Community Engagement and Development is particularly significant today as arts and culture organizations need to fully engage with communities that they serve in order to remain relevant and successful.
On June 5, 6 & 7, CCI members gathered in Brantford for an Annual Spring Retreat. Hosted by Glenn Brown, General Manager, Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts in partnership with the Brantford Arts Block and the Woodlands Cultural Centre, the retreat engaged members in three days of discussions on the theme of Presenting 3.0: Community Engagement - a presenting practice that is becoming more established in the field.
The highlight of the retreat was an authentic community engagement experience facilitated by members of Manitoulin Island's Debajehmujig-Storytellers Theatre Group. The performers, who call themselves the Global Savages, drew upon 18,000 years of wisdom, ancient guidance, stories from the Brantford community and their own experiences of displacement and incarceration to reveal truths, bridge cultures, and reconcile differing points of view. The event was powerful and moving.
On the previous evening, CCI members joined the Global Savages and the Brantford community at Brantford Arts Block for “Creating A Hullabaloo”, an event that included food, music, media presentation and dancing.
The Brantford Retreat Experience
- To view the retreat photo album click here
- To view the retreat discussion on twitter check #CCIretreat2013 hashtag
- To watch the videos from the retreat click here
To learn more about each session continue reading:
Defining Models of Presenting
Brian McCurdy, Cultural Director at the City of Kingston, opened the Thursday conversations with an account about presenting and how it’s been evolving over the years to maximize impact in the community. Shifting from profit-oriented to more enhanced participation, “Presenting 3.0”, as Brian coins it, is a more complete community engagement model. To listen to the full talk on models of presenting, watch video.
“Community-led Librarianship”: interview with Stratford Public Library CEO, Sam Coghlan
The retreat continued with an interview of Stratford Public Library CEO, Sam Coglan. In responses to questions posed by Brian, Sam revealed how the library sector had re-positioned and re-valued itself over the past twenty years as a Public Benefit to Ontario communities. Sam talked about practices and initiatives the sector uses to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to engage with their communities by advancing “community-led librarianship”, a growing trend in Canadian libraries. The take-away for CCI members was that a similar sector-wide initiative is needed in the presenting field. To hear the full interview watch video. To learn more about the “community-led” approach read the blog by Sam Coghlan.
The Spotlight Panel: Examples of Successful Community Engagement
Tina Rasmussen, Director of Performing Arts at Harbourfront Centre moderated the panel on Successful Community Engagement featuring invited guests Phyllis Novak, Artistic Director and Founder of SKETCH Working Arts, Laura Nanni, Rhubarb Festival Director for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Majdi Bou-Matar, founder of The MT Space and the Artistic Director of IMPACT Theatre Festival. To find out about their success stories in community engagement watch video.
Tools & Tips for Community Engagement: What do we need to pursue Presenting 3.0?
This session was facilitated by Janis Barlow, who provoked thinking about the implications of community engagement in different authorizing realities, the barriers and opportunities for its implementation, and the benefits to communities.
Some of the questions that surfaced were: How do we develop practical resources? How do we find artistic partners? Would it fit within the municipal structure? How do we build compelling argument? To listen to members’ discussion watch video
From these questions, members began to lay the foundation for the CCI Community Engagement Tool Kit, an initiative that CCI staff will develop over the next several months for roll-out. Stay tuned for more 3.0!