Guidelines: New Pathways for the Arts

Guidelines: New Pathways for the Arts

New Pathways for the Arts, a new program for not-for-profit organizations that do arts-based work in Calgary and surrounding communities, is now accepting applications to the New Pathways Fellowship.

New Pathways is a three-year program presented by EmcArts that will develop a learning community of up to 20 not-for-profit organizations that undertake artistic work or programs. Based on EmcArts’ successful work with not-for-profit arts organizations around the United States, New Pathways is a carefully crafted local response to the specific and urgent needs of arts organizations.

The New Pathways Fellowship

This Train-the-Trainer program will train a selection of local consultants and service providers to deliver adaptive coaching work in the future. EmcArts staff will conduct a series of free coaching sessions with the local consultants—New Pathways Fellows—to orient them to the program, transfer knowledge and help build intervention skills around innovation and “next” practices in the field.

Participants in the New Pathways Fellowship will be expected to attend all New Pathways workshops as well as three training sessions. Additional training will be offered through mentorship and opportunities to shadow experienced EmcArts coaches as they work withNew Pathways participants beginning in January 2016.

This training opportunity is supported by Calgary Arts Development, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Calgary Foundation and Suncor Energy Foundation, and is offered free of charge to the participating New Pathways Fellows.

Program Dates

  • April 15, 2015
  • May 27, 2015
  • June 29, 2015
  • September 22, 2015
  • October 13, 2015
  • November 17, 2015

On-site coaching will begin in January 2016 (three visits over the course of four months). More details are available in the New Pathways Fellowship information package.

How to Apply

To apply to become a New Pathways Fellow, please email your resume and a letter of interest to Louise Brooks, EmcArts Manager of Local Programs, at Applications are due February 27, 2015. Applicants will be notified by March 9, 2015.

For complete application details, download the New Pathways Fellowship information package.

Calgary Backgrounder

New Pathways for the Arts is a program for not-for-profit organizations that undertake arts-based work in Calgary and surrounding communities.

New Pathways for the Arts will be provided at no cost to participating organizations, thanks to support from Calgary Arts Development and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. The program is expected to run 2015 to 2018.


Changes in today’s operating environment for the arts demand new thinking. Most not-for-profit arts organizations operate with constantly stretched resources and consequently struggle to implement truly new ideas. The organizations that are continuing to thrive are those that are increasing their emphasis on innovation, and making the most compelling case for their work by showing that they are creatively adaptive in their thinking and nimble in their response to change. Most organizations can benefit from formal assistance and frameworks to support the design and testing of adaptive approaches—that is to say, new strategies that spring from a shift in fundamental assumptions, that are a distinct break from past practice, and that show promise in delivering new public value.

To respond to these urgent needs, and reinforce the remarkable adaptive work underway in Calgary’s not-for-profit community, New Pathways for the Arts will bring together teams from participating organizations for a new kind of professional development and training program around innovation and adaptive change, share “next practices,” and help guide and stimulate new thinking and action. Participants will also learn from each other about effective responses to the complex challenges they face.

Program Description

New Pathways is a three-year program that will develop a learning community of up to 20 not-for-profit organizations that undertake artistic work or programs. The community is aimed at strengthening and advancing organizational innovation and adaptive capacity. Based on EmcArts’ successful work with not-for-profit arts organizations around the United States, New Pathways is a carefully crafted local response to the specific and urgent needs of arts organizations. Many Canadian arts organizations are beginning a journey with EmcArts through New Pathways, including programs in Edmonton and across Saskatchewan.

Following the selection process, the New Pathways program in Calgary will formally start in January 2015 with an initial exploration and analysis of adaptive capacity among the participating organizations, led by EmcArts. Over three years, the program will include a series of six hands-on Workshops exploring the real-life challenges of the participating organizations. Three Innovation Forums, led by participants around topics of their choosing, will offer a parallel network for peer-to-peer learning and exchange. These activities will be followed by optional On-site Organizational Coaching for individual organizations to facilitate the adoption of new knowledge and practices.

EmcArts will also provide a Train-the-Trainer program in which select community members will be trained to deliver adaptive coaching work themselves. In the third year of the program, there will be an opportunity for some participating members to engage in Incubating Innovation, a year-long indepth exploration of a significant complex challenge that involves the design and testing of a new adaptive response, guided by an EmcArts Lead Facilitator and including prototyping grants for each organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where else has the program been implemented?

New Pathways programs have been successfully implemented in many cities across the United States over the last three years, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, New Haven, New York City, Saint Louis and San Jose. Recent participants report:

“It was completely engaging—informative, provocative, exciting. There was no opting out.”

“We learned to question assumptions, think differently, be much more open-minded, and change behavior. The workshops and content excited us and came at such a perfect time of change within our organization; they sling-shotted us forward with enthusiasm and tremendous energy.”

What type of organization is likely to benefit the most from this program?

Active participation in an adaptive change program requires a commitment of staff time, energy and focus. Consistent attendance by a small team of three or four staff and board members at all workshops is required. Participating organizations should have sufficient stability as well as staff and board capacity to engage fully in all the required program elements. The program has been designed to make participation by small as well as larger organizations possible. The time commitment needed for the first year of activity is deliberately limited, and later elements in the program are optional, so that organizational leaders can determine what depth of involvement over time is appropriate for their organization’s circumstances and capacity.

About EmcArts

EmcArts Inc. is a social enterprise for learning and innovation in the arts. We serve as a nonprofit intermediary for many arts funders, and as a service organization for the arts field around innovation. We exist to strengthen the capacities and effectiveness of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, serving their needs in the design and management of innovative change, and assisting them in building their adaptive capacity.

More information is available at

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