Beginning in the late 1970's, Ted Dawson extended his creative activities to organizational work that showcased Canadian artists and musicians in a public context.


The first of these ventures was Quoi de Neuf? - an experimental arts festival held in Montreal in 1979 and featuring sound artists, dancers , visual artists, and sound poets.  Held at Le Conventum, the festival ran for 4 evenings, and was also broadcast on the local television cable network.



Parallel to the Quoi de Neuf? project, Dawson was asked by Montreal's Vanier College (CEGEP) to develop an integrated arts curriculum for the college's fine arts department.  The two main features of this proposal were that students would have the opportunity to work directly with practising artists in experimental media, and that projects of an interdisciplinary nature would be prioritized.
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During the academic year 1987-88, Ted Dawson taught music composition and education at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.  One of the outcomes of this experience was a realization of the complete disconnect between the Canadian general public and even university music students in terms of Canadian music and the work of composers in Canada.

Formulated as an education project, Composter (Composer's Poster) was designed to reach high-school and university students by engaging teachers to feature Canadian music as part of curriculum.  Developed and distributed in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre, thanks to the initiative of Director Patricia Green, Composter consisted of a large full colour poster for classroom display (designed by Bob Yoshioka) , a cross-curricular teacher's guide (written by Dawson), and a set of audio-cassettes.
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In 1992, Ted Dawson was invited by Professor Leo Normet of Tallinn, Estonia to develop a festival program featuring exclusively Canadian repertoire.  Held the following year in the cities of Tallinn, Tartu, Parnu, and Viljandi, Canadian Music Days became the first international festival produced in the newly-independant country of Estonia.  Participating Canadian musicians included Kristi Allik, Lawrence Cherney, Yuri Meyrowitz, and Kaljo Raid working in collaboration with the Estonian State Symphony Orchestra and Tallinn String Quartet.
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In the late 1990's, Dawson travelled to Taiwan where he met with Canadian officials in Taipei to discuss a proposal to again showcase Canadian repertoire and promote Canada's image in East Asia.  Based on the experience of Canadian Music Days, the True North proposal included 12 concerts as well as a 3 month art exhibition on Canadian landscape.

Realized in the fall of 1998 with both government and corporate support, the festival resulted in the creation of a one hour video documentary realized in collaboration with the Government Information Office in Taipei and York University in Toronto that was broadcast across Canada on Bravo Cable TV.

The coordination of this project brought together several key themes for Dawson in terms of the relationship of the contemporary artist to society and issues of identity and communication.  Through the realization of True North Festival, Dawson consolidated these ideas into a new and permanent entity called True North Foundation.  Based in Toronto, the foundation currently pursues international projects and local initiatives for the community.  For further information, please visit the Foundation website at
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