Staying Connected during the Pandemic

As we watch the entire world closing down, we can have no doubt that we are living through a time of extraordinary challenge.  No one is more adversely affected by the necessary social distancing measures than practitioners and learners in the arts and learning sector.  Many professionals find themselves unable to earn a living; long planned for events and programs have been cancelled or postponed – often after significant expenditures have already been committed; learners have seen their connection with the arts abruptly severed. 

The Board of Directors and Staff of the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning (CNAL) are acutely aware of these painful interruptions.  We deeply empathize with your distress and share with you our heartfelt concern. We have faced our own difficult decisions, including the postponement of Eduarts Hubs planned for Windsor, Whitehorse and Regina.  In this evolving context, we intend to make use of the electronic resources at our disposal to take concrete action in support of the sector.

Over the coming days and weeks, CNAL will host a pan-Canadian series of on-line roundtable discussions with arts and learning professionals and learners, supported by a robust social media presence.  In Hubs held across the country, we have heard time and again how isolated many in our community feel in the course of their daily practice. How much more isolated will we all feel considering the current need for social distancing?  Our on-line roundtables will provide an opportunity for you to compare the realities you are facing and to share measures you are taking through digital media and other points of contact to sustain your work. We are also interested in how the arts are being applied to help communities deal with the social and emotional impact of COVID-19.  We hope to learn from you how CNAL, as a network, can further address the current situation.

The schedule for regional roundtable discussions is listed below, in local time:

British Columbia and Yukon: Monday, March 23 at 11am
Alberta and NWT: Tuesday, March 24 at 1pm
Saskatchewan: Wednesday, March 25 at 1pm
Manitoba: Thursday, March 26 at 12pm
Greater Toronto Area: Friday, March 27 at 2pm
Non-GTA Ontario: Monday, March 30 at 2pm
French language discussion: Tuesday, March 31 at 2pm ET
Atlantic provinces: Wednesday, April 1 at 2pm
English Quebec & Nunavut: Thursday, April 2 at 2pm
National (bilingual): Friday, April 3 at 2pm ET

In order to allow for genuine conversations, we will limit registration in each roundtable to 20, with added capability for those who would just like to listen in. 

We have also constructed a page on our website with resources for the arts and learning sector during the pandemic, which will we continue to update as the situation unfolds. You can visit the page here:  We also encourage you to join us on any of the social media platforms listed below to continue the conversation.

We are able to offer this service to the sector thanks to a Digital Strategies grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

With good wishes for your continued health and well-being,

Larry O’Farrell
Chair, CNAL Board of Directors