Historic Times

Historic Times

What is this moment asking of us

Our inclusive designer in residence JD Derbyshire invited us to consider the question “What is this moment asking of us?” That inspired me to write this fieldnote.

This moment is asking us to stay home. To slow down. To disrupt our usual patterns. To realize our own vulnerabilities as humans. To be humble—what? We aren’t the be all and end all of species on the planet?

To think of others. To be in this together.

It’s asking us to look at how and what each one of us contributes to our community. To recognize the value of all the people who help us live our lives, many of whom we take for granted—the people who look after our health; keep streets and stores clean; pick up garbage and recycling; stock grocery shelves; help us get the food and supplies we need for our families and pets; teach our children; take care of vulnerable communities; manufacture food and goods; fix our cars; keep us safe; deliver our mail; keep us connected; stretch our minds; fill our hearts and souls.

This moment is asking us to see people over profit. To value experiences, connections, memories, and meaning over material goods. To take care of each other and our environment. To collaborate. To understand how interdependent we are and how we all need to work together to create a world that includes everyone.

This is a tectonic shift. Things are never going back to the way they were. We have an opportunity right now to envision what kind of future we want to create together. That is a spectacular thing.

I believe our greatest gifts as humans are our creativity and our empathy. Our ability to imagine something and then make it happen. Our ability to see things from another’s perspective and feel what they feel. Calgary’s arts development strategy is called Living a Creative Life. What better time to put our greatest gifts—our creativity and our empathy—at the centre of our universe.

When Calgary is truly a place where people can live their most creative and empathetic lives, our city will be more resilient. Diversity will be a strength to celebrate. Our planet will be healthier. Our social fabric will be stronger. The economy will be more diversified. Youth will be more engaged. Artists will thrive.

When creativity and empathy lead us, we will build something extraordinary. Together.

Helen Moore-Parkhouse joined the Calgary Arts Development team in February 2015 as Director, Communications & Engagement. Helen has worked in senior staff positions with arts organizations including Alberta Theatre Projects, Quest Theatre, The Banff Centre, and Calgary Opera. She has also consulted in the areas of marketing and communications with a number of arts companies such as Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Theatre Calgary and Wordfest in its early years.

She has worked in the Calgary arts sector for more than 35 years.

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