Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre, OCADU, 2016

Last year, my colleague Gerald McMaster, was named the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture.  The appointment is located at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU) in Toronto.  I was asked to help create a strategic approach for the Research Centre.  Specifically, the intent is to ensure that the Centre’s activities embrace sustainability as a core, cultural foundation block that will help link the arts (both historical and contemporary) to the issues of our day that affect both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Global Reporting Initiative Training Course, 2016

Through my involvement in Leadership for Environment and Development (Canada), I have been a co-facilitator of the Global Reporting Initiative training course.  The course prepares individuals to conduct sustainability reports for businesses – assessing social, environmental and economic dimensions of their operations.

Edmonton City as Museum Project, 2015

Edmonton City Museum StrategySpecial Award: The Alberta Professional Planners Institute, at its October 2016 Annual Meeting, presented WorldViews Consulting and its partner, Calgary-based Intelligent Futures, with an Award of Merit in the Special Study Category.  For more information on this project, have a look at the project overview Edmonton City Museum Strategy.

In a 2012 article, Vancouver City Planner Larry Beasley suggested that museums have the potential to become significant facilitators of change as our society and our culture undergo fundamental changes that will be necessary as humanity adjusts to living on a planet that has bio-physical limitations and sorting out the social standards that will have to be met.  Whereas museums have historically have largely been seen as informal edutainment destinations for citizens to reflect on the achievements and knowledge gained by humans through years gone by, Beasley has suggested that there is an important new potential role to add to these time-honoured traditions.  He sees museums bridging the gap between those who are creating change across our society, and the large public – bringing together the mix of specialists who can help the public to engage, process and reflect back in meaningful ways, a dynamic that is largely neglected, but essential for building cultural cohesion.

The need for this type of work has never been greater, since society is changing faster than ever before – as a result of technological development, but also because of the rapid movement of people around the globe, the expansion of our populations, the growth of our cities and more.  But the population is rarely engaged in these processes. Museums could help to bridge this gap.

Inspired by Beasley’s ideas, as well as many museological initiatives in other parts of the world, the Edmonton Heritage Council (EHC) created the Edmonton City as Museum Project (eCAMP).  Operating eCAMP mostly online so far, The EHC secured a grant to hire consultants to produce an analysis of the potential and to develop a strategy for a larger initiative.  The team hired to do this work was the Calgary-based urban planning firm of Intelligent Futures, in partnership with WorldViews Consulting.  This work was completed in 2015. Currently, the EHC conducting a series of experiments to better understand how best to create effective initiatives in which the museum is woven into the living community and not seen only as a physical destination for leisure-time experiences.  It involves developing new ways of measuring ‘cultural engagement’, ‘success’ and ultimately wellbeing across the community.

Tom Thomson Art Gallery and Owen Sound Museums – Visioning Session

As the Tom Thomson Art Gallery and Billy Bishop Museum proceed through a merger, Douglas Worts provided a visioning session to assist the staffs to come together with a common vision that both feel ownership over.

Staging Sustainability Conference – Keynote Address on ‘Theatres as Agents of Change’

As part of the international conference “Staging Sustainability: People, Planet, Profit, Performance”, Douglas Worts delivered a keynote address on the topic of “Theatres as Agents of Change”, exploring the myriad ways of bringing the creative power of the theatre world to help create a cultural shift towards realizing a ‘culture of sustainability’.  Held in Toronto, February, 2014.

BC Museums Association Conference – Keynote and Workshop on ‘Museums as Agents of Change’

Between October 23 and 25th, 2013, the British Columbia Museums Association’s annual conference was held in Parksville, BC.  The conference theme addressed how museums can become ‘agents of change’ through engaging their communities in meaningful ways.

I delivered a keynote address, facilitated a 1/2 day workshop, and participated in a panel discussion with Dr. Robert Janes and Alexandra Hatcher, on the potential and possible approaches for museums that want to achieve such a vision.

A handout from my keynote address is available by – Worts keynote at BCMA – Handout.

Gooderham and Worts: The Family, The Business, The Community

On June 11, 2013 Douglas Worts delivered a lecture on the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, with a special focus on the entrepreneurs who built the business as they became influential during 19th century Toronto and the communities that were affected. This lecture was part of the Annual General Meeting of the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, located on Trinity Street, in downtown Toronto.

Pyramid Planning Workshop at Montgomery’s Inn, Toronto

In early June, Douglas Worts lead a 2-day planning workshop to help staff at Montgomery’s Inn (a historic site museum in Toronto) consider how it might position itself as a facilitator of community well-being within its complex, urban setting. Staff, volunteers, farmers, local business people and more participated. Charlotte Young, a management consultant and ‘graphic recorder’, captured the process, its goals and strategies in a 4′ x 10′ mural that remains with the museum as it implements its plan.