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Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice project welcomes Musagetes Foundation as partner and sponsor

The Musagetes Foundation has joined the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP) project as a partner in the international research project. Musagetes is a public foundation focussing on the arts, creativity, and community.

“ICASP and Musagetes share a vision about the power and efficacy of the arts, about the role that creativity can play in sparking social change,” says Dr. Ajay Heble, project director of ICASP. “We are genuinely excited by the opportunities and collaborations that such a partnership will open up.”

Musagetes representatives will participate in a workshop with ICASP’s Improvisation and Social Policy research team this summer, to generate questions, hypotheses, and ideas around the theme of social policy and improvisation. The Foundation will also be a sponsor of the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, to be held September 9-11, 2009, in Guelph, Ont. Its funding will be used to convene two plenary panels and to support follow-up meetings with relevant partners and stakeholders to develop a policy paper on improvisation and arts funding, using key insights and data from the September event.

"The power of music lies in its ability to communicate across cultures; through improvisation we deepen our social connections," says Shawn Van Sluys, executive director of the Musagetes Foundation. "Musical improvisation helps to create an environment in which people flourish and for that reason we're very pleased to partner with ICASP."

ICASP plays a leading role in defining a new field of interdisciplinary research to shape political, cultural, and ethical dialogue and action. The project is centered at the University of Guelph (in partnership with McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and Université de Montréal) and is funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) program.

The Musagetes Foundation, a Guelph neighbour of ICASP, seeks to develop a new approach to enhance the impact of artistic creativity on culture, policy makers, and the conduct of public and civil affairs in the world by integrating artistic creativity into modern life and by contributing to positive change through the arts, both nationally and globally.

So one of the things that improvisation has come to mean in the context of highly technological performance is that improvisation is the last claim to the legitimate presence of a human in the performance of music.

– Bob Ostertag