Life :: Satisfaction survey suggests arts critical to quality of life

A research team led by Research Director Dr. Will Garrett-Petts of Thompson Rivers University is now ready to share preliminary descriptive results from a five-community Arts and Quality of Life Survey.

The largest ever undertaken anywhere on the impact of arts-related activities on quality of life, the survey, conducted by TRU honorary doctor and UNBC professor emeritus Dr. Alex Michalos, is part of a set of projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through its Community-University Research grants program aimed at creating an index to measure quality of life in small cities.

“Over the next two years, we will have about 20 projects going,” explained Garrett-Petts, who oversees the research program, providing intellectual direction for all the research projects and bringing them together into a coherent whole.

Together with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Creative City Network, the Canadian Council on Social Development, and over 20 other community partners, Thompson Rivers University’s researchers are in the process of establishing new instruments for measuring the cultural, social, economic, and environmental health of small cities.

“The range of projects could be described as sinking different shafts into the same mine,” said Garrett-Petts, who explained that researchers will be using various disciplinary methods to better understand culture of small cities and how social, cultural, environmental development can best be measured.

Michalos’ mine-shaft involved a survey last fall of 2000 randomly selected households in five BC communities. Householders in Comox Valley, Prince George, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Port Moody, were sent surveys specific to each community, of which 1027 responded. Breakdowns for each community will be available around mid-April, when the group will also undertake a province-wide survey.

“In the survey, we refer to arts in a very broad sense to include such things as music, dance, theatre, painting, sculpture, pottery, literature, including novels, short stories, and poetry, photography, quilting, gardening, flower arranging, textile and fabric art,” said Michalos.

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