Jane Marsland has been an articulate advocate for the arts for many years and has served on a wide range of boards, advisory groups and committees. Jane was Co-founder of For Dance and Opera, a strategic collaboration to book and tour four companies, Co-founder and director of ARTS 4 CHANGE, a three-year program designed to create positive change for and by arts professionals in Toronto, as well as co-founder of the Creative Trust: Working Capital for the Arts, 2003-2011. Ms. Marsland has managed arts organizations since 1970 and was General Manager of the Danny Grossman Dance Company from 1982 to 1999.
She has been the recipient of two arts community awards: a “Harold’ in 2001 and the Sandra Tulloch Award for Innovation in the Arts in 2002. In 1995, she received the first M. Joan Chalmers Award for Arts Administration for outstanding leadership in the arts. In 2011, she was the winner of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Rita Davies and Margo Bindhardt Cultural Leadership Award. In January 2012 Jane was awarded the first Metcalf Foundation Innovation Fellowship in the Arts to examine Shared Platforms and Charitable Venture Organizations and their applicability to the arts sector in Ontario. Jane was honoured as the recipient of the Silver Ticket at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2017.
Since 1999, Jane has been working as a free-lance arts consultant and has worked with more than 100 arts organizations. From 2012 to 2014, Jane worked with the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and ARTS Action Research on a community initiative, Theatres Leading Change Toronto involving 18 small and mid-sized theatre and dance organizations. Theatres Leading Change was designed to illuminate and better understand change: on an individual learning level; on a community co-learning level; and as a function of broad-based change to provoke paradigm change in the field.
Jane utilizes a process of working with arts organizations learned through twenty-five years of being affiliated with Arts Action Research in New York and with whom she is the Toronto Associate. Her interventions are designed in the form of a process within which the arts organization can achieve better understanding, articulation and communication of the artistic/programmatic centre of the organization. The process of action research is a collaborative inquiry among colleagues searching for solutions to real challenges and problems experienced in their organizations and looking for ways to improve. The sessions are to help the arts professionals achieve real clarity and understanding of their purpose, mission and vision, where they want their organization to be, and the action plans on how to get there in the healthiest way possible. The work is designed to ensure that the infrastructure and organizational responses of an arts organization are as creative, bold, entrepreneurial, clear, courageous and adaptable as the art created, produced, exhibited and presented.
Jane also incorporates the latest thinking from the sciences to provide an alternative to conventional approaches to strategy-making. Moving from a linear approach to a systems approach to address the complexity of responding creatively in a dynamic environment. She regards strategy as a collective inquiry process designed to make progress continuously on a worthy yet elusive purpose by focusing on and sharpening the interplay of actions and intention, creatively adapting to what is really going on, and shaping a brighter future.
Jane has been using Liberating Structures to facilitate much of her work since 2013. She has participated in two Toronto Liberating Structure workshops, and most recently attended the Global Gathering of Liberating Structure Users in Seattle. For the past four years, Jane has been the co-host of the Toronto Liberating Structures Users Group.