Jeff Melanson: Upcoming Speaking Engagements

As an arts and culture executive, it’s a great honour to be invited to speak at conferences and events that address some of the challenges facing local, national and international arts communities.

Promoting inclusion and more widespread access to cultural and arts initiatives has been a passion of mine for more than two decades and I continue to strongly believe that arts and culture engagement is beneficial to people of every age, race and nationality.

I look forward to speaking on this topic and similar subjects at two upcoming speaking engagements this year.

Canadian Race Relations National Conference – Toronto, Ontario, October 26 & 27, 2016

2017 will mark a major milestone for Canada when the country celebrates its 150th birthday. With cultural events and celebrations slated to cover the full year, there are lots of opportunities for Canadians to celebrate and engage with the diverse cultures that make Canada great.

Leading up to the year-long celebration in 2017, this year’s annual Canadian Race Relations Foundation Conference will focus largely on continuing to build toward a more inclusive society. The two-day conference held at Toronto’s Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in the city’s downtown core will address a number of issues facing Canadians today, from working to eliminate racism to inspiring youth to sparking social change.

On Day 2 of the conference (October 27), I will be moderating a discussion focused on arts and inclusion in Canada. Arts and culture play a key role in helping our country define itself on the world stage and it is imperative that our national arts community is inclusive and reflective of the cultural mosaic that is Canada.

Panel guests Antonio Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, and Sandra Laronde, Indigenous Artist and Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance, will discuss how the Canadian arts and culture community can work together and alongside other entities to accurately portray and support our country’s quest for inclusivity.

To find out more about the conference and other initiatives visit the Canadian Race Relations website.

79th Conference for Community Arts Education, Chicago, Illinois, November 2-5, 2016

Building community through arts is important at home and abroad. I believe this is best achieved through early education and engagement with arts and cultural organizations and institutions.

In early November, I will take part in the 79th annual Conference for Community Arts Education held by the National Guild for Community Arts Education in Chicago. The annual event brings together American and international arts and culture leaders, educators, community leaders, teachers and so on to examine how arts education can be better delivered and more engaging and reflective of what young people want to know.

The four-day conference located inside the Sheraton Grand Chicago will feature a number of seminars, panels, workshops and even local field-trips for attendees. Some of the topics that will be covered at this year’s conference include the multigenerational benefits of arts education, cross-sector partnerships and leveraging arts resources to build better communities.

On the final day of the conference (November, 5th) myself and Gordon Goodwin, award winning musician and board development expert, will host a day-long workshop entitled, Powerful Boards: Action Planning for Full Engagement.

Designed to be highly interactive, we will spend the day helping leadership teams develop the concrete tools, strategies, and techniques required to engage, excite and inspire the boards and committees they work on.

To find out more about this event visit the National Guild for Community Arts Education website.