Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson – Keynote Speaker

Senior Research Associate, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and Director Culture, Creativity and Communities Program, Urban Institute, Washington DC, USA

Maria Rosario JacksonMaria Rosario Jackson, PhD is a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center at the Urban Institute (UI) and director of UI’s Culture, Creativity and Communities Program, Washington DC, USA. Her research expertise includes neighborhood revitalization and comprehensive community planning, the politics of race, ethnicity and gender in urban settings, and the role of arts and culture in communities. Her projects in cities throughout the United States have explored the role of intermediaries in comprehensive community planning, the characteristics of place that lead to cultural vitality, the measurement of arts and cultural vitality and the integration of new topics into policies and programs concerned with quality of life.  Dr. Jackson’s work has appeared in academic and professional journals as well as edited volumes in the fields of urban planning, sociology, community development and the arts. She has been a speaker at numerous national and international conferences focusing on quality of life, changing demographics, communities and cities of the future, and arts and society. She currently serves on the boards of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the National Performance Network and the Alliance for California Traditional Artists. Formerly, she was on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and the Fund for Folk Culture. Jackson earned a doctorate in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MPA from the University of Southern California.

Making Culture Count: Measuring What Matters
In recent years, cultural vitality has increasingly been understood as a crucial aspect of a livable community. There is growing awareness of the roles that the arts play in many facets of society including health, education and community development. While this growing interest in arts and culture is encouraging, the work of integrating arts and culture data into quality of life measurement systems intended to inform policy and planning in communities continues to be challenging. Reflecting on her experiences at the national level and in cities throughout the United States over the past 17 years, Maria Rosario Jackson shares some of the key triumphs and lessons learned in efforts to incorporate arts and culture into concepts of healthy communities and strategies to comprehensively improve neighbourhoods and cities. Questions addressed in her remarks include: What should be measured and why? Why do the arts matter in an American context?  What processes are required for the development of legitimate indicators of cultural vitality? What kinds of data are required? How might data about arts and culture be used? What are the politics of including arts and culture alongside measures of housing, public safety, education and economic development?  And last, what are the prospects for greater success in this line of work? With concrete illustrations from around the United States, Dr. Jackson addresses these questions from public policy, urban planning and arts administration perspectives.



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