British Columbia

CHRC on the road – Vancouver

Vancouver is a wonderful place to be on the first day of spring. Unlike the rest of the country, there is actually a feeling that the seasons are about to change – with budding magnolias and waving yellow daffodils dotting the streetscape.

Our meeting was in the delightful “art-full” Listel Hotel with our co-hosts the Alliance of Arts and Culture. While our discussions covered familiar territory and themes – the cultural sector across the country is dealing with the same issues – we picked up some new insights and ideas.

Liz Shorten, CHRC’s Board member representing film, jumped right in with concerns about the generation shift that we are all seeing and experiencing: the graying hair around Board tables and in senior staff positions – and where are the middle managers to take over leadership roles? People are being thrust into high positions without being properly prepared. We need succession strategies and tools.  And we need to focus on the bridge to the emerging artists and cultural workers who are growing up in the digital age: how are they engaging with and shaping the cultural infrastructure? They’re full of the entrepreneurial spirit, but they have to look sideways too, to be aware of the cultural ecology they are part of. 

This discussion led to talking about mentorships and their role in bridging the generation gaps. They work both ways: they help young artists and cultural workers to grasp the timelines that have gone before them; and they help senior artists and managers open their minds to new ways of seeing and doing things. It’s a balancing act – holding on to the good in the past while embracing the change of the future. Status quo is simply not an option.

Rob Gloor, Executive Director of the Alliance, emphasised the high value of mentorships and the need for more sharing of mentorship resources within the sector. (This is particularly true in the wake of Career Focus not being renewed for us.)

Jon-Paul Walden who is both a presenter and teacher at Capilano College, pointed out that young people need to be more proactive in identifying the right mentor!  How do you go about finding a role model and lining up a mentor? (Don’t expect educators to do it.) Mentors don’t typically look for mentorees. This is an area we haven’t addressed before…

When thinking about training generally, and the fact that we can’t predict the future, we ask how we prepare people for what we don’t know. Adaptive reasoning, innovative thinking and flexibility are the qualities and skills we need to develop in the workforce of the future.

Updating the Going Global workshop for export marketing skills was definitely of interest, and could fall under the purview of Creative BC.  The Art of Managing Your Career and HR Tools get high praise.

I left Vancouver to cross over the Rockies to Edmonton – the last stop on this series of meetings with members across the country and across the sector……