Arts Careers: Impact on the Front Lines

The Faculty of Arts’ Alumni Week(end): Campus To Couch Edition

Donna McKinnon - 17 September 2020

The challenges – and opportunities – of the 21st century are immense. Compounded by the transformational change wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for the type of innovative thinking, ethical reflection, collaborative instinct and creative problem-solving Arts graduates typically bring to the workplace has never been more urgent.

Crisis response work, non-profit, public service, advocacy, and community outreach sectors require workers to be critical thinkers, and above all, to be curious about the world and how it works, says Brett Lambert (‘08 BA), Community Engagement Coordinator at the Edmonton Social Planning Council.

“The core of an Arts degree builds a solid foundation in these areas,” says Lambert. “It makes you flexible and nimble in any setting.”

Lambert will be speaking at the Arts Careers: Impact on the Front Lines event on Tuesday, September 22. Part of the Alumni Week(end) celebration, the event is hosted by the U of A Career Centre and the Faculty of Arts. Intended primarily for current students and young alumni, this virtual speaking event will feature community leaders who will share their insights and stories about front-line workplaces.

It’s an opportunity for Arts students to learn how the skills they have learned in the classroom – including the ability to communicate clearly, to think critically, to embrace different perspectives – are not only transferable, career-ready competencies, they are in increasing demand in a diversity of fields, including community-based, front-line crisis management.

Lambert says his degree and related experience in advocacy work, research and analysis, writing and crafting messages that resonate and, above all, his passion for social justice have prepared him for his current role.

“The issues that are part of my work at the Council are layered and complex – involving child poverty, living wage policies, housing and homelessness, food security, and many more,” explains Lambert. “While my degree did not necessarily interact with all of those topics, the foundational learning of an Arts degree prepared me to look at these issues with a critical eye, get to the heart of the matter and engage with the wider public on why adopting progressive social policies in these areas are important for the betterment of our community.”

Lambert will be joined by Chaka Zinyemba (‘12 BA), Rapid Response Manager, Canadian Red Cross, Melissa Casey (‘08 BA), an inclusive Leadership Coach and Team Facilitator, and other arts alumni with front-line work experience.

Sessions will include 20 minutes of discussion on career questions followed by 20 minutes of Question and Answer with the audience.

Arts Careers: Impact on the Front Lines takes place Tuesday, September 22 from 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. MST. Please register here.

Click here to see all of the University of Alberta’s Alumni Week(end): Campus To Couch events.

Click here to see Faculty of Arts-specific Alumni Week(end) events.