Systems Change

General Content

What is Systems Change?

  • Systems thinking takes a step back and looks at the bigger picture.
  • Systems change projects tackle the root causes of issues by disrupting the ways that systems work
  • Sometimes this means challenging the way things have worked for generations.
Knowledge Sharing Themes link to Systems Change

Theme 1: New Voices

New Voices can come from within our sector or out (think tech, tourism or entrepreneurship, or…); from those who are new to the field of practice, or colleagues who may feel they are not being sufficiently heard or recognized in professional development learning environments including: Communities of colour; Newcomers to Canada; Indigenous Peoples, and LGBTQ+ colleagues. Our goal is to create a safe for your peers in arts and culture to listen and learn from you.

Theme 2: Fresh Thinking

Fresh Thinking shows how new approaches and innovative practices are solving old issues and challenges in your organization or community. Getting to the root cause of a problem by considering other angles, showing openness to ideas, engaging with community and taking a wider view are keys to success in designing creative solutions. Systems thinking takes a step back and looks at the bigger picture.

What are the 4 barriers to change in our sector?

Have vs. Have Not Thinking

This barrier reflects impoverished and scarcity-based thinking of many arts organizations who have difficulty cycling out of their current capacity due to, in some cases, an organization culture that may not value skills and professional development or openness to new ideas and practices, and cites lack of resources as their main issue (while many other organizations have cycled out of their limited capacity towards abundance). Our goal is to create a safe for your peers in arts and culture to listen and learn from you.

Need to decolonize and diversify

Often cited by arts groups is a lack of experience/capacity in engaging with Indigenous and Culturally Diverse communities: “We don’t know how to engage/work with Indigenous artists, organizations, and/or Newcomers” or “It’s hard to engage with Indigenous artists.” Underlying barriers include uncertainty, working from an inherited colonial bias, low threshold for risk, discomfort, etc…

Burn out in the arts

There is fundamentally a lack of work/life balance for many arts workers of sacrificing their health/personal life/financial position for the work they do for their organizations and communities. The systemic issue being not fundamentally valuing the time and capacity of arts workers and volunteers, and the need for professionalizing arts administration in B.C.

Need for local cultural leadership

This is a barrier sits often within local and regional governments that the arts are a ‘nice to have’ or ‘frill’ and that arts and artistic activity are not central to the health and success of community life in cities and towns in B.C. The barrier being lack of awareness of the social and economic impact of the arts and artistic activity. It also roots down to an individual, philanthropic level where there is a need for increased understanding of donor development. Lack of arts education and knowledge around philanthropy can be factors.


  • Arts BC AGM 2021 - ARTS BC AGM 2021 AGM Date: Thursday, June 24, 2021 Time: 12:00 p.m. Location: Zoom Video Conferencing Eligible Voters: Associate, Individual and Full Members