Power of the Arts National Forum

Between 2013 and 2015, the annual Power of the Arts National Forum series was co-organized by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and Carleton University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. It convenes researchers, business leaders, legal experts, policymakers, urban planners, architects, youth, health practitioners, artists, and representatives of other key sectors of Canadian society.

The main objectives of the Forum are to reinforce a Pan-Canadian and multi-sector network of researchers, practitioners and organizations using the arts as tools for social change and to enhance an action plan reinforcing national, regional and local initiatives using the arts to improve the quality of life in underserved communities.

Please note that the next Power of the Arts National Forum will take place February 16 to 18, 2018, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. See details here.

The participants at the 2013 and 2014 Forums drafted national arts for social change action plans, which served as the basis for deliberations at the 2015 Forum.  

See the 2015 Forum photo album or the event program.

See the 2014 Forum album, and the 2013 Forum album.

Previous Forums

Between 2013 and 2015, hundreds of Canadians from all provinces and territories have assembled at Carleton University for a series of insightful plenary sessions, cultural presentations and panel discussions and workshops that opened up new perspectives. Keynote speakers have included: The Honourable Michael Coteau, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Chair of Research and Education Dr. Ralph Masi, and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Commissioner Mary Wilson. All spoke passionately, and with evidence at hand, about the real and necessary power of the arts in their respective fields.

Participants explored research and cutting-edge projects that cultivated the ‘power of the arts’ to better the lives of underserved Canadians, particularly youth, and revitalizing troubled communities through the power of the arts. Spread over eight workshops, attendees produced a variety of strategies to enhance the capabilities of grassroots youth organizations, arts communities and academia as they work with sectors as varied as health, business, justice, urban planning, and education on a series of challenges such as crime prevention, mental health, unemployment and social exclusion. Discover what people have had to say about the National Forums. Download the National Power of the Arts Action Plan.


The National Power of the Arts Forum is the brainchild of Michaëlle Jean Foundation Co-Founder, Co-Chair and Excutive Director, Jean-Daniel Lafond. It is the logical continuation of his engagement in defending and advocating for the arts and culture and his contribution to the mandate of his wife, the governor general of Canada between 2005 and 2010, when he created and hosted a series of fifty public debates across Canada and abroad during State visits. Appointed Senior Scholar at Carleton University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in 2010, M. Lafond worked with Faculty Dean Dr. John Osborne to convene an annual national conference on the power of the arts in Canada. Together, they moved from words to action. In 2013, the First Forum was held with success, which encouraged them to continue.

Please contact us for more information:

Peter Flegel
Director of  Programs and Development
Michaëlle Jean Foundation

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