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Professional Development communications meeting


June 23, 2015

Professional Development communications meeting

Nathalie Rayne, Communication, Marketing and Translation Specialist


Canada Council Office

A few weeks ago I attended my first professional development meeting as a communication and marketing director at artsnb. I was able to meet my national communication and marketing colleagues from the arts boards across the country. We met at the beautiful new Canada Council offices in Ottawa, Ontario, and spent two days learning about best practices, and discussing vital messages in communicating the importance of arts funding.

Entrance way

Entrance way

During the first day we heard from Kelly Bardsdate, the Interim Chief Executive Officer at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Stuart Hickox, Canada Director at The ONE Campaign. Kelly discussed her perspective as a leader working in strategic communication in the arts in the United States. Stuart comes from communications in the area of social change. It was interesting to learn about specific case studies of what organizations do when faced with funding challenges. It allows our organization to look at things in a different way and perhaps change our perspective to try things outside the box. We learned about a great program called the Arts Ripple Effect which used “framing science” to develop a broadly shared public responsibility for arts and culture. What a great idea in drawing from other sectors to strengthen our message!

My spot

To prove I was there.

The second day we learned of practical examples relating to strategically communicating the impact of public funding for the arts. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts and The Canada Council for the arts discussed measures they took to communicate new campaigns. Take a look at the What is my art campaign they launched in Alberta where they asked celebrities to discuss what art is to them… a great way to get the general public interested in the arts! It was really eye-opening to learn about what worked and what did not for our fellow arts councils.

My communications colleagues around the table

My communications colleagues
around the meeting table

My favourite speaker was consultant Inga Petri from Strategic Moves. After her presentation, which discussed what we are doing wrong and right with our websites, I was able to have a one-on-one meeting with her to discuss in details the artsnb website and she gave me concrete examples of things I can do to make our website better. We redesigned our website completely about 3 years ago, and although we are not due for a complete overhaul, it is time to spruce it up a bit. Keep looking out for changes in the near future!

I was very happy and excited to meet my communication and marketing colleagues from throughout Canada. It was great to draw from our varying backgrounds and experience in communications. I learned a lot from my more experienced colleagues and I was able to provide feedback about the challenges we face here in New Brunswick. I came home from the meeting with a head full of great ideas…now it’s time to get to work!