Cultural Leadership in the Time of COVID-19: Sources and Resources

This work in progress presents specialized cultural leadership resources focused on Canada, within a broader context. Although most resources are recent, a few older, particularly relevant and helpful resources are also included. All resources are free and accessible. Rubenstein & Associates is delighted to present this unique resource for the benefit of the community at this time – Rosalyn Rubenstein, Principal, June 2020 (updated September ’20, January ’21)


Culture in Crisis

In moments of crisis, people need culture, by Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture


Emergency Response

See the Government of Canada’s emergency response measures and for the culture sector at Canadian Heritage (see the new Supplementary Mandate Letter 15 January) and Canada Council for the Arts (note the Annual Public Meeting 26 January)

Business / Arts provides emergency response information for the arts community, with previous updates from The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage; Parliamentary Secretary Julie Dabrusin; and Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts with remarks on leadership by Robert J. Foster (Board Chair, Business / Arts). The conversation with Global Public Affairs provides a recent update of federal government activities, as of 13 January. See too Minister Guilbeault’s Virtual Town Hall with the framework for sector recovery


Crisis and Recovery

Culture’s way out of this crisis, by Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

Lessons Learned from SARS: Experiences from Toronto, Ontario Science Centre, Webinar with Lesley Lewis (former CEO, Ontario Science Centre), Jennifer Martin (former VP Visitor Experience) and Julie Bowen (former AD Development and Design), and Summary in Blog by Elizabeth Merritt, Founder and VP, Center for the Future of Museums, American Alliance of Museums

Digital live arts performances may be here to stay, and that’s not a bad thing, by Anthony Sargent (former CEO Luminato), Opinion in The Globe and Mail (access directly, with a free online account or as eJournal available through public library system) 


Conversations with Leaders – Series

Business / Arts, How are You Adapting? series with Barry Hughson (Executive Director, National Ballet of Canada), Nina Lee Aquino (Artistic Director, Factory Theatre), Philippe U. del Drago (Le Festival International du Film sur l’Art) and other leaders and special webinars on relevant topics at this time, including the Arts Response Tracking Survey (Business / Arts, the National Arts Centre and Nanos Research)

Art Gallery of Ontario, The Role of Museums in this Moment, Conversations with Stephan Jost (Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario) and Guests, leaders of cultural organizations in Canada, the US and UK: recorded webinars of events are archived, including talks with Gaëtane Verna, Nathalie Bondil, Franklin Sirmans, Belinda Tate, Matthew Teitelbaum, Glenn D. Lowry, Josh Basseches, Linda Harrison and Maria Balshaw

Maclean’s Live, Culture, presents conversations, including Paul Wells with Kevin Loring (Inaugural Artistic Director Indigenous Theatre, National Arts Centre), and Desmond Cole on systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement with Robyn Maynard, Esi Edugyan, Ian Williams and Syrus Marcus Ware

Culture Days presents events, including State of the Arts, Impacts of 2020, hosted by CBC’s Ismaila Alfa with John G. Hampton (Executive Director & CEO, Mackenzie Art Gallery), Barry Hughson, Ian Williams and Michèle Pearson Clarke

Aga Khan Museum, Reimagine: Global Conversations, including Henry S. Kim (Director and CEO) and Meredith Preston McGhie (Secretary General Global Centre for Pluralism) on Pluralism in a Changing World

Clore Leadership (UK) series Leading from a Distance kicked-off by Hilary Carty (Clore Leadership Director)

Edinburgh Culture Conversations include How can the creative industries impact on our changing world? with Simon Brault (Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts and Chair of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, IFACCA). See also Simon Brault’s message on international solidarity issued as Chair of IFACCA


Creativity and Reflection, Asking Questions, Making Decisions

Art, After Virus: Seven Questions for a Sector on the Edge, by David Maggs (Innovation Fellow, Metcalf Foundation), The Philanthropist

Questions Dancing through my Mind, with Farooq Chaudhry (Executive Producer at Akram Khan Company and Tate Board Member), Clore Leadership

We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever, by Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller, Harvard Business Review

The Conversation Piece, with Margaret Atwood, Rupi Kaur and others, including Janice Price (President, Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity), The Walrus

How Complexity Theory Can Help Decision-Making in Chaotic Times, by Jennifer Martin (former CEO of TELUS Spark), post, American Alliance of Museums

Creativity is The Answer We’ve Been Looking For – now is the time to embrace and invest in it, by Marisa Henderson and Amy Shelver, UNCTAD [note 2021 is the UN International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development]


Working Together

Museums Together, Heritage Panel with Executive Directors, Vanda Vitali (Canadian Museums Association), Natalie Bull (National Trust of Canada), Elizabeth McCrea (Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada), Marianne Mader (Canadian Association of Science Centres), Jim Facette (Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums), Dolf DeJong (Toronto Zoo), Tracy Calogheros, (The Exploration Place), Virtual Conference session, Canadian Museums Association

Lean into Difference, Hilary Carty (Clore Leadership Director), Clore Leadership and see also Lessons Learned: Innovation, Collaboration and Taking Time


Big Ideas

Reimagining arts funding for a more resilient sector: the role of government at the intersection of creativity, innovation and impact, by Elizabeth MacKinnon (Previous Director, Policy, Planning, Content and Foresight, Canada Council for the Arts), Creativity, Culture & Capital

How can Canada’s performing arts ecosystem change in the face of COVID-19? by Christopher Deacon (President and CEO of the National Arts Centre), Opinion in The Globe and Mail (access directly, with a free online account or as eJournal available through public library system)

When the pandemic subsides, preserving the arts must be a top priority for governments, by Lawrence Herman (Senior fellow C.D. Howe Institute and Board Member The Council for Business and the Arts), Opinion in The Globe and Mail

Canada’s arts sector needs transformative action similar to Works Progress Administration, by Daniel Silver (University of Toronto), Gail Lord (Lord Cultural Resources) and Mark S. Fox (University of Toronto), Opinion in The Globe and Mail

Alchemy of the Reset: Igniting the Potential to Leap Forward, Conversation with Diane Ragsdale (Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, The New School), YBCA

Critical thinking, science culture and Canadians’ superpower, by Tracy Calogheros (President, Canadian Association of Science Centres and CEO, Exploration Place + Science Centre), Opinion in The Province

There’s no innovation agenda without design thinking, by Sara Diamond (President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD University) and Karel Vredenburg (Director, IBM Design), Opinion in The Globe and Mail

How to change arts leadership in Canada, by Rosalyn Rubenstein (Principal, Rubenstein & Associates), Opinion in The Globe and Mail


A Better Future

Artists are getting us through COVID 19. Never question their value again, Amanda Parris, Black Light, CBC Arts

Canadian cultural institutions have silenced Black voices for years. Can we write a new chapter? by Amanda Parris, Black Light, CBC Arts

Racism, Unrest, and the Role of the Museum Field, Video and Transcript of Special Session AAM Virtual Meeting by Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, and Lori Fogarty, American Alliance of Museums

For Museum Leaders Who Want to Do Better, by Andrew Plumley (Director of Inclusion, Museums and Equity) Blog post, American Alliance of Museums

Power Shift: The Longest Revolution, Sally Armstrong, The 2019 CBC Massey Lectures

Respectful Workplaces in the Arts, Training and Resources, Cultural Human Resources Council

The Arts and Climate Change, Simon Brault (Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts), Blog post, Canada Council for the Arts

Museums in Perilous Times, Robert R. Janes (Founder and Co-Chair, Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice) Closing Keynote, Ontario Museum Association Annual Conference 2020

There have always been two Canadas. In this reckoning on racism, both must stand together for Indigenous people now, Tanya Talaga, The Globe and Mail

Towards 2067: Tracing an Indigenous Future in Canada, Jesse Wente (Director, Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office and now Chair of the Board of the Canada Council for the Arts), 2018 Holtby Lecture, Royal Ontario Museum. See also A Story of Joy: Reducing the Harm So We Can Heal his November 2020 talk, part of Vancouver Island University’s annual Indigenous Speakers Series, in partnership with CBC IDEAS


The Broader Context, Canada and the World

The Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations

The World After COVID19, Malcolm Gladwell, Munk Dialogue

Canada can recover from this—and come out stronger, Editorial, Maclean’s and see 2020 Editorial

What Good Leadership Looks Like During This Pandemic, Michaela J. Kerrissey and Amy C. Edmondson, Harvard Business Review

Five lasting implications of COVID-19 for Canada and the World, Kevin Lynch (vice-chair, BMO Financial Group, and former Clerk of the Privy Council) and Paul Deegan (CEO, Deegan Public Strategies and former deputy executive director, National Economic Council, the White House), Opinion in The Globe and Mail



The Art of Board Governance during COVID-19, Business /Arts & The Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation, with Vanessa Morgan (Chair, Soulpepper Theatre), Bruce Wright (Chair, Vancouver Art Gallery Foundation) and Irfhan Rawji (Chair, Glenbow Museum)

Guidance for Arts Boards Confronting a Pandemic, Toronto Arts Foundation: Session 1, Principles for Navigating Through Critical Times with Board Members Robin Cardozo and Helen Burstyn; Session 2, Surviving Extraordinary Times: The Board’s Role in Organizational Resilience, with Paul Nagpal and Owais Lightwala (Chair and Managing Director, Why Not Theatre) and Celia Smith (Co-founder LEAN and Interim [now] CEO Luminato Festival); and Session 3, Fundraising and Funding in the Time of COVID-19, with Brett Egan and Sandy Houston (CEO, Metcalf Foundation)

Are Two Heads Better Than One? by David S.R. Leighton and Peter A. Herrndorf (former Chair Board of Trustees and former CEO at the National Arts Centre) in International Journal of Arts Management Vol. 4, No. 2 (Winter 2002 — and still relevant today on the relationship between the CEO and Board Chair, critical at this time, available through the public library system, access eJournal through JSTOR)