Arts Summit 2015 / Richard Evans Presentation & Workshop Details

Don't miss a full day of programming on New Pathways for the Arts with cultural visionary, Richard Evans, at Arts Summit 2015 on June 19. 

Read program details of all three of Richard's sessions below:

Richard Evans

Richard Evans

Session I / New Pathways for the Arts: Adaptive Change in the Canadian Arts Sector

A new initiative to support innovation and adaptive change in the arts communities of Vancouver and British Columbia is in active planning to begin later in 2015. Richard Evans, President of EmcArts, will present and facilitate a conversation on the new possibilities for organisational innovation at a time of systemic change and fundamental rethinking in Canada’s professional arts sector.  Richard’s talk will focus on the importance of addressing complex challenges in this new era for the arts through innovative strategies to create public value.  As an introduction to the planned New Pathways for the Arts program, the conversation will centre on the implications of adaptive rather than technical change, shifting our underlying assumptions, developing new organisational muscles that emphasize the capacity to adapt, and what EmcArts has learned about innovation in the arts.

“Behind the ongoing programmatic and financial stresses being felt by arts organisations at a time of economic contraction lies a vast territory of change in the arts and culture sector as a whole," says Evans. "A 50-year period of arts development tied primarily to growth in the professional arts infrastructure as the measure of success is giving way to a new phase, which will emphasize active participation in the arts, co-mingling of amateur and professional pursuits, and the integration of creative work with wider community interests.  This means practitioners of all stripes unlearning a lot of things we have taken for granted, surfacing new assumptions to drive new thinking, and doing things differently across the board.  Organisational innovation is challenging in a resource-strapped sector, but is now essential if field leaders are to successfully re-orient themselves to this new era.  Fortunately, innovation can be systematized as a new organisational discipline, one that brings our best thinking together across traditional organisational and sector boundaries, and helps us make competitive use of our creative assets.”

Session II / Activating Innovation: Case Studies from Two EmcArts Programs

Creative ideas are everywhere in the arts sector; it’s who we are.  But organisational innovation is more than that – it’s turning original ideas into radical new strategies that are feasible, that organisations can actually test, develop and commit to implementing.  This process is what stands at the heart of EmcArts’ programs.  The programs support organizational leaders and the innovation teams they create in moving beyond the first bright idea to discover deeper possibilities for productive change, and to make them a reality without betting the house on an untested idea.

How does a team of “unusual suspects” get created? How do early ideas get developed, or let go of? How can conflict become a generative force? What does prototyping really mean? And what kind of investment is needed? In this session, two leaders from organisations that have participated in EmcArts programs will discuss the challenges and achievements of daring to think differently and following through with new directions. The Denver Center Theater Company’s Off-Center at The Jones initiative has fundamentally changed the relationship of DCTC to its local community. Now in its third season, Off-Center has moved from a small marginal effort toward the center of this large producing company. Founder and co-curator of Off-Centre, Charlie Miller (photo above left), will join Richard for the discussion. The Art Gallery of Alberta is currently working through EmcArts’ Incubating Innovation program, to address the complex challenge of increasing engagement and participation in a challenging revenue environment. Darcy Trufyn (photo above right), board chair of the Art Gallery of Alberta, will discuss his experience with the program. Highly adaptive organisations know that the journey is never done. These case studies will be progress reports from the field on the work of adaptive change, giving participants the opportunity to consider their own potential for breakthrough new strategies.


Session III / Afternoon Workshop: The Roots of Innovation

This hands-on afternoon workshop will build upon the ideas and approaches introduced in the morning. Led by EmcArts president Richard Evans, the workshop will engage participants around their own organisations’ complex adaptive challenges, rather than a theoretical overview of change. The participants will focus on the following aspects of innovation and adaptive work, from the perspective of their individual organizations:

  1. Questioning existing organizational assumptions, identifying evidence that contradicts them, and developing new hypotheses about future success

  2. Describing complex challenges, distinguishing them from needed technical improvements, and using criteria to identify a high priority challenge.

Register now to attend Arts Summit 2015 on June 18-19 at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre! 

Registration fee includes two full days of programming, lunches on both days, a networking reception and entertainment. 

For June 18 program information, including What We Have Learned presentations from Sarah Kim of ArtStarts in Schools, Dawn Brennan of The Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, Creative BC, Judith Marcuse, Martha Rans of Artists' Legal Outreach, and Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research Inc., visit the Arts Summit Program page. 

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