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My City’s Still Breathing: A symposium exploring the arts, artists and the city

August 12, 201112 August 2011

Creative (smaller) cities

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This symposium, organized as part of Winnipeg’s Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 activities, was designed to “deliberate and debate the current and future relationships of art and design to city-making”. The symposium brought together international experts to probe the belief that “it is the art of a city that makes it breathe”. The Cultural Capitals of Canada program “recognizes and supports Canadian communities that have a record of harnessing the many benefits of arts and culture in community life. Its objective is to stimulate sustained community support for the arts and heritage.”

As stated on the “My City’s Still Breathing” website, the symposium title “reflects the precarious situation we are in as city dwellers: The use of the word ‘still’ implies the breathing continues, but is not guaranteed forever. It is both a declaration of pride in our city, and acknowledgement of the threat we face if we devalue our arts and artists. Without that constant breath of art and creativity, a city would be still; never growing, never progressing, never bringing in ideas and sending out discoveries…. To neglect our artists and our artwork is to risk the cessation of the breathing of our cities, and ultimately the richness of life held therein.”

The symposium keynote presentations and workshop sessions covered a range of topics, including:

  • Making Sense Together (Jon Hawkes, Australia).
  • The Creative Economy – Hope or Hype? (Simon Evans, U.K.).
  • The City as a Work of Art (Mark Kingwell, Toronto).
  • Love as the prime force in the economy of cities: an urban competition and sustainability framework for civic arts and culture (Larry Beasley, Vancouver).
  • The Artist in the Postmodern World (Eric Fischl in conversation with Robert Enright).
  • A public address by filmmaker John Waters (USA)
  • Cultural Cities (workshop session).
  • Cities with Art (workshop session).
  • City as Generator (workshop session).
  • Lasting Impressions: Ephemeral Artworks in the City (workshop session).
  • Art in Discounted Spaces (workshop session).
  • City Dep(ART)ment (workshop session).
  • Skywalks and Suburbia (workshop session).
  • Performing the City (workshop session).
  • Uncovering the City (workshop session).
  • What is culture, and can we plan for it? (workshop session)

Resources available on the site include presentation summaries as well as audio and video files for certain presentations.

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