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Congress Program

How Arts and Culture and the Economy Are Inextricably Linked

Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist, ATB Financial and Chair, Alberta Premier’s Council on Culture

Introduction by Karen Ball, Senior Cultural Development Consultant (Calgary, AB)

An inspirational talk by one of Canada’s most respected chief economists and advocates for arts and culture. Todd Hirsch will share his compelling views and examples of how the arts and culture are inextricably linked to a healthy economy and how artists and cultural organizations can tell their success story in contributing to it.

How Narrative Thinking Builds Successful Places, People, and Organizations
Hosted by Todd Babiak, Co-founder of Story Engine will be livestreamed from the Maclab Theatre.

Traditional place branding nearly always fails: the pretty new logo, and the new slogan, almost never lasts. It certainly doesn’t do what we ask of it — invite current and future citizens to find meaning in the place they have chosen to live. The most evocative places and organizations in the world have something else — a master story. What is a master story and how can a town, a city, a neighbourhood, or a region discover and bring it to life? It’s always the culture of a place, and its people, at their best. And artists are always at the foundation of it. Todd Babiak will talk about a non-traditional place branding exercise underway in Edmonton, based on the city’s master story, its culture. He will help you understand how you can use and participate in this process to bring it to life in your own organizations and cities.

Inspired Models of Cultural Engagement

Since its inception in 2010, Culture Days has taken root in some 900 cities and towns across Canada. In some cases, the local charge has been taken up by bold and passionate individuals, and in others, by stalwart organizations or visionary municipalities. But in some cases, leadership has stepped up to make Culture Days shine from less likely individuals, organizations and businesses who are unequivocally committed to their arts and cultural scene and its unquestionable importance to their vibrant communities. Hear the success stories of Culture Days 2014 award winners, what inspired them and how they made a difference in their community.

The pecha kucha presentations was followed by a moderated panel discussion and a Q&A hosted by Sarah Iley, Manager of Culture, City of Calgary.

2014 Culture Days Award Winners:

Selling Your Story Effectively to Sponsors

Sponsor pitch session hosted by Brent Barootes, Partnership Group – Sponsorship SpecialistsTM

This fun session a la Dragon’s Den featured sellers pitching, sponsors spending and audience participation! The unique format created a mock “pitch and buy” session where each seller will have five minutes to present their case and pitch why a sponsor should invest in their event or other arts/cultural “property.” Each of these industry leading professionals decided how they will spend a $50,000 mock budget they have to allocate! Once all of the industry leaders had their say, the floor was opened to the audience for an opportunity to ask any panel member questions, make comments or gain further details. The session was followed by a Q&A and a talk back.

Pitch Panel:

Pitch Session Partner:

Putting Art At The Centre

Shawn Van Sluys, Executive Director, Musagetes Foundation

Cities for People is a national initiative that explores the question: How can we enhance social, ecological and economic well being and help civic cultures thrive? Of the various themes that are considering this question, the Art & Society team has been developing a number of experimental projects that aim to transform public narratives through socially engaged art and education. In this workshop we will describe the broader initiative of Cities for People with a particular focus on SenseLabs which were piloted in Lethbridge, Alberta in 2014.


Jean Grand-Maître, Artistic Director, Albert Ballet

Alberta Ballet Artistic Director and internationally acclaimed choreographer Jean Grand-Maître has worked with some of Canada’s and the world’s great artists to continually bring the company’s creations to new audiences. Grand-Maître also took on the honourable task of choreographing the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, touching an audience of millions of television viewers. A personal recount from one of Canada’s leading Artistic Directors on translating your creative vision and work, regardless of the scale, into a story that speaks volumes to your core audience and well beyond. The keynote was followed by a Q&A and talk back.

Driving Impact, Measuring Results and Communicating Value  

Understanding the impact and value of cultural participation for Canadian citizens and communities is an increasingly hot topic being addressed through an ever-wide range of theories and approaches. How do we track, measure and document the variety of ways in which arts and cultural engagement help transform the individual and the community and how then do we communicate these results effectively to attract new audiences and support? How do we negotiate between traditional, data based research methodologies and new innovative ways that address the fast-growing preoccupation to gain a better understanding of the intrinsic values associated with cultural participation? This diverse and eclectic panel of expert practitioners is sure to shake the foundations and provoke some new insights on the subject! This discussion was followed by a Q&A and talk back.

The moderated discussion was hosted by Janice Price, President, The Banff Centre with:

Marci Ien, Co-host of CTV’s Canada AM in conversation with Eric & Mia

Through their groundbreaking work, award winning interdisciplinary visual artists, facilitators, and community organizers Eric and Mia invite audiences to become active agents in the creation of community. They are driven by how performance can be used as a tool for social action and are committed to creating community through participatory performance. An intimate conversation with one of Canada’s most cutting-edge artistic teams who are challenging the foundations of how citizenship and community are addressed through artistic innovation. This conversation was followed by a Q&A and talk back.

Presented by the City of Calgary:

The Congress livestream and video recording of the program sessions were made possible thanks to the generous support of:

National Engagement Partner