Follow-up: ArtsEngageCanada Workshops

Did you miss the ArtsEngageCanada Workshops? 

Do not fear! This blog is our much belated, but definitely delightful follow-up, full of resources on how to kick-start your bespoke community engagement project. 

Project Lead of ArtsEngageCanada, Jane Marsland, and Community Engagement Specialist, Gail Ferrin went on tour last month to deliver a series of Community Engagement workshops in 6 Ontario communities. They were presented in partnership with members from Chatham, Brantford, Oakville, Peterborough, Barrie and Ottawa. These workshops were provided so that arts organizations, presenters, and artists would have the necessary tools for creating an artistic, community engaged experience in their respective communities.

The workshops began with a few rounds of impromptu networking, in which each participant stated what they were looking to get out of the workshop and what they have to offer. A recurring theme across all the workshops was determining the difference audience development and community engagement. Click here for a helpful document on the differences between audience development and community engagement.

Afterward, participants took a deep dive into learning about the community engagement digital learning tool, The website offers a wide spread of resources and stories to guide you on your work on your next community engagement project.

A short history:  ArtsEngageCanada emerged from a request by the Ontario Presents membership at the 2013 Spring Retreat in Brantford, Ontario after participants experienced the extraordinary and transformative community engagement work with Debajehmujig Theatre’s Global Savages Program. This experience led the members to express a strong desire to have a tool that would support further learning in community engagement.

Later in the day, the workshop flowed into an experiential discovery process, guided by Gail Ferrin, on the development of a community engagement project based on ideas anonymously proposed and chosen by workshop participants earlier in the morning. The process took participants from the purpose of their project to identifying stakeholders, potential barriers, mapping, auditing and finding out who is in your respective community, evaluating, amongst many other considerations.

The process can be seen in this comprehensive document, which displays all of the considerations you must make when working on a community engagement project. 

As the day wound down, participants were asked to pitch their projects to the other groups for feedback from colleagues and Gail Ferrin. By the end, workshop participants felt more familiar with community engagement practices and some even wished to continue to develop their projects with their new colleagues. 

Now it’s your turn - Begin. Act. Share. Transform. 

Want to continue your learning about Community Engagement? Join the ArtsEngageCanada mailing list! 

Thank you! 

The Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, The Mady Centre for the Performing Arts, Chatham Capitol Theatre, Shenkman Arts Centre and Market Hall Performing Arts Centre. Of course, a huge thank you goes out to our funders – the Ontario Trillium Foundation and The Department of Canadian Heritage for making these workshops free!