Creative Connections

HOW CAN ART DRIVE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AND HOPE? It is increasingly recognized that art, as a series of guiding principles and means of communication, can be harnessed to improve the creation, design and delivery of socially innovative initiatives by connecting individuals.

Creative Connections focuses on the role of art in building connections on an individual (micro), group (mezzo) and societal (macro) level. In a world where individuality is often prioritized at the expense of community, art becomes a shared language through which we can foster dialogue and bridge disciplines. Art is important to social change insofar as (i) it provides a collective and safe space to problematize and examine issues through a creative lens, and (ii) it catalyzes awareness through aesthetic "non-rational" channels.

This theme examines the iterative artistic processes aimed at strengthening communities and cultivating lasting social engagement.

Creative Systems

HOW CAN ART INSPIRE NEW SOCIAL ECONOMIES? The discussion around the role of creativity and culture has reached somewhat of a noisy consensus: the expressive activities of arts and culture is now recognized as 'one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, stimulating the economy and animating creativity in a city (UNESCO, 2013). Researchers are increasingly interested in the tangible and measurable outputs of creativity and culture – but, does arts and culture really ‘fit’ within a system that values financial return above all else? Creative Systems looks at the current ecosystems in place that support artists and art-making in the world today.

This theme addresses the tangible realities and systems related to artists, like current funding and support models in Canada, and how artists can contribute to change broader social systems like capitalism, neoliberalism and the social economy. Creative System also addresses current issues and trends, and examines possible alternate systems that can be ushered in to properly support and nurture artists.

Creative Futures

HOW CAN ART IMAGINE BETTER POSSIBLE FUTURES? Creative Futures examines the generative role of artists as visionaries and futurists. Through "artistic license”, artists can imagine and anticipate possible futures, disrupting the norm with new frames for understanding the world. Artists are often the first in experimenting with new ideas by challenging conventions and stimulating debate, inspiring questions as much as answers.

If we challenge and critique current models in Creative Systems, here we ask how artists can advance new, more sustainable systems that can not only support artists and art-making, but also position artists as key players in changing the world.

This theme explores how art can both inspire and empower new generations, and foster hope and innovation through the creative inclusion of young people in the civic sphere. In addition, Creative Futures discusses the game-changing and democratizing impact of the digital age on the creative sphere, and how artists can communicate a more socially-minded approach to increasing technocentrism.