Calgary Arts Development Annual Congress

Fuelling a vital, prosperous and connected city

2022 Congress: Imagining the Future Together

You are invited to join us on November 16 for the 2022 Congress — Imagining the Future Together.

Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Location: Central Public Library (800 3rd St. SE)
Doors open: 8am — breakfast
Program: 8:45am to 4:30pm

This event is free with registration: Registration closes at 6pm on November 15, 2022.
A Zoom option is available for those who are unable to attend in person.
A light breakfast and lunch are included.

Morning Plenary Sessions

The Plenary Sessions will be held in the library theatre starting at 8:45am.

Blessing and Welcome

Blackfoot Elder Saa’kokoto

Keynote Address

Dr. Leroy Little Bear

What is significant about these times we find ourselves in and how might we imagine a better future together?

Leroy Little Bear was born and raised on the Blood Indian Reserve (Kainai First Nation) west of Lethbridge. One of the first Native students to complete a program of study at the University of Lethbridge, Little Bear graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1971. He continued his education at the College of Law, University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, completing a Juris Doctor Degree in 1975. Following his graduation, Little Bear returned to his alma mater as a founding member of Canada’s first Native American Studies Department. He remained at the University of Lethbridge as a researcher, faculty member and department chair until his official retirement in 1997.

An image of Dr. Leroy Little Bear sitting on a bench

In the spring of 2003, Little Bear was awarded the prestigious National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Education, the highest honour bestowed by Canada’s First Nations community. Little Bear is the recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Lethbridge and the University of Northern British Columbia. Along with his wife, Amethyst First Rider, Little Bear brought about the historic Buffalo Treaty between First Nations on both sides of the USA-Canada border in 2014. Little Bear was inducted into the Alberta Order Excellence and the Order of Canada in 2016 and 2019 respectively.

Systems Change presentation

Lena Soots, Director of the Trico Changemaker Studio at MRU, with Sally Njoroge and MelVeeX:
What roles do artists play in changing systems?

Calgary Arts Development strategic directions 2023-2026

Patti Pon, President and CEO.


A light lunch catered by Ethnicity will be available in the theatre lobby.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Each person will be able to attend two of the five breakout sessions held in various rooms throughout the library. The breakout sessions run from 12:30 – 2pm, and repeat from 2:15 – 3:45pm.

Indigenous-led theatre making

Michelle Thrush and Neil Fleming from Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society
As an Indigenously led, settler supported, professional theatre company located in the heart of Mohkinstsis, it is incredibly important to myself and our staff that we provide a safe place for our artists to create. Since becoming artistic director it is a huge part of my vision to understand what that means to be Indigenously led and how we as a company can hold ourselves responsible to our long held motto. Neil Fleming (executive director) and myself would like to discuss this specific process and how that relates to our stories. We have been exploring this process for the last two years and with Elder guidance we feel we have come up with a unique approach to theatre making as well as creating a safe and respectful place for artists to create.

Building Coalitions for Social Change

Cesar Cala
Coalition building is like math — working with groups and numbers. It is like science – testing, mixing and discovering. And it is like art – reimagining with curiosity and passion the possibilities of equity and justice. This session is a conversation on how we can participate in coalition building – and strengthen our collective power across the divides imposed on us.

What’s Needed Now: Arts Funding in the Calgary Arts Community

Arts granters from Calgary Arts Development and Rozsa Foundation
In this session, artists, arts administrators, and arts community members are invited to join representatives from arts funders in Calgary to reflect on how the funding needs of the arts ecosystem have shifted and transformed over the past two years. What have we learned from short-term solutions such as relief funding, digital funding, and other responses to the pandemic? What are the gaps, opportunities, and shared priorities in federal, provincial, and local supports? This will be a facilitated, interactive session.

Creative Spaces: Responding to Calgary’s Changing Needs

Beth Gignac and Daniel O’Shea
When we say creative spaces, what do we mean? Has how we talk about creative spaces in Calgary changed? In this session, we will examine the knowledge and recommendations of the 2016 Building on our Momentum: Arts and Culture Infrastructure report in contrast with our current context. This is the first in a series of conversations, and the continuation of our journey toward supporting cultural spaces that are responsive to the changing needs and new realities of Calgary. We want to hear from organizations and artists about how spaces may be used and what action could look like with Calgary’s existing infrastructure. Help us imagine the future of what Calgary’s creative spaces can look like!

The Creative Economy: What is Calgary’s CreativeCITY Strategy and how might we activate it?

Kaley Beisiegel and panelists Cowboy Smithx, Parker Chapple (Beakerhead) and Leah Naicken
The creative economy looks at creativity as an output that intersects job fields, rather than isolated to particular industries. Adopting an ecosystem lens, the creative economy recognizes the connections between fields such as education, arts, culture, and innovation, rather than viewing them in isolation. It maps the interdependence of these as unique drivers of direct and indirect economic outputs. This session will explore how we might activate the CreativeCity strategy as a way to diversify our economy and contribute to Calgary’s global reputation as a creative and innovative city.

Closing Remarks

Closing remarks will take place in the library theatre, and end with words by Poet Laureate Wakefield Brewster.

This event is free with registration:

Programming subject to change.

Calgary Arts Development has hosted a variety of gatherings that explore themes like art for social change, community-driven art, reconciliation, and community engagement. Watch this space for information on upcoming congress events. 

Past Congresses

Creative Calgary Congress 2016
Living a Creative Life Congress 2017
Art and Social Change Congress 2018