Canadian Network for Arts and Learning Founders' Conference



Kingston, ON, September 27, 2013 - On October 24-25, 2013, TheCanadian Network for Arts & Learning (CNAL) will welcome members from across Canada for its  Founders’ Conference, taking place at Queen’s University, Kingston, hosted by the Faculty of Education and the UNESCO Chair in Arts & Learning.

The Founders’ Conference will gather educators, artists, arts organizations, funders, researchers and academics to share research, and discoverinspiring new ways the benefits of arts-based learning are being applied across many areas of society.   “For several years, Canadian professionals in all sectors of arts and learning, representing all disciplines, have been calling for the creation of a national organization with the capacity to provide leadership in policy development and to speak on behalf of the field in all parts of the country.  CNAL is now poised to fulfil this role and the results of its remarkable growth will be on display at the Founders’ Conference in October,” stated Larry O’Farrell, CNAL Board Chair, Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University and holder of the UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning.

The Conference will mark the unveiling of a much-anticipated research project, generously supported by $85,000 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in 2012, on the need for more arts-based learning across many sectors. "Through the current CNAL/RCAA research, we are hearing from artists, arts organizations, and arts-in-learning funders, from all provinces and Territories, that there is far more demand for arts-based learning than they can accommodate at the present time," said Dr. Ann Patteson, Lead Researcher from Patteson Arts and Education Consulting. "There is a strong need for CNAL/RCAA to act as a unifying force for the arts-in-learning community in Canada, responding to and advocating for its needs for all sectors of society, including those groups that are typically marginalized."  

The Conference will also welcome a number of high-profile speakers. Jeff Melanson, President of the Banff Centre, and visionary arts innovator will provide the keynote. Panelists include Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival; Roberta Smith, COO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Francine Chaîné, Professor at l’Ecole des arts visuels, Laval University, and author and arts policy consultant Max Wyman O.C

The Soulpepper Theatre Company, much acclaimed for their transformational arts education and youth outreach initiatives, will be honoured at a Gala Tribute dinner.  Nancy Palk, Soulpepper Founding Member and Associate Artist, will be present to accept the award.

With an array of live performances by local artists and students, the CNAL Founders’ Conference will celebrate Canadian creativity and innovation, and showcase Kingston’s rich arts and culture community.

To learn more about CNAL, CNAL membership and the Founders’ Conference, please visit