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  • Kim Senklip Harvey

Deep Impact

That's a wrap on the last module for the inaugural 2017/2018 Banff Centre Cultural Leadership program. After 4 modules, spending a cumulative 1 month together with a cohort of 20 National and International leaders I am proud to say that I'm now an alumni.

Now, where are the keys to the world?


The biggest lesson I've learned is really understanding how little I actually know. What this program helped build is my capacity to elicit, create and sustain environments, teams and systems to get us to clearer questions to tackle the challenge together.

That was another really big lesson I learned, especially in this last module: we need one another at our best to tackle the big challenges of the world. We are at a tipping point and even the smartest brains in the world can't predict what's going to happen and you've got to decide what side of history you want to be on.

Our world, humanity as we know it is experiencing a surge of epic proportions, now these have happened before but none of them have occurred at the rate of acceleration like this current one. You can read this article about The Law of Accelerating Change

and or watch this video to get a sense just how fast our world is changing.

Climate change is here and our artists like Eve Mosher is showing just how real our future is coming with her powerful art activism.

We are on the brink of the 4th industrial revolution and this article which speaks about it saying, "the inexorable integration of technology in our lives could diminish some of our quintessential human capacities, such as compassion and cooperation. Our relationship with our smartphones is a case in point. Constant connection may deprive us of one of life’s most important assets: the time to pause, reflect, and engage in meaningful conversation."

Some studies are saying that a loneliness crisis is looming.

"The biggest issue people had is that they felt lonely, isolated, and unconnected to their communities," says Kevin McCort, president of the community-outreach charity. Last year, the foundation conducted a survey of almost 4,000 Vancouverites and found that one-third of those between 25 and 34 felt "alone more than they would like." Another one-third said they have trouble making friends. Forty per cent of high-rise dwellers felt lonely, almost twice the number (22 per cent) living in detached homes. Crucially, the study found that the loneliest also reported being in poorer health and lacking trust in others."

We are on a surge and I'm determined to positively impact the outcome. That's what the Cultural Leadership course clarified for me and it's given me the confidence and capacity to do it.

On our last module we were asked to write an article about our future, to imagine what we wanted to accomplish and to write it through the eyes of a journalist. I was intimidated by the task but I leaned in and this is what I wrote. In short, it's about the creation of a collective with a mission to "move society out of fear and embrace vulnerability to be courageous."

It also mentions an impact based artistic metric system that I'm working on which I've been speaking about at the Community of Practices. In short, it removes the reference point of "right or wrong" and "good or bad" but rather gives the power back to the community and agency to the individual to say this is how the work impacted me. It interests me because it takes away a large variable of competing and diverse moral positionalities. For example, I think sometimes we lose a lot of time and energy arguing ethics such as racism and those words distance us from the reality of the impact like "your actions are hurting me." I think it elicits and demands accountability which I'm really craving in the current climate of our artistic sector.

With regards to the collective or maybe the courage initiative, it is my firm belief that if we can create a network of people that embrace and celebrate vulnerability we will elicit the practice of courageous acts instead of having a society that is driven primarily by fear. I believe our collective fear is distancing us and constantly positioning ourselves to hurt one another, our environment and ourselves and I don't want to participate in that kind of society anymore because that society is on a trajectory that terrifies me.

I believe that our artists and scientists have become some of our bravest philosophers and their work and question asking will unearth, create and steward us into a new world, one focused on creating strong environments of belonging. A new world with a strong evolved culture for everyone, an embedded culture that roots us so we don't feel like unearthed tress anymore.

I'm going to spend the last part of my "year of creative thinking" focused on doing some deep work to continue to be humbled by the task and I'm really excited about what's to come. I think humanities finest hour is rapidly approaching and I'm going to swim through the fear and meet our truth because the break is coming and crashing isn't cute.

with love,


P.S - I'd also like to extend a limelet to BMO for sponsoring the Banff Cultural Leadership program for an additional 5 years, NTS for facilitating the Artistic Leadership residents Mel and myself to attend, to the Faculty for investing in us and to the cohort for bringing the tough questions and tackling them with humility, rigour and generosity. The second year of the program is accepting applications and I highly recommend you apply and you can find more information here.

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