Mandate & History


Since its inception, now nearly 17 years ago, the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) has become an important centre for culturally diverse artistic expression in Montreal. Having multiple roles, the MAI is, first and foremost, a:

Presenter: the programming and dissemination of contemporary intercultural art; presenting works by artists, collectives and companies of diverse cultural backgrounds; providing a space where artists with an intercultural practice can develop and present their work in professional conditions;

Facilitator: to scratch beneath the skin of a performance or exhibition – developing and organising activities (public rehearsals, workshops, information sessions, post show discussions, conferences and panel discussions, etc.) in conjunction with its annual programming (Public+ Series) that encourage communication between artists, audiences and the innumerable cultural communities with whom the MAI is engaged, with the objective of ultimately fostering an appreciation for and an understanding of artist practices rooted in non-western artistic traditions;

Mentor: aiding artists of diverse cultural and artistic backgrounds in their professional career development; offering assistance to artists, companies and cultural organisations from cultural communities in Montreal in regards to their artistic development and achievement of their artistic and cultural objectives (finances, production, logistics, and promotion, among others (both short and long term mentoring);

Centre: A nucleus of creative/social interaction. An incubator for exchange, reflection and research, a space for dialogue and interchange between cultures and for stimulating collaborations between artists, partners, cultural organizations and the general public;

The only cultural organization within Montréal and Canada invested with a mandate explicitly focused on the promotion of intercultural art; the MAI presents original works with cultural bonds throughout the globe and supports the creation, production, dissemination and outreach of intercultural arts for a diversified audience.

The MAI is home to intercultural arts. It is a place where cross-cultural artistic expression and the mixing of genres and styles ultimately lead to the creation of experimental, hybrid and innovative and original art forms.


The MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) is a pluridisciplinary presenter of professional contemporary art (dance, theatre (French and English), music, interdisciplinary, visual and media arts) mandated to promote intercultural artists (emerging, and established), and their intercultural artistic practices. The only cultural organization within Montréal and Canada invested with such a mandate, the MAI presents original works with cultural bonds throughout the globe and supports the creation, production, dissemination and outreach of intercultural arts for a diversified audience.

It carries out its mandate by:

• providing its spaces for the development and presentation of innovative intercultural art practices;

• presenting contemporary works that engage the public, and that are drawn from culturally diverse communities from around the world;

• providing support to emerging, mid-career and established artists in exploring their intercultural creations;

• supporting the professional development of newly immigrated artists in order to facilitate their integration and foster a better understanding of their artistic approach;

• creating dynamic and long-lasting ties between artists, the professional milieu, the public and local communities;

• developing and consolidating partnerships with local, provincial and international organizations with similar mandates.


The MAI offers a space for the research of new artistic intercultural practices, based on intercultural relations understood as exchanges between individuals or groups of defined identities. The MAI also offers a varied programme of professional artists whose intercultural practices centre on cross-cultural engagement as a form of dialogue among individuals and groups that have their own specific identity. These exchanges come about through the merging of aesthetic and cultural themes, customs and traditions and / or objects stemming from distinct cultures, in an effort to bring about the transformation of disciplinary fields rooted in cultural traditions, giving rise to hybridist artistic languages and forms.

With this perspective, the MAI contributes to the development of intercultural artistic practices by offering professional artists and organizations the possibility to develop high-quality mature works (through residencies, etc.) as well as opportunities to meet with the public and participate in seminars and other collaborative projects. Innovation, sharing of resources and the involvement of artists are at the heart of the MAI’s mission. Also, the MAI works towards the emergence and empowerment of artists, companies and cultural organizations dedicated to intercultural practices in their community.

The intercultural approach is a dynamic process and consists of establishing a relationship with the other and of sharing respectful and open views with individuals and groups of diverse ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic origins.

The concept of “interculturalism” is in constant evolution. Submissions are examined on a case-by-case basis and we are open to your own interpretation of the concept.


An independent, non-profit organization, le Regroupement pour le développement des pratiques artistiques interculturelles came about as a result of the Table de concertation sur le dialogue entre les cultures in 1990. In 1998, this same Regroupement with support from the City of Montréal, was entrusted with managing the MAI. Containing a theatre, a gallery, a café and two rehearsal rooms, the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) officially opened its doors to the public in May 1999. In 2007, the MAI and the Regroupement were merged into a single entity.

Each new season, the MAI offers a varied programme of professional artists and companies whose artistic practices and mandates are axed on cross-cultural engagement and exchange – exchanges which come about through the merging of aesthetic and cultural themes and customs and traditions stemming from distinct identities and cultures, and which, as a result, transform disciplinary fields rooted in cultural traditions, giving rise to hybridist artistic languages and forms. Innovation, sharing of resources and the involvement of artists are at the heart of the MAI’s mission.

Over the past 12 seasons, the MAI has presented over 4500 different performances (in theatre, dance, music and interdisciplinary arts) as well as exhibitions and has, overall, welcomed some 110,000 viewers and audience members through its doors.

Ville de Montréal Conseil des arts du Canada Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine Ministère du patrimoine canadien | Department of Canadian Heritage     Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec     Emploi-Québec


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