Culture helps bridge linguistic divide

The Gazette, Catheryne Solyom

MONTREAL – Call it the Arcade Fire effect – the idea that a band made up of two transplanted Texans, a woman of Haitian origin and four musicians from the Rest of Canada can be embraced by anglophone and francophone Quebecers alike as one of their own, a symbol of Quebec culture to be proud of.

(Two days after the band won the 2011 Grammy for the best album of the year, even the National Assembly approved a motion saluting “the contribution of our francophone and anglophone artists in spreading our culture on the international stage.” )

For Guy Rodgers, the executive director of ELAN – the English Language Arts Network, the AF effect speaks to the vitality of English-lguage culture in Quebec, and the increasing, if uneasy, acceptance of it by the francophone majority.

Rodgers, a speaker at a forum for the English-speaking community held over the weekend in Montreal, said anglophone culture in Quebec had provided more success stories, with more prize-winning writers, musicians and filmmakers bridging the linguistic divide in the last few years than in the last few decades.

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