Canadian Art magazine cover

When it comes to Canadian electoral politics, this autumn was about as intense and intriguing as it gets. Being the political wonk that I am, I was very grateful that Canadian Art commissioned two feature articles from me to discuss the election from the perspective of cultural policy.

In the first, I examine both the promises and the records of the parties vying for our votes. And now that the results are in, I’ve made a few suggestions on what to watch for on the arts agenda as Justin Trudeau and the Liberals take the helm.

I’d like to thank Canadian Art for the opportunity, and I invite you to subscribe to their magazine — the actual ink-on-paper kind of magazine — to keep tabs on art and culture in this fair land.


October 23, 2015


I’m sitting in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Istanbul with my carry-on bag resting on my lap.

When I arrive at the Ataturk airport later today, I’ll pass through customs, stroll past the baggage area, and jump onto the metro. That carry-on bag — the Boreas Larkin 18L backpack — is all I have.

One small daypack contains everything I’m bringing on a five week trip across Turkey.

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April 7, 2015

Teaching copywriting at UBC

This week I begin teaching a UBC Continuing Studies course on copywriting. While I’ve given plenty of workshops and conference presentations, I’m very much looking forward to working with the same group of students for a full two months.

After all, the enjoyment I get from teaching communications skills is one of the reasons I got into the consulting racket in the first place.

That said, the idea of keeping a group of keen professionals engaged and interested for a full 150 minutes each week is a touch scary, but it’s the good kind of scary that means you’re being challenged and booted out of your cozy comfort zone.

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February 2, 2015

Picnic in Al Azahar Park by Tatiana-Philiptchenko

After a little more than a year quietly toiling away between client projects, I’ve finally unveiled my own pet project, Hugs With Arms.

Spurred by stories of socially-engaged artists who struggle to make ends meet — the sort of creatives we feature in Art Threat – I wanted to do something to help out in a more tangible way.

While artsy baristas certainly make my morning caffeine habit more colourful, I’d rather see talented agitators spend those hours in their studios without worrying about where the next paycheque is coming from.

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November 12, 2014

Spam with Bacon

Copywriting can lead you down some strange rabbit holes.

While hacking together some draft web copy this morning, I typed out “bring home the bacon” as a reference to earning income. I then paused to wonder about the phrase’s origin.

Pomodoro be damned; a quick Google search brought me to a Wikipedia article:

“Bringing home the bacon” was historically a reference to the winner of a marital fidelity contest who was awarded a “flitch” (side) of “bacon” (pork). The tradition originated in a 12th-century custom linked to the town of Great Dunmow, England.

I have no idea what a “marital fidelity contest” might be, and searching that phrase provided no additional insight. But is the phrase sexist?

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March 15, 2014