Social Innovation and EDI: The transformation of the Diefenbaker Canada Centre (Presentation)
Dr. Christopher Gunter, assistant professor at Saint-Paul University
In English | Simultaneous interpretation in French
Inspired by the US Presidential tradition, former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker pushed the idea of creating his own historical library in the City of Saskatoon filled with important cultural items from his and Canada’s political history. Since commencing operations in 1980, the Diefenbaker Canada Centre has undergone many historical shifts in reaction to the changing socio-political environment, especially in regards to EDI. For example, changes to or challenges of government practices, public criticisms and protests of the broader cultural, heritage, and education sectors, including: violence and discrimination against vulnerable groups; the Canadian government’s weak responses, cutbacks, and lack of diversity in representation and education; and, the emergence of reactionary movements (BLM, LGBTQI+, Idle No More). By tracing the discursive changes undergone by the Centre to remain relevant, this research seeks to answer: how has the Centre been transformed in response to these challenges? What elements have endured since its inception? Is the current iteration of the Centre more inclusive? As a pivotal part of Saskatoon’s cultural landscape, the Centre will need to understand its past changes in order to ensure a more inclusive future.
Dr. Christopher Gunter (He/him)
Dr. Gunter is an assistant professor at the Élisabeth-Bruyère School of Social Innovation. His work focuses on cultural policy, museums and activism, identity, cultural administration, and public participation. His current project includes discursive examinations of activist museums and social leadership. Chris also serves as an affiliated professor of the Cultural Policy Research Network, board member of the peer-reviewed journal Culture & Local Governance.