Current Learning Programs

Esker Foundation provides free public programming to encourage participation and to increase accessibility to contemporary art. Programs are created in response to, and in tandem with our current exhibitions. All are welcome to attend. Our programs are very popular, securing your spot by registering is strongly recommended. Programs often have wait lists: if you register and are unable to attend we ask that you please cancel in a timely manner.

Registration for all our winter programs is now open.

 

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Thursday, February 22nd, 7-8pm > Exhibition Tour: Research as Resistance

Elizabeth Diggon

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Through a strikingly minimal visual vocabulary, the work of Kapwani Kiwanga employs extensive research on institutional architecture and design, the management of bodies through colour and light, and subtle means of resistance or subversion. Join Elizabeth Diggon, Esker’s lead researcher, on this informal tour that will trace the threads of research and the connections to Alberta histories and institutions that run through Kapwani Kiwanga’s A wall is just a wall (and nothing more at all).

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, February 24th, 1-5pm > Small Cuts: Cut-Paper Animation Workshop

DaveandJenn

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DaveandJenn will lead participants through a short introduction into the history and creation of cut-paper animations as well as talk about their own artistic process and the inspirations that went into their site-specific work, Paradise for an in-between time in the Esker’s Project Space. Participants will get a chance to make their own cut-out paper creation which will then be included in a group animated sequence. Participants must be over the age of 16. All materials will be provided.

This workshop is now full. Register if you wish to be added to the wait list.

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Friday, March 2nd, 7-8:30pm > Talk: Unpleasant Design and its Discontents

Selena Savić

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Unpleasant Design is a design phenomenon that promotes social control through discomfort, pain, and persuasion. It raises the value of urban space by preventing specific use scenarios such as sleeping on a park bench or loitering in a shopping mall. In this talk, Selena Savić will show some “stars” of unpleasant design and focus on patterns in the design of public space where these silent agents replace the need for supervision and condition our behaviour.

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 10am-5pm > Unpleasant Design Workshop: We Will Make You Do It

Selena Savić

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At the Unpleasant Design workshop, participants will use persuasive and coercive design techniques to invent designs that target specific social strata or behaviors in public space. The workshop will include an Unpleasant City Tour as a way to identify existing designs and possible new targets. We will brainstorm about possible unpleasant designs specific to the city of Calgary. Finally, we will craft Unpleasant Design prototypes that the participants can consider implementing in public spaces of the future. Participants must be over the age of 16. All materials will be provided.

Registration essential.

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Friday, March 9th, 7-8:30pm > Film Screening: ‘Citizen Jane: Battle for the City’

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In 1960, Jane Jacobs’s book The Death and Life of Great American Cities sent shockwaves through the architecture and planning worlds, with its exploration of the consequences of modern planners’ and architects’ reconfiguration of cities. Jacobs was also an activist, who was involved in many fights in mid-century New York, to stop “master builder” Robert Moses from running roughshod over the city. This film retraces the battles for the city as personified by Jacobs and Moses, as urbanization moves to the very front of the global agenda. This film sets out to examine the city of today though the lens of one of its greatest champions.

Dir. Matt Tyrnauer, 2017, 92 mins.

Registration essential.

Esker Foundation is proud to partner with Sidewalk Citizen on the presentation of this film. The bakery is generously providing complimentary treats created in response to the film. Coincidentally, the novel by Jane Jacobs was the inspiration for the naming of the bakery.

 

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Thursday, March 15th, 7-8pm > Exhibition Tour: Architectures of Control and Resistance

Shauna Thompson

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Join Curator Shauna Thompson on this walking tour through Kapwani Kiwanga’s exhibition A wall is just a wall (and nothing more at all) as we discuss the institutional legacies of colour, light, and design and how bodies in space might be controlled by or find ways to resist architectural influences.

Registration recommended.

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Friday, March 23rd, 7-8pm > Environmental Psychology: What Buildings Do? Examples from Healthcare and Beyond

David Borkenhagen

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This talk will highlight historic examples and contemporary applications of Environmental Psychology methods in the design and analysis of the built environment. Emphasis will be given towards healthcare environments, where design can perform a life-critical function. Theory and tools for measuring human affect and behaviour in environments will be discussed.

Registration recommended.

 

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Saturday, April 7th, 1:30-2:30pm > Tour of the Canadian Architectural Archives

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Join staff from Archives and Special Collections at the University of Calgary for a guided tour of the Canadian Architectural Archives. The CAA is the largest collection in the world of Canadian architectural materials. Staff will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the archival storage vault, and highlight some special items. Participants will meet at the University of Calgary, Taylor Family Digital Library. Transportation will not be provided.

Registration essential.

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Friday, April 13th, 6:30-8pm > Date Night at Esker

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Come chase the winter blues away and let Esker be your host for date night! Drawing inspiration from our current exhibitions, you will have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and create your own artwork while honing your creative skills. Impress your date with your art know-how in this fun hands-on workshop, while enjoying appetizers provided by 500Cucina as well as a 15% discount on dinner at the restaurant after the workshop.

Adults 18+ only, cash bar, registration essential.

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Saturday, April 14th, 1-3pm > PLACEHOLDER: It’s your turn to talk! with d.talks

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Join d.talks, in collaboration with Esker Foundation, at PLACEHOLDER. This is an unconventional book club where we present the theme of the afternoon and you bring your own book, poem, or object that you feel best articulates the theme. This is an opportunity for Calgarians to critically discuss and identify how our city and citizens affect and are impacted by local and global themes borne out in the work of Esker’s current exhibiting artists. Let’s form a new narrative in Calgary together! The theme of this PLACEHOLDER will be Protection.

Registration essential.

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Thursday, April 19th, 7-8pm > Exhibition Tour: Pretty in Pink: The emotive power of colour

Naomi Potter

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Baker-Miller Pink, the colour used in Kapwani Kiwanga’s pink-blue, is a tone of pink claimed to reduce hostile, violent, or aggressive behaviour. Early tests performed by colour researcher Alexander Schauss in the late 1970s observed that this particular shade of pink had a profoundly calming effect, noting that merely staring at an 18 × 24 inch card printed with this colour, especially after exercising, would result in “a marked effect on lowering the heart rate, pulse, and respiration.” In 1979, the first institutional use of this pink was tested on prisoners at the Naval Correctional Institute in Seattle, Washington. The findings were that “no incidents of erratic or hostile behaviour” were experienced, and “only fifteen minutes of exposure was enough to ensure that the potential for violent or aggressive behaviour had been reduced.” Schauss named the pink after the Naval Correctional Institute directors, Baker and Miller.

What effect does colour have on you? Do you believe orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, that blue suppresses appetite, or that babies cry more in yellow rooms? Let the colours speak for themselves in this tour of A wall is just a wall (and nothing more at all).

Registration recommended.

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Saturday, April 28th, 1-5pm > Colour Theory Workshop

Silas Kaufman

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How does colour effect our emotions? Why do some colours excite us while others seem to calm us down? Join illustrator and instructor Silas Kaufman and explore colour as a way to communicate emotion and energy. Participants will learn the basics of colour theory and design, producing a range of abstract images. Participants must be over the age of 16. All materials will be provided.

Registration essential.