The good thing is that I got out just before the big snow hit Ottawa :-) The less good thing is that when I hit Regina I found myself in -15 degrees C temperatures – my taxi driver was delighted with the “warming spell”!
So under the sparkling sun and blue sky of a prairie high pressure system from the north, gingerly advancing at intersections to avoid traffic hidden by snow banks, I made my way to the Artful Dodger. This is a delightfully creative space/restaurant – a favourite hangout for Regina’s artists, musicians, filmmakers, started and run by an artist herself. This is where Dennis Garreck (with SaskCulture) and Karen Henders (the Saskatchewan Arts Board), our PATAC partners, elected to co-host this CHRC meeting with members. It was a great choice of venue. Lunch was delicious!
I was without my trusty PowerPoint presentation (technology failed us), and was flying solo because Richard does have a paying job in Fredericton and can’t make it to every meeting (though he does amazingly well and I – and the sector – are hugely grateful for his interest and support!)
We had a group of around 20 – a full cross section of the cultural sector. What dominated the discussion? I would say that it was the strong Saskatchewan spirit of independence and “doability”. Entrepreneurship. For a province that is known for its left leaning tendencies as the birthplace of the CCF, there is a real streak of “we can do it on our own” that shines through the language. Maybe it’s because the current Brad Wall government has done little to support culture in the province. Most recently they cancelled the tax credit for film and are now trying to repurpose the excellent sound studio that is languishing in the exodus of 400 of the 700 formerly employed in the successful film industry in the province. The natural resources, not the creative human resources, have the attention of this government.
Nonetheless, creative entrepreneurs are leaving their mark on the city and the province. The Artful Dodger is an example. As well, I had lunch with Marian Donnelly and Carle Steel, both of whom have led initiatives to take over and convert old buildings, working with and for artists of all kinds to provide renovated studio and presentation spaces. It wasn’t surprising to me that one of the suggestions for themes for our next HR Forum is entrepreneurship, coupled with self-employment.
Nor was I surprised to hear about the great use the cultural sector is making of The Art of Managing Your Career. Through the Saskatchewan Arts Board (SAB), TAMYC workshops are offered and they are coupled with mentorships which are proving invaluable in terms of filling out the learning experience. The SAB is even moving into coaching relationships for graduating students. We were encouraged to think more broadly about mentorships – outside the province, and even international. Online mentorships through skype can work.
Export Marketing is on people’s minds too, as they wait to see what the Saskatchewan government’s new Creative Saskatchewan is going to offer in the upcoming budget. It might be possible to find partners for updating our Going Global workshop.
All in all, there were several points of common interest and concern. CHRC’s Saskatchewan roots are strong….