Younger dancers with arms around each other2023 Generational Transition Survey

In 2023, we conducted a survey of people aged 18-44 in folk communities in order to better understand why this demographic is underrepresented in CDSS membership and learn more about how to support them in the future.

This knowledge will serve as one of a number of inputs for us to consider in providing resources and programs that address the needs of this age demographic, and it will help us support individuals and communities trying to engage younger participants and leaders.

Annual Affiliate Surveys

2021 Affiliate Survey Report

In 2021, we conducted our third annual Affiliate survey. This year, we also asked about how groups have been doing through the pandemic, what kind of data they collect from their attendees, any cultural equity work they’ve taken on, and more. 63% of Affiliates responded—the most since the survey began in 2019.

Click here to read the full 2021 report.

2020 Affiliate Survey Report

In 2020, we conducted another Affiliate survey to learn even more about the work that Affiliates are doing and how we can best support them. We were thrilled that 62% of Affiliates responded – an incredible response rate! We learned much and have been using the survey findings to direct our decisions and actions.

Click here to read the full 2020 report.

2019 Affiliate Survey Report

In 2019, CDSS conducted its first survey of Affiliates in over a decade. Our goal was to develop a strong base knowledge of our Affiliate community so that we could better support our network of organizations throughout North America and beyond.

In particular, we wanted to learn:

  • More about our Affiliates and the work they are doing.
  • What Affiliates like about the services we provide and how we can improve.
  • What value Affiliates see in traditional participatory arts and what advocacy work can be done to support our shared traditions.

Click here to read the full 2019 report.

Organizer Surveys

2018 Canadian Organizer Survey

To serve our mission of encouraging thriving local communities throughout the continent of North America, CDSS undertook a study to learn how to best support local traditional music, dance, and song organizers in Canada. The study focused on local organizers, as they are essential to fostering the communities of dance, music, and song traditions that we collectively value.

Whether it be Newfoundland traditional song, Métis step dance, or northern fiddle traditions – every folk tradition is culturally significant. They reflect the shared values and heritage and help to define a sense of identity and belonging. Shared among all of these traditions is the impact they have on individuals, the wider community, and society. Often, there is commonality between organizers of different traditions. For instance, organizers of a Cape Breton traditional square dance, contra dance in British Columbia, or a veillée de danse Québécoise often do similar work, share similar challenges, and could benefit from similar supports. Thus, by sharing across traditions, we create more vibrant and resilient communities for all. CDSS hopes that this study is not only helpful for our work and for local organizers but that it is also useful to other umbrella arts organizations. We plan to take action on common interests that have arisen through the study and we will look at ways to address particular interests where we can, often in partnership with others.

The report has two sections. The first ten pages contains the main report while the following 40 pages present the findings of each survey question for those who want to delve deeper into the findings. The report describes who is organizing what throughout Canada. It also goes into depth regarding the strengths and successes of various groups, the challenges that organizers face, and the supports organizers currently need. One particular survey question (question 34 in the appendices) is particularly inspiring as it highlights organizers’ impressions of how TDMS positively impacts individuals, communities, and the wider society.

Click here for the full survey report in English

Cliquez ici pour le rapport d’enquête complet en français

2018 US Organizer Survey

Following closely upon the release of the Canadian study, we conducted a follow-up survey of organizers in the US. The primary purpose of the second survey was to learn about the current challenges and needs of local organizers who are CDSS members (group affiliate or individual/family). A subset of the Canadian survey questions was used for the US survey to determine whether the Canadian findings resonated with US organizers, and where there might variation.

While there were a few differences, the similarities were dramatic. For instance, as with the Canadian organizers, US organizers are currently most concerned with issues around attendance.

Both studies included questions about the types of supports organizers would find most helpful. We are now taking action on a number of these findings in order to strengthen our support of local organizers as we believe local organizers are truly essential to fostering the communities of dance, music, and song traditions that we collectively value.

Click here for the full survey report

Also, check out this article in the Fall 2019 CDSS News.