Canada was founded in 1867 on values that have been profoundly reshaped during the past 150 years. Contemporary issues such as immigration and the economy, shootings at Canada's Parliament buildings, Canada's deteriorating human rights record under UN review, and oil sands and pipeline debates, all necessitate regional and national attention as we foster an open Canadian society. Moreover, contemporary life styles reveal the complexities of living within diversity and difference as a normal part of co-existence. Such realities, shared by many Canadians, are further complicated when one attempts to conceptualize Canadian identity through teaching and learning in schools. These continuing realities indicate the need for new analyses and theories to support cosmopolitan connections between peoples in an intensely interactive world in order to cultivate better understandings of evolving political, sociological and psychological attributes of societal change.
Cosmopolitanism, or cosmopolitan studies, is concerned with ways of imagining a world that emphasizes inclusivity. Being cosmopolitan requires embracing hybridity, appreciating diversity, and engaging with otherness (Appian, 2006; Delanty, 2012; Pinar, 2009; 2011). This project considers how educators, artists, teachers and learners may experience “moments of openness” (Delanty, 2009, p. 53) that enact critical explorations that can potentially strengthen personal and/or social identifications with Canada.