Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nanaimo Cultural Plan

Community Visioning Forum

Nanaimo Parks, Rec and Culture held the first public forum in an attempt to forge a clear vision for culture in Nanaimo. There were approximately 80 people in attendance, about half of which I remember from the Strategic Planning meetings held earlier this year.

The Problem?

Ask 10 people what culture means to them, and you will get 10 different answers.There were 8 people at my table, and in a few moments we came up with at least 20 ideas of what culture means. How you can expect meaningful input when you can't define the subject is a mystery.

After participating in the exercise for nearly 30 minutes, during which time I could barely hear the person beside me because of the general din in the room as 80 people added their ideas of what culture means, I finally left as I could see nothing of any real value coming from the process.

Another Plan For The Shelf?

Being the cynic that I am, I suspect this process will result in another strategic plan which is crafted based on the input of a few hundred people, it will be used by staff to support their already conceived idea of where we should be heading as the cultural capital of Vancouver Island.

It will be used as the supporting document to justify directing tax dollars to a variety of different projects which may or may not have the desired purpose in the end.

If chaotic and without direction is a form of culture, I would say that is the best definition of the current state of 'culture' in Nanaimo that I have heard to date and I am not applying that definition specifically to those in the arts and culture community, but the city as a whole.

Parks, Recreation and Culture?

At what point in our history did the Parks and Rec department (who do an incredible job when it comes to our parks and recreation facilities) become the keepers of what is defined as culture? I suspect that those who see themselves as the cultural gatekeepers would recoil in horror if you suggested that hockey, football, lacrosse and soccer are also what makes up the fabric of culture in Nanaimo.

As much as I am loathe to suggest yet another layer of governance in Nanaimo I think that the people who align themselves with what could be classed as Arts and Culture in the city should be at the helm when it comes to fashioning a true cultural plan to guide the city forward. Those qualified to run our parks and recreation facilities are not necessarily those best suited for the task.

Perhaps if such enterprises as the Port Theatre, Art Gallery, Museum etc. etc. aren't getting all the support they need it might indicate Nanaimo's culture just isn't of the Arts kind. It would seem our hockey and our football 'culture' are doing quite fine all on their own, thank you very much.


1 comment:

  1. If this three ring circus is any example of the way this cultural plan is to be organized..... God help us!
    I've seen more order and direction in kid's kindergarten classes......poor sound system, poor moderation, poor facilitation..... just plain poor all around.... a huge waste of time and a few tax dollars i'm sure.


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