Commons through research consulting firm Stone-Olafson in spring 2022.


Three key stakeholder groups were identified and received customized surveys: educators, parents and arts facilitators, including independent teaching artists, arts organizations, and both commercial and community organizations. The results indicated that parents were significantly unaware of the value of arts education, there is a pressing need for support and training for teachers, and finally, that there is an eagerness from artists to learn more, engage more and connect to more teaching opportunities. A summary can be found here. In response, Arts Commons has conceptualized Arts ReimaginED.



Demographic Survey


In 2022, we undertook the next iteration of our Demographic survey with the results scheduled for release in 2023.