Filed under: Alberta, Arts, Calgary, Marketing, Politics, Technology
As 2009 comes to a close I wanted to take a look back. It was a good year for me personally and I think this blog shows some of the highlights that come to my mind when I reminisce about the last year of the decade. I could simply select my favourite posts, but I decided why not not just let the readers “select” by highlighting the most popular posts on this blog for 2009.
So without further ado, the most popular djkelly.ca Blog posts of 2009:
14. What kind of bridge will $25 million get us?
May 22, 2009
This was my first blog post about the soon to be built Calatrava bridge. I decdided I would take a look at the design limitations given to Calatrava and try to predict what the bridge might look like. While, I was right about it not being white with soaring cables, I wasn’t even close to the guessing the Chinese finger trap design, which is much more ornate than I was expecting.
13. Conversing with Alberta politicians on Twitter
June 4, 2009
A useful post that should probably be updated given how many more Alberta politicians have joined since June!
12. New Ward Boundaries Demystified
February 21, 2009
A simple post created by laying the old ward boundary map with the new map that was being proposed by the chief electoral officer. (Showing off my Photoshop skills.) It turned out to be a post that proved it was sorely needed.
11. Loving or hating Calgary’s new bridge is not as easy as it sounds
July 29, 2009
This is probably one of my favourite posts of the year, as I went through what I observed to be each of the areas of complaint about the proposed Calatrava bridge and outlined which were fair game and which were not. It was my attempt at adding clarity to an issue extremely misunderstood by Calgarians. While it landed at number 11 on the most popular posts, I don’t think I was overly successful because people still complain about the price with little understanding of “why”. If you’re one of those folks, it might be worth a re-read.
The last blog post on the old blog template! It holds a special place for me for that reason, but most people probably just appreciated it for what it talked about – as outlined in the post title. This is the most proud I was of our council this year. They painted themselves into a terrible corner, but admitted their mistake and righted their wrong. I wish they would have done this more times during 2009.
9. Vanessa Porteous, ATP Artistic Director Designate
January 14, 2009
I am shocked an arts related post ranked so high on this list! (And it’s not even the highest one!) Is it because of the lack of local entertainment reporting resources? I think it might be, because non-Hollywood entertainment news tends to take a couple days to make it into the papers. Maybe I should take up Metro Calgary on their offer to blog about Calgary arts for them… It could prove to be a very successful blog that maybe long overdue.
8. Doug Elniski: how to do it right
June 24, 2009
This post – along with number 5, which I wrote a day earlier – simply outlined where things went wrong in MLA Doug Elniski’s mini-Twitter scandal. This particular post provided follow-up and greater context to comments I made in several media interviews on the subject. (You can say SO much more on a blog than in a media interview!)
7. University of Calgary cutting 200 jobs
July 14, 2009
Out of all the posts in this list I think this is the closet to “regretting” one as I come. Unlike all the other posts (save the honourable mention) this post was “breaking” news instead of my usual commentary on the news. I didn’t mean for it to be however! Here’s what happened: the UofC sent an email to all staff saying they were cutting 200 jobs. I heard about this and asked the individual if it was okay I mentioned it on Twitter. They said yes, because it was sent to all staff and thus obviously public info now. The problem was, UofC never sent a press release. So when I posted it on Twitter I was inundated with media requests for more information. The result was I had another source send me the text of the email and I posted it on this blog. That night the television and radio news lead with the story and it was front page news in the papers the next morning. I’m not sure if the lesson here is about the power of Twitter, or to always keep your communications department in the loop when making major announcements. Maybe both.
6. Progress and respect
November 30, 2009
In the aftermath of the first Reboot Alberta conference I summarize my thoughts on the participants themselves.
5. Doug Elniski: now just another walled off politician?
June 23, 2009
(See number 8 first.) This is the blog post that started it all. I’m not sure why no one else was talking about Doug Elniski’s comments in context of his use of social media. It still baffles me that people think social media is some sort of special entity instead of what it actually is: just another way to talk to people. It’s nothing special, but is highly effective. This post was also was popular enough to result in me being invited to talk about his comments on CBC Calgary’s The Calgary Eyeopener, CBC Edmonton’s Edmonton AM and for a feature article in the National Post.
4. The #AskEd Accountablity Window ends tomorrow
December 3, 2009
Just like number 5 this was me talking about Alberta politicians and their failures with social media tools – although this time Mastermaq got the press coverage a week later
3. How to fix Ed’s communications problems
December 14, 2009
After number 4 I felt like I had to address the Premier’s communications problems appropriately. It’s bizarre how he’s lost the media and the public so thoroughly by a simple failure to communicate. He’s our premier and I want to see him, and thus us, succeed. This is my attempt to throw the premier a bone. We’ll see if he and his team take my advice or if they continue to fumble their way through 2010.
2. Look out Alberta, you’re about to get “rebooted”: First Impressions
November 28, 2009
I honestly think the Reboot Alberta movement – along with the Wildrose Alliance’s rise – is the single most important thing to happen in Alberta politics since the creation of the Progressive Conservative party. This post outlines my initial thoughts after the first day of the conference. The fact so many people read it gives me hope that Reboot Alberta is on the right track in their discussions. You can expect more thoughts from me on this movement in the very near future.
Yes, an arts story made it to number one on the list! And for such a short blog post?! The people spoke.
Honourable Mention: “Open Government” coming to Calgary?
July 21, 2009
Usually you expect to see an honourable mention at the bottom of the list, but I think this one deserves to be at the top of the list. July 21 had more people visit my website that any other day in it’s history. By a LONG SHOT – almost twice as many as any other day. There was only one post written around that period of time, and it was written on that very day. I think what happened was the main URL of this site was circulated and shared rather than the actual URL of this paticular post. Therefore I don’t have accurate numbers on exactly how many people visited this particular story, but the numbers are just so overwhelming I had to include it.
I wrote this post during the morning hours in a business centre of a hotel in Portland, Oregon. I had been given permission from Ald. Pincott and Ald. Ceci to announce the open data notice of motion the day before it became public when the council agenda was released. People from all over North American immediately sat up and took notice and did so by reading this post. Amazing. Look for a lot more on outcome of this notice of motion in early 2010.
Also available on the Calgary Herald’s Q.
What a crazy week it has been in Calgary’s arts community. Upheaval galore!
First Jeffrey Spalding unceremoniously left the Glenbow and was quickly – and permanently – replaced by former Vice-President, Access, Collections and Exhibits, Kirstin Evenden as President and CEO after only 13 months. Then came the news that Martin Fishman artistic director of Lunchbox Theatre and their board were “parting ways” after Martin being AD for less than a year. He is being replaced on an interim basis by former Lunchbox artistic director Rona Waddington.
Then yesterday comes the news that Colin Jackson, a stalwart as CEO of the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts, would be entering “retirement” (as the press release called it) with no replacement being named yet. Colin puts a good face on things, but much like the previous two departures I list, there is no doubt dirt to be dished. In this case I hear “retirement” is a synonym for – in the words of Jeffrey Spalding – “not a planned departure”.
What is going on in Calgary’s arts community? In a time when “showing stability” is about to become the buzz phrase around most board of directors tables, there sure isn’t a whole lot of stability being shown.
Is it time to panic? Are things really as bad as these departures make things look?
Perhaps not. Love these three or hate ‘em I do hear there were legitimate reasons leading to the departures – most involving finances of the organization. Obviously I don’t know what discussions have been had around those board meetings or what level of involvement the departed had in their inevitable re-employment. Regardless, right decisions or wrong, I can say with absolutely assurance this doesn’t look good on the industry as a whole.
Some good news is desperately needed. Another Bob White/Vanessa Porteous/ATP story sure would be good right about now.
Also available on the Calgary Herald’s Q.
The recent “resignation” of Jeffrey Spalding from the Glenbow Museum has created a new call for a gallery of contemporary art. The Herald is all over it. And I’ve had several of my colleagues bring up the thought as well since Spalding’s departure.
The Herald article is the one I find the most interesting however. The first thing I see is they talk to the IMCA pushers (the group that tried their damnedest to secure the old AGT building on 6 Ave SW for the gallery a couple years back) and they mention the $165 million the City of Calgary has available currently as a possible starting point. Yes, that is a good fund to draw from, but you didn’t make it to the short list last year – assuming you put in an application. The money won’t help you if you don’t ask for it. But first you need to get organized better. This is the one over riding thing I’ve heard from people: the group is a high profile group but not well situated to lead the creation of a new gallery. Trust me: after being part of building two new cultural space in the city you need to have a good solid group of people who know what they are doing and are connected in the right ways to get it off the ground.
Which leads me to the second thing I noticed in the article: the IMCA pushers think Spalding may be the man to lead there charge. This is a very good idea – but have you talked to him? I’m not sure this is the best time for him personally. The article says he is has not made any comments since his “resignation”. True, but I’ve had a conversation with him, albeit a shortened one over email. Let’s just say my thoughts are not baseless. (And those quotation marks aren’t for gramatically incorrect emphasis.) I emp
The long and the short of it is – the opportunity for a contemporary art gallery is upon us. But someone is going to have to get a supportive organization organized in the very near future it make it happen. Spalding is just one man – as evidenced by recent events. Someone else will have to step up to lead the organization.
The Glenbow will not and cannot be that gallery. I’ve said it several times over the last few days – they don’t have the space or the brand to make it happen. Don’t even try. We’ll have to wait and see if someone else can make the seemingly impossible happen.
As I’ve been posting for a bit on Twitter and Facebook, Jeffrey Spalding, the CEO of the Glenbow Museum has stepped down this afternoon. Rather unexpected to be blunt. The story is being reported by the Herald and CBC now too.
Here’s the official word from the man himself:
A note to colleagues and friends:
This afternoon, Glenbow and I parted company. Enclosed you will find a media release issued by Lachlan Currie, chair of the board. It has been my privilege and honour to work with fine staff, generous colleagues as well as wonderful supportive partners, sponsors and donors. Together much of great note has been accomplished. THANKS!
My personal email is: [deleted for privacy reasons]
Jeffrey Spalding C.M.
President, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
This certainly is sad news for the Calgary cultural community. From the outside perspective Jeffrey’s work at the Glenbow has been commendable. Not since Lance Carlson moved to town to take over the Alberta College of Art and Design has one individual or organization shook up the cultural and business communities so thoroughly.
I’m throughly disappointed. I think I’ll go to Ramsay tonight and visit the Device to Root out Evil and mourn.
I certainly hope that he is moving on for reasons that are personsally positive. I wish him all the best assuming they are. (And I can’t wait to find out the reasons behind such a seemingly quick move.)