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Creating a Cultural Hub in Your Community

Tags: Tipsheet, Municipalities, Community Organizers, Culture Days Tools, Collaboration

On January 24, 2018, Culture Days hosted Creating Cultural Hubs with Lawrie Crawford (Art House, Carcross, Yukon) and Karilynn Thompson, (cSPACE, Calgary, Alberta).

This webinar focused on sites that use programming opportunities such as Culture Days to establish themselves as a cultural hub within their community. These locations have created multi-tiered events, often through partnership and collaboration, to provide a one-stop location where the public can gather and explore varying types of art forms and experiences. In this webinar, Culture Days spoke to program organizers who have successfully used this hub model, providing opportunities to learn more about their experiences, successes, challenges and advice.

Don’t have time to watch the full video? We’ve summarized Lawrie and Karilynn’s top tips below!

 

1. KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY

There are many reasons to create a cultural hub in your community, but always remember that it is your community -  a unique collective of people and shared sense of place that is specific to your geographic locale. The success of the cultural hub is intimately linked to your understanding of how the community operates as well as what it needs and wants from a cultural space. This is true for both permanent and/or long-term establishments and pop-up and/or short-term cultural hubs, such as spaces created specifically for the Culture Days weekend.

2. OUTLINE YOUR GOALS

Whether you want to increase economic activity and community vibrancy or build inclusive community partnerships, it is important to determine your goals, intended impacts, and outcomes from the beginning. These goals will serve as the foundation for the creation of your cultural hub, and provide structure for your team and community partners.

3. BUILDING A STEALLAR TEAM WITH CREATIVE PARTNERSHIPS

Creating a cultural hub can be a lot of work! Lawrie Crawford says it is paramount to build a stellar team of dedicated individuals and creative partnerships. Diversify your team and highlight each other’s strengths: determine who’s the best coordinator, communicator, and who has the tenacious spirit to keep the momentum going. Including a team member with strong ties to the local community and a conciliator will help to ensure effective public outreach and successfully mediate any issues that may arise. Once you’ve gathered your team, be sure to follow these keys to cooperation:

  • Show up fit and well
  • Provide structure to the team
  • Make others look good
  • Say “Yes” and contribute
  • Be willing to be changed
  • Make the most of what you have

     

4. ANTICIPATE CHALLENGES & ADAPT

Challenges will arise from both the outside in and the inside out. Funding, balancing of interests and contributions, permits and bylaw restrictions, tensions within the team, and venue issues are all possible disruptions. Anticipate these types of challenges and create strategies to adapt to changes is very important. One way to do so is by being preactive. Being preactive means putting yourself into opportunity mode, looking at predictable problems before they occur, and the preventing them from happening in the first place.

5. MARKETING AND PROMOTING YOUR SPACE

Karilynn Thompson recommends allotting enough time in your planning timeline for marketing and promotion of your cultural hub. You put A LOT of work into the creation of your cultural hub, and now it’s time to share the space with your community! Plan to begin your marketing campaign 2-3 months ahead of the opening day and/or event weekend.

Creative marketing through various channels is ideal: multi-media posts to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and shout-outs on appropriate webpages will reach a wide, digital audience. Looking for a more intimate strategy? Post-card drops to local neighborhoods are a great way to market to your immediate community.

For further inspiration, visit the How to Promote Your Activity page on the Culture Days website.

6. CELEBRATE WINS & PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

Evaluating your cultural hub following the Culture Days weekend, or at designated performance-review periods, is a great way to see what works and what does not for your cultural hub. Implementing a feedback system for participants, team members, and community partners will provide you with excellent data for determining the sustainability and overall impact of the cultural hub.  See our tip sheet Measuring Success for further ideas.