Systems Change, Rural Arts and Festivals
Carla Stephenson is the project lead for the Rural Arts Inclusion Lab (R.A.I.L), a three-year social innovation systems change project, funded by the Vancouver Foundation. Carla has been working in small rural communities for over two decades, she is the co-founder of the Tiny Lights Festival and the Executive Director of Renascence Arts and Sustainability Society.
The Tiny Lights Festival in Ymir BC (population 245) has provided a platform to showcase emerging talent and also social and systems change initiatives. It has won recognition nationally for LGBTQ2S+ inclusion work, has been an industry leader in zero-waste festival innovation and has shaken up traditional festival funding models.
There are exciting innovations coming from rural arts projects that have had significant influence on larger systems.
Carla’s true passion and focus of her recent work is systems change. We are living in complex systems that are always in a state of friction. There is inequality in the colonial systems in which we operate, with R.A.I.L she is excited to see how the creativity of the Arts sector can be leveraged to bring about larger social and cultural change.