Culture Days and National Broadcast Partner CTV (Bell Media) were thrilled to offer Canadian students the opportunity to participate in the first-ever Student Reporters Internship program in conjunction with the National Congress on Culture held in Winnipeg on May 23 and 24, 2014. Four lucky students participated in a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the CTV Newsroom in Winnipeg and a mentoring session with Marci Ien, co-host of CTV's Canada AM, while covering the Congress. Don't miss out on their reports in this special blog series!
On Day One of Culture Days’ National Congress on Culture in Winnipeg, participants seemed a tad preoccupied with Twitter.
A quick scan of the auditorium at the Winnipeg Art Gallery revealed that at least a third of the 150+ audience members seemed to be perpetually looking down during the opening keynote speeches and subsequent panel talk. They mysteriously twiddled their thumbs in unison. Hmm…
Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that #culturedays was trending nationally on Twitter.
I don’t want to scoff at the admirable online enthusiasm of the Culture Days crew, which included a livestream of the day’s events so that arts enthusiasts from coast to coast could experience the Congress in real time. But moderator Barry Avrich was bang-on when he described 2014 as part of “the decade of distraction.” He was referring to the fast-paced, go-go-go nature of Canadians’ day-to-day lives.
While the same can’t be said for everyone, many do perceive social media as an inevitable nuisance in promoting their brands and businesses.
What the National Congress helped prove today was that face-to-face interactions can still outweigh social media involvement in terms of promoting cultural causes like Culture Days. Despite our best efforts, there’s no way we can replace catching up with a colleague or sponsor during a 20-minute coffee break with some extra-witty Twitter repartee.
A series of 20-minute power pow-wows happened towards the end of Day One. Guests broke off into Connect The Dots groups, where they discussed the successes and struggles their organizations encounter while trying to remain relevant in the public sphere year-round, despite seasonal disadvantages.
My group, the one-dot reds (represent!), hosted visitors from Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, the Centre culturel francophone de l’Okanagan in Kelowna, the Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group in Thunder Bay, and Video Pool Media Art Centre in Winnipeg, among others.
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