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Jens Lindemann: Finding Lougheed’s voice in music

Jens Lindemann doesn’t suffer from nerves. The established trumpet player has performed in every major concert venue in the world from the Philharmonics of New York, Los Angeles, London, and Berlin to Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and even on the Great Wall of China.

Jens Lindeman

Jens Lindemann performing ‘Legacy’ at the launch of the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative.

But debuting the musical tribute he composed to his old family friend Peter Lougheed, at the launch of the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative at the University of Alberta last month, Lindemann had butterflies in his stomach.

“I can’t remember the last time I got nervous, it just doesn’t happen anymore, but when I started playing the piece and heard (excerpts of) Peter’s voice, I got these chills of pure nervousness.”

Lindemann, who’s said that the trumpet is capable of being played “with the virtuosity of a violin, the tenderness of the human voice and the stylistic flexibility of the piano”, composed the signature piece, Legacy, in just six weeks. Being a close family friend of the Lougheeds, Lindemann was inspired by alpine scenery and his personal knowledge of Lougheed’s interests.

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Lougheed’s legacy continues with Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative

 “…for seeking leadership…the ordinary won’t cut it. You have to strive for the extraordinary.”  -The Honourable Peter Lougheed (1928-2012)

Peter Lougheed, along with his wife Jeanne, was a longtime friend of The Banff Centre. He was a believer in the importance of the arts in creating visionary leaders for the future, and by tapping into his own legendary leadership skills, he and his wife were able to turn that belief into a tangible reality here at the Centre.

This is why it is such a perfect match for The Banff Centre to be collaborating with the University of Alberta, where Lougheed has an equally grand legacy, to launch the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative this fall. Continue Reading →

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Jennie Winhall: drawing on a blank slate

Jennie Winhall co-facilitating Leading by Design. Photo: Rita Taylor.

Jennie Winhall co-facilitating Leading by Design. Photo: Rita Taylor.

Sometimes, you just need a blank slate. This is the world designer Jennie Winhall works in as design and innovation director with UK-based social innovation firm Participle. She was in Banff recently to attend a Leadership Development program and co-facilitate the Leading by Design prototype. She applies the concept of design thinking to reframe large-scale problems, stepping back to do what’s referred to in the design community as upstream design thinking. “Nobody knows what the real problem is,” she says. “That’s where design thinking comes in, as opposed to design practice.”

On the surface, design thinking is a straightforward process: reframe the problem, generate ideas, find the biggest impact opportunity, and then explore different ways to address that opportunity. But she adds, “the toughest thing for people to do is to let go of where they are right now and join us in thinking very differently. It can be very uncomfortable for a while until things become clearer.” As a designer, she says, “you try to have no assumptions about what’s possible and what’s not possible.” Continue Reading →

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“Creating the space for possibility”

Picture a mobile application for people with severe food allergies – one that would connect them instantly with retailers and restaurants that could accommodate them. That’s the concept behind Mood2Food, which took second place in a recent Startup Calgary weekend where more than 70 entrepreneurs worked over 54 hours to refine a pitch to local venture capitalists. The prize for the team behind Mood2Food was a weekend Creative Entrepreneurship retreat at The Banff Centre to refine the idea and explore opportunities.


Members of the Creative Entrepreneurship workshop team generating ideas in the field.

Part of the challenge was to connect creativity with leadership and the idea of a technology startup, working with local Banff artist Jane Newman, and Banff Centre ceramics facilitator Ed Bamiling. The weekend focus was to experience arts practices that disrupt thinking, to gain fresh perspectives and new applications. Ultimately, the retreat helped the team to slow down, and understand the challenges from various angles. “Creating the space for possibility to emerge is one of the most important actions in any creative venture, and one of the most difficult,” said lead faculty Ian Prinsloo.

One of the team members was Patrick Leslie, Director of Technology and Innovation at Integrated Sustainability Consultants Ltd. “I think entrepreneurship is taught very differently than art is,” he said. “But some powerful concepts that we went through connect really well. I think exploring the human condition would be a great tool for entrepreneurs.”

Leslie was also interested in the retreat’s exercises in acting, and applying those lessons to creative thinking. “It’s a profession that’s very familiar in one sense but also totally foreign.” He added that learning something about acting made him open up his own approach to problem-solving, bringing in more abstract thinking and open interpretation.

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Eight things I learned about art + science collaboration while eating a sandwich

Banff  Centre president Jeff Melanson (left) and CIFAR president and CEO Alan Bernstein take part in a panel discussion following an announcement of a partnership between the two organizations. Photo: Kim Williams, The Banff Centre

Banff Centre president Jeff Melanson (left) and CIFAR president and CEO Alan Bernstein take part in a panel discussion following an announcement of a partnership between the two organizations. Photo: Kim Williams, The Banff Centre

Yesterday the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and The Banff Centre announced a new partnership aimed at strengthening Canada’s capacity in creativity and innovation.

In his opening remarks Banff Centre president Jeff Melanson, tongue planted firmly in cheek, suggested that he and CIFAR CEO Alan Bernstein were announcing their engagement. But behind the smiles lay the essence of this partnership – which is aimed at establishing productive relationships between scientists and artists. CIFAR and The Banff Centre together represent many of the world’s best minds engaged in the arts, and in research in the natural and social sciences. The aim is to get those minds talking – together in Banff, adding to the rich conversation already established through the Banff International Research Station (BIRS).

The partnership was kicked off with a luncheon and panel discussion about colloboration in the arts and science. Herein, eight things I learned while munching my egg salad sandwich:

  1. Quantum physicists can be awesome dancers – and they can even use dance to illustrate the principles behind quantum computers: meet our panel moderator Krister Shalm and his Quantum Dance project. Krister has promised to bring his dance to Banff in the future!
  2. From Alan Bernstein: Nobel Laureates in the sciences are 14 times more likely to be artists and ten times more likely to be engaged in creative writing than other scientists. Continue Reading →
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Film shares Indigenous communities’ wise practices and success stories

In the midst of Idle No More, Canada’s news machine and opinion pages have been filled with images, dialogue, debate, and, in my opinion, some frighteningly stereotypical characterizations of this land’s Indigenous peoples.

This video produced at The Banff Centre offers a refreshing perspective on contemporary Indigenous communities that have achieved success with economic and community development projects. It tells the positive stories of the persistence and hard work that have led to four very successful Alberta enterprises – Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, Alberta Indian Investment Corporation, Metis Crossing, and Mikisew Group of Companies.

This 45-minute documentary video was produced by our Film & Media department. It was created during a two-and-a-half-year research project investigating wise practices in Indigenous communities in Alberta, led by Indigenous Leadership and Management at The Banff Centre and supported by Rural Alberta’s Development Fund and the Nexen Chair in Indigenous Leadership.

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