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Breakout Workshops

Interactive breakout workshops offer registered delegates the opportunity to learn directly from leading experts and practitioners in specific topics related to the Congress theme. You will have the opportunity to select two workshops when you register for the Congress. Workshops will take place on Friday, May 8 at the Citadel Theatre at the following times:

NB: If you have already registered for the National Congress, you will recieve an email with instructions on how you can sign up for your breakout workshops.

Effective Tips On Pitching The Media

An effective media relations strategy is second to none for getting your story out to a wider audience. But not all great stories are covered by the fast-paced news media. Learn the proven tactics to employ in order to improve your chances of making the 6 o'clock news!

Workshop Presenter: Dan Kobe, Director of News & Public Affairs, CTV News

Workshop presented by CTV Edmonton


Engaging Citizens As Champions Of Culture: Alberta's Premier's Council On Culture

Learn how a group of 24 connected citizens from across the province representing business, culture, education, non-profit and creative industry sectors were brought together to provide strategic advice to government for the advancement of culture in Alberta. Council members will share their perspectives on championing culture and working together to build a set of priority recommendations that inform provincial cultural planning – including recommended tactics to ensure that we are telling our best Alberta cultural stories through our strongest voices at home and abroad. Join the Premier’s Council on Culture in a discussion about how to actively and strategically engage citizens in planning to remove barriers and encourage the telling and sharing of our stories.

Workshop Presenters: 

Panelists: Premier’s Council Members Grant Berg, Casey Edmunds, and Deborah Shoctor

Moderated by: Karen Ball, Senior Consultant working with the Premier’s Council for Culture

(Additional Premier’s Council Members will join the session and participate in the group discussion)


Let’s Work Better Together: Participatory Facilitation And Leadership Methods

Participatory facilitation and leadership methods are central to effective organizational visioning and planning, decision-making, conflict-resolution, evaluation, and team-building. This interactive workshop covers the use of collaborative processes that allow meetings to be more participatory among all of your stakeholders. Topics include: a) an overview of four different conversational methodologies, b) the six steps needed to make a good meeting happen, and c) understanding the processes around the development of collective wisdom. In addition to providing multiple resources for further learning, time will be spent practicing a conversational structure and discussing how to apply it in particular organizational settings. 

Workshop Presenter: Alissa Schwartz, MSW, PhD, Solid Fire Consulting


Cities For People: Putting Art At The Centre

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.

Workshop Presenter:  Shawn Van Sluys, Executive Director, Musagetes Foundation


CANCELLED: The Master Story: How Narrative Thinking Builds Successful Places, People, And Organizations

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.

Workshop Presenter: Todd Babiak, co-founder of Story Engine

If you have registered for this breakout workshop, please go to the registration desk to pick another one.

Effective Writing Strategies For Your Audience

Whether writing a press release, event publicity, copy for your website, post for your blog, or messages for Facebook and Twitter – writing effectively for your audience is a key to getting your message heard. This participatory and practical workshop will review effective writing strategies for various audiences and communications channels.

Workshop Presenters: John Dolphin, Writing Specialist, Strategic Writing Unit, Public Affairs Bureau, Government of Alberta, Sheri Strickland, Public Affairs Bureau, Government of Alberta, and Jacalyn Amber, Public Affairs Bureau, Government of Alberta.