Advancing Equity in Arts Entrepreneurship

A Case Study on Gender Equity and Empowerment in Music Production




Small Business, Artists, Equity, Music, Music Production, Community Education, Women, Gender Issues, Emprical Study, Emotional Coding


The authors conduct an empirical investigation of the national Equity X Program to understand not just the barriers that women face in becoming producers and developing business skills to move their career forward as artist entrepreneurs in Canada but also how emerging professionals feel about their perceived opportunities. The authors first situate the study within the literature on equity and inclusion in the creative sector and the importance of the music industry in this context. They then use an impact assessment framework that incorporates key indicators around equity and inclusion, aesthetic goals and approaches, and accessibility measures to help organize six rich clusters of data drawn from respondents (N=397). Using iterative open coding of open-ended responses to semi-structured questions, as well as critical discourse analysis, the authors examine the clustered data to illustrate or address these impact measures and to tease out the implications of each cluster of data. The analysis of the six clusters of data can help the sector (and their funders and policymaking supporters) better understand priorities for entrepreneurial capacity-building, including professionalization, technical skills, self-development, a sense of belonging through networking, entrepreneurial development, and emotional engagement in the sector. While the study does not suggest that systemic discrimination can be overcome any time soon, it does provide evidence of the ways in which women creatives in music believe that becoming more proficient in technical and business skills will help them; it also illustrates their optimism about being able to overcome discrimination. This generates a more complex understanding not just of some of the challenges faced by diverse women artist-entrepreneurs within Canada’s music ecosystem but also perceptions about how they aim to overcome these challenges. The article concludes by outlining future work required to ameliorate system-wide discrimination in arts entrepreneurship.

Author Biographies

Charlie Wall-Andrews, Toronto Metropolitan University

Trudeau Scholar and Ph.D. candidate at Ted Rogers School of Management. Charlie is a lecturer at the University of Toronto in the Arts and Media Management program and has over 10 years working as an executive in the creative industries where she founded the Incubator for Creative Entrepnureship. 

Mary Elizabeth Luka, University of Toronto Scarborough

Dr. MaryElizabeth (“M.E.”) Luka is Assistant Professor, Arts & Media Management at University of Toronto, where she examines modes and meanings of co-creative production, distribution and dissemination in the digital age for the arts, media and civic sectors. Dr. Luka holds a Connaught New Researcher Fellowship examining creative networks in Canada. Dr. Luka is a founding member of the Critical Digital Methods Institute at University of Toronto Scarborough, of research-creation group Narratives in Space + Time Society, and of the technoculture research group, the Fourchettes. She is policy co-lead on the six-year SSHRC-funded partnership Archive/Counter-Archive: Activating Canada's Moving Image Heritage at York University, Canada and PI on SSHRC-funded research addressing remuneration of independent media arts online. Luka is lead supervisor for the Mitacs-funded Research in Residence: Arts’ Civic Impact research advisory member of Aarhus University Future Making Research Consortium. Previous research is found in Topia; Canadian Journal of Communication; Public; Canadian Theatre Review; Information, Communication & Society; Social Media & Society; chapters in Energy Culture: Arts and Theory on Oil and Beyond; Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age; and scholarly anthologies and commissioned research for the Department of Canadian Heritage about transitions in creative industries.

Close-up photo of sound mixer, left-hand side view, dark lighting.




How to Cite

Wall-Andrews, C., & Luka, M. E. (2022). Advancing Equity in Arts Entrepreneurship : A Case Study on Gender Equity and Empowerment in Music Production. Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, 11(1).