Senior Artists' Research Project

Research reports

In 2006, a group of artists' associations and individuals came together in response to the growing awareness of the serious challenges facing Canada's professional senior artists. With the intention of developing programs and services to respond to these challenges, they launched the Senior Artists Research Project (SARP) in 2009 to investigate the circumstances, situation, needs and interests of senior artists.

There were three components to the research:

  • Relevant international models of support for senior artists were researched by Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research Inc.
  • Research into the situation of Canadian senior artists, including a quantitative electronic and paper survey as well as focus groups meetings across Canada, was conducted by Kelly Hill.
  • Services that currently exist for senior artists in Canada were researched and summarized by Joysanne Sidimus, SARP Project Director and Celine Marks, Project Administrator.

Research reports related to these issues are provided below in pdf form. For more information about the organization launched to assist artists in their senior years, visit the SARP webpage on the DTRC site.

Based on the survey and focus group sessions, the report on Canadian senior artists examines the circumstances of professional artists in the areas of finances, career, housing, health and isolation. The survey generated an excellent return (1,512 professional artists), representing well the demographic, geographic, language and sectoral breakdown of the country's professional artists. Respondents work in a variety of disciplines, including film, television, other recorded media, theatre, visual and media arts, literary arts / writing, music, dance, interdisciplinary arts, storytelling, teaching, mime, puppetry and performance poetry.

Using the survey data, an assessment of the risk factors of senior artists found that:

  • 46% of artists 55 or over (about 18,000 Canadians) are at high risk in at least one of five key areas: finances, health, housing, isolation and/or artistic career or legacy.
  • 61% of senior artists are at either a moderate or a high financial risk.
  • 73% are at moderate or high health risk.
  • 19% are at moderate or high housing risk.
  • 28% are at moderate or high risk of isolation.
  • 42% of elder artists are at moderate or high risk with regards to their artistic career or legacy.

Many more details from the research are available below in pdf form:

  • The full Canadian report (130 pages).
  • An Executive Summary of the Canadian research (6 pages).
  • A more detailed summary of the Canadian research (37 pages).
  • A report on international best practices (36 pages).
  • A 7-page excerpt of the full report highlighting at-risk senior artists.
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