Culture Days is a celebration of over 7,000 events/activities in over 800 cities and towns across Canada September 28-30. In anticipation of the festival, organizers asked prominent Canadians to talk about culture and its meaning. Entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson of Dragons Den fame and CEO of Venture Communications had the following to say:
WHAT DOES THE TERM "CULTURE" MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY, HOW DO YOU DEFINE IT?
For me culture is the innate DNA of a place, person, or thing. It is the essence of our evolution, our past and our present human creative existience.
HOW HAS YOUR DEFINITION OF CULTURE SHAPED, INFLUENCED AND/OR ENHANCED YOUR CAREER/LIFE?
I am working in 46 countries right now -- and since I can choose my projects and I have clients that come to me I find that every project I am doing in every one of these cultures is evenly inspiring. When I go to a place I must immediately work there, produce something as my message or comment or contribution to that place. I get so overwhelmingly inspired and I cannot stop thinking of what I could do in that specific place! I love the world; I love diversity, I love the desirous need by everyone to create, to contribute and to project energy and progress into this world.
At the same time I love the shrinking unification of the world -- because it affords all of us to be inspired by every culture, by everyone, everywhere, and anytime. This is the omnipresent new age in which we live; More choice, more exposure, more information, more exchange, perpetual communication, so that we become an ever-vast inspiring single planet! Hopefully one day we will have one peaceful place, one religion (the religion of respect and love for each other), and a positive creative intellectual future. A nutopia!
HOW WOULD YOU SAY CULTURE HELPS TO SHAPE AND/OR ENHANCE THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES?
We need to contribute to shaping a better, more beautiful, more poetic, more intelligent, more aesthetic, more fulgent exciting world. The built environment needs to be perpetually improved. Design changes our everyday lives, our commodity, and our behaviours. New culture demands new forms, concepts, materials, and styles.
As we shift into the post-industrial age products are becoming more personalized as varied expressions of specific cultures, corporate identities, and tribes. Throughout history, shaping objects has shaped culture. Currently, industrial design has a responsibility to redefine these objects in society as a celebration of value and meaning, not as a celebration of surface but as a responsible beautifucation of our everyday lives. A Designer develops forms that are informed through broader issues of changing cultural, social, and political phenomena.