CHRC on the road – Halifax

We held our first “meeting with members” and others in the sector in Halifax today at the historic Pier 21 Canadian Immigration Museum. What a landmark that building is! New on the Canadian museum scene, it is rich with the history and stories of immigrants from around the world who have shaped our country since pioneer days.

A fitting location for a cultural sector meeting.

Over “breakfast” of muffins, coffee, fruit and yoghurt, Richard and I welcomed friendly familiar faces of CHRC’s extended family on the east coast: Bernie Burton, Alastair Jarvis, Joel Duggan, Andrew Terris, Helen Ferguson, Waye Mason, Keith McPhail, Briony Carros, Mary Elisabeth Luka, Susan Hanrahan - all have collaborated with us in various capacities over the years. Staunch supporters of CHRC’s mission to “strengthen the cultural workforce”. There were new faces too, and we were glad to pull them into the circle.

Richard HornsbyThe group was engaged and engaging. After a run through of CHRC’s structure, products and offerings as it transitions away from HRSDC’s sector council program (which close down on March 31, 2013), we explored future directions for the Council.

Very much on people’s minds were diversity issues: what are we doing to support our First Nations artists and cultural workers? Where do we see on our Board and in our committees the multicultural reality of the Canadian demographic?

Exporting was a preoccupation: how do we provide our artists and cultural workers with the savvy and skills they need to export their goods and services internationally?

And we could count on it as surely as the night follows day: how can we better support and nurture mentorships across the sector and across the country, and even internationally. This comes up in just about every conversation CHRC is a part of!

The lively and constructive discussion left us with a clearer sense of the priorities of our members and of the broader sector. A better sense of direction for CHRC as it transitions into a new business model without losing its values and essence.

We closed the gathering down at 11:00 am because we had to have a conference call with the Executive – it made me smile to see the animated conversations still going on as we whisked people out the door to get on with the next part of our day!

A safe and uneventful flight to St. John’s this afternoon. Arrived in full-on sun! No fog today :-)