Creative City Strategy Symposium

The Creative City Strategy symposium on March 4, 2019, was a remarkable day that offered many learnings. Thank you to our Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh hosts, staff at Vancouver Civic Theatres, panelists, interpreters, artists, videographers, graphic recorders, facilitators and participants for making the symposium possible. 

You can see the full program below.

Watch the video recordings

Daytime Program

Evening Program

COV-Creative-City-Strategy-Symposium-2-1What are priorities for arts, culture and creativity in the city of Vancouver?

Join us for the Creative City Strategy Symposium and share your thoughts!

This symposium will be a significant component in the development of the Creative City Strategy, a culture plan to guide the City of Vancouver’s efforts to support art, culture and creative work and life.

Monday, March 4, 2019
Vancouver Playhouse
600 Hamilton Street

Download the program: Symposium Brochure (PDF)

Daytime Program

Registration will start at 8:00 am, with sessions from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Opening Plenary

Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Visibility and Voice on the Land
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Main Floor Theatre

Watch the video: Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Visibility and Voice on the Land

Artist Respondent/MC
Christie Lee Charles, Vancouver’s Poet Laureate

Artist Respondent
Kim Villagante

These are the lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations; their cultures have thrived throughout their territories for thousands of years despite centuries of colonization that sought to erase their cultural presence.

What does visibility on the land mean to different Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh artists and cultural leaders? What would it look like if Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh cultural expressions were visible across the entire City as a part of cultural sovereignty?

With the many impacts of colonization, visibility on the land is an important focus of conversations about decolonization and reconciliation. This opening conversation will explore important questions about visibility and voice, and supporting self-determined cultural expressions of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations throughout Vancouver.

Debra Sparrow – Musqueam Artist

Khelsilem – Squamish First Nation Council Member

Carleen Thomas – Special Projects Manager, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Kamala Todd – Indigenous Arts & Cultural Planner, City of Vancouver (moderator)


Concurrent Breakout Sessions (morning)

Advancing Reconciliation, Equity, and Accessibility in Granting
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Main Floor Theatre

Watch the video: Advancing Reconciliation, Equity, and Accessibility in Granting

What promising practices are grant makers developing to advance reconciliation, equity, and accessibility?  How are grant makers including underrepresented voices in more equitable and accessible ways? Which of these practices have the potential to be adapted to Vancouver?

Innovators in cultural grant-making from across Canada and the United States will share stories of reducing existing barriers to create more equitable grant-making and substantially increase support for equity-seeking groups. Participants will reflect on which of these practices have the potential to be adapted to Vancouver.


Jordan Baylon – Calgary Arts Development

Kathy Hseih, Manager – Cultural Partnerships and Grants; City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture

Bushra Junaid, Deaf and Disability Arts Officer – Ontario Arts Council

Barbara Mumby, Program Director – San Francisco Arts Commission

Andrew Suri, Director, Grants Management – Toronto Arts Council


Kim Senklip Harvey, Director, Playwright, Actor

Valerie Sing Turner, Founder – Visceral Visions; Director – Diverse Theatre BC

Jen Thomas Director of Administration, Costal Jazz and Blues


For the Pleasure of your Company: Joy and Resilience in Community-Engaged Practice
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Main Floor Salon

How do joy and pleasure in community-engaged art practice build collective resilience in communities facing persistent forms of systemic discrimination? How do artists working in community make space for joy with people who are often excluded?

Participants can expect to hear stories of the ways in which panelists make space for joy alongside truth-telling in community-engaged art making, and engage in dialogue about ways Cultural Services might better support such work.

Alyssa Amarshi, Director – Immigrant Lessons

Sharon Kallis, Executive Director – EartHand Gleaners

Savannah Walling, Artistic Director – Vancouver Moving Theatre

Sonia Medel – PhD Student – Faculty of Education, UBC (moderator)


Sharing Administrative and Space Services
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Basement Studio

How are organizations sharing administrative and facilities management services to collaborate for greater success?

Panelists representing a range of organizational scales and purposes will share stories of collaborating with partners to build and evolve functional sharing models. Participants will be invited to consider opportunities for sharing service and to reflect on ways Cultural Services might continue to improve its support for successful business services and space sharing.

David Pay, President – 110 Arts Cooperative; Artistic Director – Music on Main

Claire Sakaki, Executive Director – Bard on the Beach

Kristina Lemieux, Founder – Scaffold Arts (Moderator)


Concurrent Breakout Sessions (afternoon)

Equity Learning Journeys: Building More Ethical & Accessible Organizations
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Second Floor Lobby

How are organizations working to address underrepresentation in their operational and artistic practices?

Panelists will share their promising practices and initiatives, as well as lessons learned from obstacles and mistakes. Participants will be invited to explore and share their own learning journeys and reflect on the role grant-makers might play in supporting such work.

Bopha Chhay (Director/ Curator – Artspeak

Stephanie Goodwin, Executive Director – Out On Screen

Leslie Hurtig, Artistic Director – Vancouver Writers Fest

Nicole McLuckie, Director of Patron Development – The Cultch

Navida Nuraney, Executive Director – ArtStarts in Schools


Relationships: Beyond Accessibility and Accommodation Checklists
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Main Floor Salon

How are artists who identify as disabled and/or Deaf shaping artistic practices in relational ways that could upend exclusive institutional ways of working?  What questions can guide organizations as they consider how to cultivate relationships that offer Deaf and/or disabled artists more agency?

Panelists will share guiding questions to help build partnerships rooted in intersectionality and reciprocity. Participants will have the chance to reflect on their own work in relationship to such questions and consider ways Cultural Services might better support such work.

Landon Krentz, Director – Artistic Sign Language

David Kurs, Artistic Director – Deaf West Theatre

Carmen Papalia, Artist – Open Access Platform

Syrus Ware, Artist, Curator; Tangled Art + Disability; Organizer – Black Lives Matters – Toronto, Republic of Inclusion; PhD Student and Vanier Scholar – York University


Securing Local Arts & Culture Spaces
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Main Floor Theatre

Watch the video: Securing Local Arts & Culture Spaces

How are organizations developing community owned and operated arts and culture spaces during a time of accelerated costs and development demands?

Panelists will share stories of navigating this complicated terrain and explore ways to identify unmet needs, and innovative tools, such as land trusts. How can organizations secure cultural spaces in communities experiencing the risk of cultural displacement? How can the City of Vancouver support innovative tools to foster more diverse, accessible and affordable cultural spaces?

Stephanie Allen, Director – Hogan’s Alley Society; Vice President – Catalyst Community Development

Diane Blunt, Consultant – Urban Ink

Moy Eng, Executive Director – Community Arts Stabilization Trust

Brian McBay, Executive Director – 221A

Am Johal, Director of Community Engagement – SFU (moderator)


Closing Plenary

Reflections on the Day
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Main Floor Theatre

Watch the video: Closing Plenary: Reflections on the Day


Online tickets will be available here until 5:00 pm on Friday March 1st, after which any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

Evening Program

During the evening, there will be a standalone signature plenary. Registration will start at 5:30 pm.

Land and Bodies: Reconciliation & Cultural Redress in Public Art
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Main Floor Theatre

Watch the video: Land and Bodies: Reconciliation & Cultural Redress in Public Art

How are artists claiming space to centre land and bodies that various structural forces have attempted to erase from the public realm and imagination?

Panelists will explore ways artists working in the public realm reinscribe land and bodies whose stories have been displaced by systemic forces of colonialism and racism.

Marcia Crosby, Curator, Writer, Researcher; PhD – Art History and Cultural Theory, UBC

Arash Khakpour, Cofounder; Pressed Paradise, Co-Founder; The Biting School

Laiwan, Artist; Teacher – Goddard College; Founder – Or Gallery

Dylan Robinson, Assistant Professor Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts – Queens University

Vanessa Richards, Artist; Director – Creative Together Community; Community Engagement Director – 312 Main

RSVP for the Evening Program


Accessibility & Accommodations

The following information is referenced from the Radical Access Mapping Project and the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre.


There is a driveway for taxis and for pick up and drop off of patrons. As well, underground paid parking and metered street parking are available.

The path to the entrance is clear of obstacles, roots, and big cracks. The entrance is wheelchair accessible, well-lit at night, and there is signage leading to the entrance. The main entrance door clearance is 45”. The doors are automatic, and operable by single effort. Threshold is flush with the door, and door mats are stationary.

The corridors from the entrance to the bathrooms are at least 3’ wide.There is one universal gender neutral washroom that is wheelchair accessible on the main floor.

There are five wheelchair spaces in the theatre for the plenaries, and every breakout room can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters. The second floor and basement breakout rooms can be accessed via elevator.

Hearing and Visual Impairment

Every session will be translated into American Sign Language. Vocal Eye may be available for visual interpretation as needed. Additionally, hearing-assist units and binoculars are available at the main lobby coat check.


We ask that all patrons join us in making this space accessible to those with scent sensitivities and allergies by avoiding the use of scented products, including perfumes, scented lotions, and other personal hygiene products. While we make this request of all our attendees, unfortunately we are unable to strictly enforce this policy.


Additional Spaces

Other dedicated spaces that will be provided are:

  • Coat check
  • Prayer room
  • Quiet Space
  • Gender neutral universal washroom
  • More to come!


Can’t make it to the event?

There will be opportunities to view the plenaries via livestream, and to provide on-line feedback. Please check back here or on our website for further information on how to be involved closer to the date of the symposium.



Join the Creative City Strategy discussion!

Cultural Services, City of Vancouver
Twitter @VanCultureBC
Instagram @vanculturebc

Share your ideas with #CreativeCityStrategy

One thought on “Creative City Strategy Symposium

  1. Pingback: CAST Speaks at City of Vancouver Creative City Strategy Symposium - CAST - Community Arts Stabilization Trust

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