Yesterday, I was part of a panel called Cool Culture in a very cool spot called Palooka’s Boxing Club. Sponsored by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the panel was meant to invoke dialogue about culture in our city. In preparation for the event, panel members were asked to respond to the question, “My multi-generational family is having a reunion in Halifax and I’d like them to all have the coolest cultural experience while they are here. What would a weekend for my family look like?” I knew by the question that my idea of culture was much broader than what is commonly referred to as “culture,” so wrote the response out to get the conversation rolling. (Cool Culture) I was the only panel member to do so. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, but I wanted to be sure to include in my response the various factors I think we should be thinking about when we embrace or plan for community life: Environmental, Economical, Social and Cultural. Each of these pillars or prongs need to be considered alongside one another and not in individual silos. This is not something I’ve come up with on my own, but rather a take on culture that is many years in the making and through the hard work of a lot of people. Most of those individuals are part of the Creative City Network of Canada (which I note Halifax is not), and have in some way or another have been involved with the Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities.
While there were some interesting points brought up about this city, I was largely disappointed in the lack of “dialogue”. Members of the audience had valid points, which they stated, but there was very little discussion between the audience and panel members. I know a lot cannot be considered in one hour, so I hope that somehow we as a community can move forward. We do need to talk, and then we need to move. The potential of this place is grand.