CHRC on the road – Winnipeg

We were in Winnipeg today. I am always in awe of the cultural energy of that city. There was a buzz because the Jets beat the Leafs, but that aside, the strong presence of the arts and cultural industries is undeniable. Solid industry associations like OnScreen Manitoba and the NSI , New Media Manitoba and Music Manitoba are economic players – and the provincial government understands that. The Live Performing Arts are thriving in theatre and dance. Heritage treasures - wonderful old banks, churches and office buildings - are sprinkled throughout the Exchange District and the city, and valued for their architectural beauty as well as their historical significance. Aboriginal culture is integrated into the landscape and life of the community.

With leaders and advocates like Thom Sparling at ACI Manitoba (our co-hosts today), the cultural sector is at the tables of both provincial and municipal governments – an active partner in shaping Manitoba’s identity and economy.

At our meeting we covered a wide range of issues. People were solicitous of CHRC’s transition to a funding model without HRSDC operational support, and encouraged us to move aggressively into our new funding model with a focus on revenues from products, memberships, and industry sponsorships and partnerships. Good ideas emerged about new partners.

As in other provinces, mentorship featured high among the priorities of our Manitoba confreres. ACI is a leader in building and running mentorship programs, but the need for more resources to support their programs is clear – particularly to help mid level / mid career cultural workers to acquire management skills, and to help senior cultural managers to hone their leadership skills. A web “portal” to collect mentorship best practices and resources from across the country could serve the sector well, and CHRC would be a natural partner to build and maintain it…..

Export marketing is another priority area. ACI is a leader here too, active in organizing and promoting export marketing workshops based on CHRC’s Going Global resource. Their training provider par excellence is Nikki Dewar (former Trade Routes official and now CITP certified i.e. Canadian International Trade Professional) who knows Going Global as well as anyone and has the added benefit, from our point of view, of being an expert in the cultural sector. Her work with ACI could potentially spread across the country. We are anxious to follow up on this one! Export Marketing has been a key focus for CHRC since the late 90s.

More good ideas to ponder.

Now on to Toronto…..