Guelph boasts the world's leading institute for the study of improvisation. Based at the University of Guelph, the Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation was formed in 2013 as the result of a seven-year research program called Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice. Both initiatives were substantially funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHERCC). www.improvcommunity.ca
The institute, which involves researchers from seven universities across Canada and hundreds of musicians around world, is devoted to bridging difference and building social inclusion through the co-creation of art. One of the most articulate and passionate voices for improvisation—indeed, for the arts generally—is Dr. Ajay Heble, a jazz musician, literature professor, and artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival.
Over 25 years, Dr. Heble transformed Guelph into an international musical city, one that has experimented extensively with engaging new audiences in making and listening to music. In 2012 he gave a TEDx Guelph talk on the value of improvisation. The talk can be viewed here: Improvisation as a Model for Social Change