BC Culture Days Ambassador, writer, poet, and teacher, Rawle James shares his thoughts from the 2014 National Congress on Culture in Winnipeg.
Thursday May 22
Art, culture and languages make us Canadian. The Culture Days National Congress is a gathering, a celebration, of learning, sharing and networking with fellow Canadians from across this amazing land we call home.
Over the past two days, we shared best practices, attended workshops, built friendships and discussed opportunities for growth in our respective communities. As well, we engaged in open, honest dialogues pertaining to areas of concern that hinder an accessible and sustainable means of participating in Culture Days. These conversations, I believe, will lead us collectively to developing new ideas that will craft new solutions.
At the opening of the Culture Days National Congress, I listened to our minister of heritage and languages speak of the financial commitment that our federal government had embedded into the growth, visioning and prosperity for us as Canadians regarding arts and culture development. I applaud our government for the financial commitment; however, the greatest commitment has to be made by each and every Canadian. Our commitment to culture and the arts is a direct reflection of our civility. It is a partnership that calls to action all citizens, all governments, and all businesses in creating a life that is harmonious in how we share and provide for all Canadians. I feel inspired and energized to have been selected as BC's ambassador for the 2014 Culture Days Congress. We are culture 365...we are Canadian, strong, proud and free.
Friday May 23
It matters not if you are from a small town or a big city; from far and wide as Canadians we are committed to expanding arts and culture as a means of inspiring all Canadians as stakeholders in creating a quality of life that serves the greater good.
Arts and culture is a measure of our civility that reflects the value we place upon our humanity. Art is our first language and continues to be a consistent touchstone that transcends borders. At times though, we can feel alone and the path of passion we have embarked upon can have its daunting moments.
As cultural activists, we share similar experiences and pains regarding funding, attracting sponsorship, engaging our community, networking, social media, and this year's congress has provided much insight and education to booster our resolve.
In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits to attending these types of conferences is the realization that we are not alone. With all the great technologies and tools at our disposal, we still desire that face-to-face connection. Too shake hands, maybe share an embrace, stand in close conversation, sharing of our energies, common purpose and at times learning about each other's personal stories. Throughout all the marketing talk and how to attract sponsors, it is our stories that still inspire. At our core, we love stories and the ability to share our stories lends to removing barriers that creates a trust that is the foundation to seeing differently.
At the end of the day, with all the tools and innovations at our disposal, we still desire to be inspired by the stories of our lives. This year's Culture Days National congress was a tremendous success on many fronts. For me it's greatest success was that it provided a glimpse of what is possible. Why not!
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