Thinking Art

What happens when you bring artists and non-artists together? Art can transform individuals, build more resilient organizations and communities, and make us rethink leadership and group dynamics. Thinking Art participants learn by doing, specifically by making art collaboratively with the inspiration of leading artists. Our workshops thus far have been wildly successful. We have workshopped in various art forms including clowning, dance, music, poetry and theatre. IPLAI carried out a series of successes at venues such as C2-MTL and the International Leadership Association. In 2015 IPLAI featured three Thinking Art workshops at our Future Humanities Conference on Clowning, Dance and Hip-Hop.

Previous Thinking Art Events

Earth Art

June 2014 / A Collaborative Public Event hosted by IPLAI, Evergreen at Toronto’s Brickworks, and the Early Modern Conversions Project

Participants in the Earth Art workshop will imagine themselves marooned in a future dystopia, a place bereft of plants and animals, where human beings have become wired into a vast mainframe and where their very bodies have become robotized. Indeed, there is nature all around them and nature still inside them, but they can no longer see, hear, smell, or feel it.

Their task will be to make works of art capable of converting humankind—and themselves—back into kinship with nature. They will work in groups, each group guided by an artist-leader and each focusing on a particular art form. They will create art in the reclaimed industrial spaces of Evergreen Brick Works, then gather to perform and present what they have made in a world that will now open to them the newborn density, herbage, juice, and volume of the Lower Don Valley Ravines.


Shakespeare’s Island

April 2014 / A collaboration of the Stratford Festival and IPLAI

In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday and the launch of the 2014 Stratford Festival, community, government, business, education, and cultural leaders were invited to come together on the morning of April 23 to take part in a special edition of the Thinking Art series on the Ryerson University campus.

Participants in Shakespeare’s Island experienced how artistic practice can promote teambuilding and leadership. They accessed the untapped muses within, travelled into the world of the imagination, and discovered the power of art to foster their courage, confidence, and sense of adventure.

We are grateful to Ryerson University for graciously providing the venue for this edition of Thinking Art.


The Enchanted Island (at C2-MTL 2013 and ILA 2013)

May + October 2013 / For C2-MTL and delegates at the 15th Annual Conference of the International Leadership Association

Participants in The Enchanted Island imagined themselves shipwrecked on an island with no hope of rescue and no hope of returning to the world they have known. The castaways found themselves in imminent danger of succumbing to fear and to a looming sense of despair. Fortunately, there were seven magic spirits on the island. The spirits were in actuality seven outstanding artists, who each led a group of participants, creating works of art—plays, stories, dances, works of visual art and pieces of music to shape new life on the island.

Thinking Art Pilot Workshop

September 2012 / A day-long workshop hosted by Art and Ideas in Motion (AIM), a research team within IPLAI.

By fashioning a research-creation methodology, AIM seeks to enable substantial dialogue between humanities and the arts around questions about creativity and public life. This is a matter not only of what scholarship and artistic work have to teach each other, but also an affirmation of their essential kinship—that arts and humanities are products of both intellect and imagination and that both possess the potential to draw people into new ways of being and acting together.

With the support of the Dean of Arts Development Fund.