SFU experts join Surrey’s Creative Economy event

The goal is to expand the community’s 'human, cultural and natural resources' to create a more competitive economy.

A pair of Simon Fraser University professors will be among panelists addressing the topic of what arts and culture can do for the economy – and what business can do for arts and culture – at the City of Surrey’s Creative Economy event on Tuesday, June 11.

The event, which runs from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Surrey Arts Centre (13750 88th Avenue), and others to follow, is part of a city and Surrey Board of Trade initiative to support growth and innovation in the community’s arts and culture industry.

The goal is to expand the community’s “human, cultural and natural resources” to create a more competitive economy and enhance the community’s livability.

The panel of experts will feature Rowland Lorimer, director of publishing programs at SFU’s Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, and Catherine Murray a professor in the School of Communication, who’ll both speak on creative city strategies and innovations.

Lorimer emphasizes that cultural support should be seen as an investment in the infrastructure of a creative economy, which he says “has the potential to create wealth and employment without any substantial environmental degradation.”

Murray points out that as one of the fastest growing cities in North America, Surrey offers special challenges to creative economy strategists because of its location next door to Vancouver, which has one of the highest per capita incidences of artists and has emerged as a major player in the digital video scene.

“How can Surrey challenge Vancouver’s head start? What assets does it have and where can it direct its future creative energies? Thirty years of history of such culture-led development in global to regional cities like London, Austin or Singapore suggest a need to balance policy-led development and organic growth,” Murray says.

Panelist Alan Davis, president of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, will offer an academic perspective on arts, culture and business, while Jordan Strom, Surrey Art Gallery curator, will talk about the revitalizing force of arts and culture.

Howard Jang, the executive director of Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre, will give a keynote address on the importance and impact of arts and culture on the economy. There will also be opportunities for questions and community input.

Among displays featured at the event will be an interactive dress that envelopes the wearer in response to heart rate change called enVella, created by students in SFU Surrey’s School for Interactive Arts and Technology.

The event is free and open to the public. Register online at www.businessinsurrey.com or call 604-581-7130.


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