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Edmonton Poetry Festival's Jannie Edwards reflects on RAMP

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

In June 2016, the Edmonton Poetry Festival's Executive Director, Rayanne Doucet, concluded her Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) with an excellent Action Learning Project (ALP) presentation. Festival board's Vice President, Jannie Edwards attended the presentation and contributed her thoughts.

For years, I taught at Grant MacEwan College, now MacEwan University, and ended my career there as Associate Dean of the Performing, Visual and Communication Arts Division. One of our vital programs in that Division was, and still is, the Arts and Cultural Management program, and my involvement with curriculum redesign and ongoing evaluation of that program gave me the perspective and experience to more fully appreciate the need for arts leadership and professional development.

So bravo to the Rozsa Foundation for your eagle vision in putting resources toward that vision! Too often, we are put into a reactive mode of response in the not for profit arts sector. I recall my friend and colleague, Denise Roy, a longtime arts advocate and visionary, saying that a not atypical day for the ED of a small theatre company might look something like this: "It's opening night, your lead actor has laryngitis, the toilet in the women's washroom is overflowing and somehow a snake got loose in the building."

My takeaways from Rayanne's presentation are this:

* Mary's acronym of BEG -- Believers Encouraging Generosity. It sparked ideas about offering the innovative, electric, vital energy of our Edmonton Poetry Festival to funders -- not going hat in hand, but rather, going in with the attitude that we have an exciting opportunity for funders to get behind youth-focused, diverse programming and projects.

* Researching existing -- and cheaper -- software and database programs to help us keep track of our fundraising progress

* Ongoing Board professional development and strategic recruitment

* Board awareness of the need to integrate of all our programming into our brand

* Continued resourcing of video capture of some of our exciting events for marketing and donor engagement -- too often some of our wonderful, electric events are ephemeral!

Lastly, we are so grateful for the energy and commitment of our ED, Rayanne Doucet!

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