It's been nearly a week since REVOLUTION 2017, and here we are: 191 attendees, 19 presenters, six amazing volunteers, nine generous sponsors, 180 sandwiches, three and a half pounds of coffee, and one amazing reception later. If you weren't able to attend, or if you'd just like to relive the magic, here's a brief recap.
We started the day with a warm welcome to the beautiful unceded territories of the Coast Salish people by Squamish artist Rebecca Duncan, who literally brought the capacity crowd to its feet in a playful song and dance that reminded us of our connection to all living things. From there, we moved onto Ben Cameron's stirring, thought-provoking keynote speech, in which he asked us to consider a revolutionary approach to our work, and our places in the community:
“What if our job is social orchestration, in which the performance is a piece but only a piece of what we are called to do? What if we thought of our work not as products to be consumed but as experiences designed to be springboards for our audience’s imagination? What would we do differently if we thought of ourselves, not as arts organizations, but as platforms designed to aggregate creative and communal energy?”
Participants also chose from six breakout sessions on topics ranging from reconciliation to anti-racism, from citizen engagement to virtual reality. In the afternoon, our featured panel on cultural diversity in artistic practice brought together three classical Indian artists with two contemporary theatre artists to talk about the challenges of working in a culture that is not your own.
We wrapped up the day by sharing intentions and welcoming everyone to a post-conference reception at the Alliance headquarters. While we all walked away with different seeds to nurture, we left united knowing that whatever our aesthetic or discipline, whether we want to provoke or entertain, at heart we are all social activists working together to create a better world.
If you haven't, please take the time to read the recent piece about REVOLUTION in The Georgia Straight – a wonderful recap that draws upon interviews with our keynote, Ben Cameron, as well as panelists and attendees. Thanks again to everyone who had a hand in REVOLUTION 2017: our sponsors, our volunteers, our attendees, everyone who engaged with us on social media, and you – the artists working individually and together to change our planet for the better.