Film and Music: Final Thoughts


On March 28th, our Civic Innovation class had the honor to formally present each of our experiments at the Calgary Central Library. This showcase event provided an amazing opportunity to display our work in front of the many individuals who supported us throughout the course. When it came time for those in attendance to get a firsthand experience with our installations, the feedback and encouragement from all was a significant highlight of the event.

As we approach the concluding days of this course, our Film and Music group feels an abundant sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. However, our success could not have been fulfilled without the gracious generosity of time and resources from everyone involved. Bill Ptacek and the Calgary Central Library facilitated an amazing work environment for us to create and design our exhibit. The advice, guidance and financial assistance from our community sponsors does not go without notice, and was greatly appreciated at every step along the way. These organizations include the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, CADA, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Mount Royal Institute for Community Prosperity. Lastly, a special “thank you” to Kevin Jesuino and all of our mentors who challenged and pushed our group to create the best experiment possible. 

Bringing it all together!

Finally after all of our hard work the big day was here. Our group arrived early and began refreshing the experiment and to our surprise after only a day since the last refresh the cubes were filled with drawings again. After refreshing the experiments the groups tackled the task of setting up the event space. From preparing the Jane’s walk displays, to mounting our system maps it was all coming together. With the help of the wonderful library staff we were able to transform the space into something special. Once the event got underway we could finally take a breath of relief knowing it all came together. The night included talks from influential people in our community as well as a wonderful student perspective to bring it all together. We split for a little bit and watched as people interacted and engaged with our experiments. By the end of the time period our experiment was full once again! Through talking with many people in the community we learned about the impact that we had on changing people's perspectives as well as just simply educating them on the impact that the creative economy has on our city. By the end of the night we carried a sense of pride knowing that the work we had done throughout the semester was really making a difference. But this wouldn’t have been possible without our community partners and funders. We would like to thank the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Recode, and the Westman Charitable Foundation for their generous support and funding. We would also like to thank Calgary Economic Development, Mount Royal University, The City of Calgary, Calgary Arts Development, The Calgary Public Library, and Civic Tech YYC for being amazing community partners. Finally we would like to thank everyone that came out to the event and showed support for our work. After this amazing semester we can’t wait to see what the next group of students will come up with!

Literary Team Showcase

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The showcase came together very nicely and all our hard work paid off. The most rewarding part of the evening was getting to show everyone that has supported us, our family, friends, and our community partners, what we put together - our experiments. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces represented an ultimate feeling of success and gratitude for the opportunity to share and celebrate the experience. Overall we are very proud of the exhibit we put together, and although we have yet to review the data, we are confident that we had a significant and meaningful impact on the community.

On behalf of the Literary team, I would like to say a huge thank you to our community supporters. The library was so patient with us and worked hard to help us materialize our vision for the exhibit. We also would not have been able to come up with our creative concept without the help of our mentors, especially Mel Vee. Finally, the whole project would not be possible without the support of CADA and our sponsors, including the Institute for Community Prosperity, The Alberta Real Estate Foundation, and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

Visual Arts Exhibit: Opening Day


The crisp morning air surrounded us as the groups gathered at the front entrance of the New Central Library. As the clock got closer to 9am the air was replaced with a buzz of excitement as the groups prepared to tackle the task at hand. Finally the doors opened and people flooded into the vast and beautiful space. As we made our way over to the create space the realization of the task we had to complete soon took over our thoughts. As every group settled down and began working the space transformed into this high energy area. As passers by gathered around to check out what we were up to we knew that we were doing something interesting. The process, though time consuming, came together almost flawlessly. As the clock approached 11am it was all hands on deck to wrap up the final touches of the experiment. But finally we could take a sigh of relief as the last markers where put in place and final highlights were installed. Half past 11 came and the exhibit gates were opened to the public. To our delight the public started to wander through and interact with the exhibits leaving us with the sense that we have created something special.

Performance Art Exhibit: Opening Day

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As we near the end of our semester, all four creative cluster teams finalized and installed their citizen experiments on March 23rd in the Create Space area, located in the library. During our lab sessions, many ideas were generated on how we can utilize the space, and it led to the concept of our living timeline design.

It was a challenging task to transport our 96” long x 42” wide board to the Create Space area, but once it was placed on the library tabletops, our team worked with ease. The process of writing Calgary’s performance arts history on our timeline, in addition to our own memories, was enjoyable and we aspire the same warmth from our guests. Our focus is to encourage high engagement with our visitors, and to provoke the perception around performance arts. It was a process filled with pressure and worry, but our outcome is nothing short of magnificent.

Film and Music Exhibit: Opening Day

Through weeks of design, testing and experimenting, the Film and Music group is proud to announce that our experiment installation is now open for public interaction in the Create Space at Calgary’s Central Library. On display from March 23rd to March 27th, our exhibit fosters a creative experience in which participants are encouraged to discover the role music plays within film. Whilst putting on a pair of headphones and listening to the soundtrack provided, individuals are presented the opportunity to draw and create a movie scene or poster that they feel is best represented by the music. After completion, artwork is then to be displayed on a nearby poster board for others to see. This enables a unique experience to discover the differences in what others created while listening to the same audio.    

Upon opening at around 11am on March 23rd, our team took the opportunity to observe initial responses from participants. To our delight, within minutes of opening, everyone from children to adults were actively immersed in the Film and Music exhibit. Over the next few days, our group expects a continuing trend of individuals to enjoy the creative experience.

Although the current stage of our project did not come without its fair share of complications along the way, it was a collaboration effort from the Civic Innovation team leaders, mentors, and community partners that assisted and guided our group to make this happen. Thus far, it has been a phenomenal learning experience that will certainly be looked back upon in the future.

The Literary Arts Exhibit: Opening Day

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This sunny Saturday morning, you would have walked by the Create Space at the new Central Library downtown to discover a hive of activity. Student teams bright eyed and excited yet feeling the pressure of assembling finishing touches to perfect their exhibits. Last minute pivots were made and the literary team pulled through the stressful setup to create an interactive exhibit we all could feel proud of. As the library became more and more alive with curious patrons surrounding the exhibit space, an exciting realization of how large the scope of impact we could have on people dawned on us. We have excellent expectations for how our exhibit will fare in the days to come and we can’t wait to see our vision fully manifested.  

How Does Performing Arts Impact Calgary’s Identity?

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Performance Art reflects human creativity through a variety of modes, including, but not limited to, dance, film, theatre, music and their respective subcategories. This art form, in its simplest manifestation,  involves both an audience and performer(s). Performance arts, like other forms of art, has been proven to build upon community and culture. This cluster has helped foster, and in some cases, create a sense of identity/community.

Calgary continues to change and adapt as new technologies and industries emerge in our city. As there has been huge shifts and changes over the last hundred years, Calgarians have become increasingly aware of the identity of our city and how we chose to express ourselves. Much of this identity is built around our history as a city, and what this looks like for us know.

Calgary is well known as a oil town, a young city, full with business people and events such as the Calgary Stampede. However, our city is constantly diversifying and growing. As we have welcomed more people to our city, our industries have expanded and we have more events such as the Folk Festival, Globe Fest, and Beakerhead. The city has also been exploring other avenues such as the Studio Bell National Music Centre. Although we may not have a clear answer on what Calgaries Identity looks like today, performing arts has a huge impact on our city.

Our hope for Calgary is that we continue to foster our appreciation of the performing arts. Through doing so we hope that Calgary will begin to develop an identity that will grow and diversify with the city.

Lessons from Messy Prototyping

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Our realization that contemporary literary art is quite accessible and not intimidating at all informed our prototyping session at the library. As well as testing our ideas for our experiment, we hoped to find out how people respond to interactive literary art. We discovered that people share our intimidation and that many expressed ‘fear of messing up’ or did not consider themselves to be creative. This deeply concerned us because literary art can have a profound positive impact on an individual and society at large, but only when it is engaged with and recognized. We wanted our experiment to invite and encourage people to be involved with literary art and to have fun while doing so. The two ideas we tested through the ‘messy prototyping’ approach were based on a theme of collaboration; we wanted to see if we could get the average person to contribute to a literary work with their community. Our session helped us understand the challenges that face us around our goals for our experiment, but also gave us confidence that we can positively impact our community on behalf of the literary arts cluster.

The Last Steps


How can we embed the arts into Calgary’s DNA? All semester we have been working towards a possible solution for this problem. Our group was assigned the visual arts and we cannot wait to share what we have worked on with you. Utilizing the knowledge of various experts in the field, we have implemented and gained insight from strategies such as Human Centered Design and systems thinking.

For our final project we are piecing together our learnings, culminating in an experiment designed to engage with, and learn from, you! Today we consulted with experts in the field to gain more insight and gather new ideas for us to utilize. We still have a little more than a week until the big reveal and although our work is still in the drafting stages, today was another step towards the final experiment. We have lots of work to do!

Nashville, Tennessee - Music


“Arts, culture, and creativity reflect a city’s spirit and values—they are its pulse. Since its founding, arts and cultural participation have been central to Nashville’s history and economy livelihood (A General Plan for Nashville & Davidson County, p.1). The need for economic development evolved in 1989 when the Wall Street reported on the “relative underperformance of the Nashville market. The growth of Nashville's creative sectors since then has helped the city serve as a hub which in return has helped the region grow entirely.

Commonly known as “Music City”, Nashville boasts an upbeat nightlife, while offering a diverse selection of genres and experiences within their creative music sector. Music has been an anchor for the city brand and economy for decades. Click below to read more now! 

[Image].2019. Music City Center. Clark Construction. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from .

A General Plan for Nashville & Davidson County. (2015). Nashvillenext. Volume 2 Elements. Retrieved February 15, 2019 from nVolumes/next-volume2-Elements_ACC.pdf

Discovering Literary Art Culture in Kigali, Rwanda

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Out of the five cities I researched for my report on exemplar creative cities, Kigali, Rwanda was the most inspiring and my favourite. My goal in my research was to challenge my assumptions about what literary art means and the different forms it can take. Reflecting on my conversation with our mentor Mel in class, my attention was captivated by the spoken word art medium. In Kigali, I found there was a bright spoken word art presence in the community and that the art was helping the people heal and express themselves. Kigali is remarkable because it shows tremendous growth in the creative industries and it has used art to mend the wounds from a horrendous past. Additionally, African history is predominantly oral, which lends an explanation to why the spoken word art form has taken off and resonated with the community in Kigali so strongly. The centre of the spoken word art community in Kigali is the Spoken Word Rwanda yearly festival. The following is an excerpt from my paper that explains the Spoken Word Festival in greater detail:

In 2012 Kigali had its first Spoken Word festival (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 2), something completely new to Rwanda (para. 1). The festival is about ‘bringing people together to celebrate the expression of self” (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 1). The performances of Spoken Word Rwanda (SWR) reflect the cultural vibrance through diverse linguistic presence because of the use of English, French, and Kinyarwanda (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 3). The festival draws people that “span many generations and nationalities” to participate and to appreciate the art form (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 3) which further exemplifies cultural richness of the city. In addition to spoken word performances, the festival includes workshops, film screenings, and diverse art exhibits to be enjoyed by tourists and citizens of the city alike (The power of Spoken Word, Literature and Art, 2012, para. 15). - Campbell, 2019, p. 2


Campbell, A. (2019, February 20). Creative Economy: Art, Culture, & the City. Retrieved from /view?utm_content=DADRD4YSwH8&utm_campaign =designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton

Doyle, R.B. (2014, May 30). In Rwanda, Looking to Art to Soothe. New York Times. Retrieved from /in-rwanda-looking-to-art-to-soothe.html?_r=0

The Guggenheim Museum

Laube, K. (2017)  Bilbao Guggenheim Museum  [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Laube, K. (2017) Bilbao Guggenheim Museum [Photograph]. Retrieved from

The creative economy has proven to be resilient against economic downturn and cities are catching on. An example of this would be from the industrial production heavy city of Bilbao. Recently Bilbao has made a push to diversify its economy and redevelop the area around the Bulbao Ria. The hub to foster this change is the Guggenheim museum. An architectural masterpiece such as this one has allowed creativity and knowledge to flow through the area and has created benefits such as the growth of tourism and real estate in the area. Cities can take a lesson from this by simply understanding that if you build it, they will come.

Art on the Underground

Bal, T. (Photographer). (n.d.). Labyrinth by Mark Wallinger, 2013. Retrieved from numPostamp;autocompleteText=&archive=0&action=projects_loop_handler

Bal, T. (Photographer). (n.d.). Labyrinth by Mark Wallinger, 2013. Retrieved from numPostamp;autocompleteText=&archive=0&action=projects_loop_handler

The London Underground metro system is part of the vital organs that make up the city. Millions of people utilize the transit system everyday. Such a staple to the city, it’s no wonder that Art on the Underground, a London curatorial program, is interested in putting art all around. Art is found all throughout the underground stations from paintings to performance art. The diverse forms of art throughout allow for the art to be for anyone. With travellers flooding the stations, the culture that the art brings is enriching to the daily lives.

‘Art on the Underground. For everyone, every day’ - Eleanor Pinfield, head of the Art on the Underground program (Art of the Underground, 2016, p. 3)

Wordstock - Portland Oregon

Figure 1.0 – Citizens at the Wordstock Festival in Portland Oregon (Wordstock, 2015).

Figure 1.0 – Citizens at the Wordstock Festival in Portland Oregon (Wordstock, 2015).

I found the arts and cultural events in Portland, Oregon to be the most interesting exemplar I researched. Specifically, the literary arts scene is thriving in Portland due to a number of festivals and events including Wordstock. Wordstock aims to engage citizens and the local literary community through celebrating literature and literacy. This directly connects to my group’s creative cluster, the literary arts. Calgary’s Wordfest is a festival that we should look further in to. Studies have shown that these festivals provide opportunities for citizen engagement and inclusivity. Additionally, Wordstock allows free admission for people 18 and younger which encourages the youth to join in on literary conversations. Barrier free entries are essential in developing social inclusion within a community which is something we should consider for our experiment. Furthermore, our experiment will be barrier free in the sense that everyone can participate, regardless of age or ability. Other initiatives such as We Are Portland focus on increasing awareness of Portland’s diversity though photography different families. It would be inspiring to incorporate Calgary’s diversity into our experiment.

Wordstock. (n.d.). Book Fair at Wordstock 2015 [Digital image]. Retrieved February 17, 2019, from

Creativity and Design in Cape Town


“Cape Town has used creativity and design as tools in the ongoing process of rebuilding, reconnecting
and repositioning the city to transform lives and to build a better, more resilient city for all.” (UNESCO, Cape Town, para. 1). This fact alone is exemplary as this City has clearly identified the value of the creative economy and is implementing it for both economic and social reasons.

Cape Town utilizes local events as “powerful engines to share experiences, knowledge and best practice with diverse local and international audiences and design practitioners” (UNESCO, Cape Town, para. 4). From a systems perspective, it can be inferred that these events help promote a sense of community within Cape Town. The city is advanced compared to other cities in the geographic region, as they have recognized and are placing a high level of importance on utilizing creativity and culture. This city is truly exemplarily as they are utilizing art in order to better their current situation.

Insight into the Creative Economy: Cape Town

Photo: Freddy Sam. Retrieved from:

Photo: Freddy Sam. Retrieved from:

One of the cities that inspired me most during my research was Cape Town. It is a rich and vibrant city, with a recent but innovative history of understanding the value of creativity for its economy. This city, once wrought with the discriminatory policies of apartheid, is changing, with help from creative industry.

An insightful article by Laura Wenz (2012), explains that in 1998, Cape Town became a frontrunner in the creative economy by introducing Creative South Africa: A strategy for realizing the potential of the cultural industries (p. 18). With help from budding communities rich with creative industry, such as Woodstock (pictured above), Cape Town continues to draw on its creative strengths.

Reference: Wenz, L. (2012). Changing tune in Woodstock: Creative industries and local urban development in Cape Town, South Africa. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research & Engagement. http://doi:10.5130/ijcre.v5i0.2010

Portland, the Crafty City and their Thriving Cultural and Creative Economy

Title: Double-Headed Language Daggers  Artist: Da-ka-xeen Mehner, completed in 2012  Exhibit: “This Is Not A Silent Movie” by Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists 2014  Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon, USA

Title: Double-Headed Language Daggers

Artist: Da-ka-xeen Mehner, completed in 2012

Exhibit: “This Is Not A Silent Movie” by Four Contemporary Alaska Native Artists 2014

Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon, USA

The city of Portland in the United states of America, is known for its vibrancy, diversity, and strong art sector. However, the city has been struggling with a housing crisis in the last decade. This crisis has affected the availability of performance space and affordable housing. The city has implemented a strategy to focus on their values to target this problem and protect the creative and cultural economy. By focusing on the direct investment of proposals and policies within the city, this has given the economy a chance to thrive and grow.

Portland is currently home to many emerging artists, amazing parks and an attractive city center. Although they are known for many things, Portland is home to the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC). The OCAC has a strong community of students, faculty, mentors, and administration, that encourages students to be critical and innovative thinkers and makers. The school provides opportunities to students to show their work around the school, including the Hoffman Gallery. This gallery is open to the public and has around 50,000 visits a year. The city also ensures that they are inclusive and diverse by working with a large network of organizations, such as the Latino Network, the Muslim Educational Trust, and the Disability Arts and Culture Project. The city feels they are thriving due to their creative economy.

Our creativity drives innovation, inspires the founding of new companies, draws new employers and residents to our city, provides good jobs, and helps burnish our quality of life. Every aspect of our community would suffer without our creative culture.

– The City of Portland


Centre for Contemporary Art and Culture. (n.d.). Exhibits, Retrieved from

Detroit: The Growing Creative City

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While doing the research project for the sector visual arts, the city of Detroit had come up. What I found interesting regarding the city of Detroit was that they were not always seen as the huge creative hub. It was not until 2015 that the world had come around to what Detroit had to offer creatively and culturally. Which I believe the reason being is mostly because Detroit had become very open with the street art aspect of visual arts that most cities have not. By allowing local and international street artists, Detroit has grown their creative and cultural industries independently from what other cities are doing traditionally (fine art, museums, etc.), which is what puts Detroit on the “creative map” in their own unique way.

K-Pop and the Economic Innovation

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Today, popular South Korean music is loved and embraced around the world, especially in America within the last five years. The South Korean government actually has a dedicated K-pop department to recruit and pay for Korean music both to promote business and culture. As Lie states, “the business of South Korea is South Korean business (2014, pg. 121). The government has made the effort to “brand South Korea [and Seoul as its capital] as a creative, innovative country” (Lie, 2014, p.149). As K-pop becomes increasingly popular in America, new children's shows and other media mediums are beginning to latch onto this creative musical culture. As Lie states, “K-pop, like popular music in general, marks the beauty in ordinary life: a promise of happiness, the anticipation of bliss” (2014, pg.194). Give K-pop a listen today!

Lie, J. (2014). K-pop : popular music, cultural amnesia, and economic innovation in south korea. Retrieved from