Meet the Team:
Meet the Team:
Events + Engagement Manager
Events + Engagement Manager
Say hello to long time contractor, Sandbox Coworker, and collaborator Erin MacLean-Berko (she/her). An invaluable member of the cSPACE team as Events and Engagement Manager, Erin is a community champion who lives for events. Erin brings to cSPACE the vast experience she acquired in prior positions as Managing Director for the Calgary Boys’ Choir Society and Manager for Spiritus Chamber Choir. Because she is a classically trained singer, she also fundamentally understands what it means to live and work as an artist.
In 2020 Erin was the recipient of the Rozsa Foundation’s Emerging Arts Administrator Award. Simon Mallett, Executive Director for the Rozsa Foundation, describes Erin as “a great community builder, who is always finding ways to support other arts administrators working for smaller organizations.”
Coworking in a creative hub
It was in the Sandbox that Erin learned to love the community at cSPACE, which allowed her networking and social opportunities not available as a freelance contractor working from home. There were the professional perks of a coworking space – printing, boardroom and work space – but the personal connections were even better. Erin says she was drawn to the Sandbox because of the “vibrancy of the building, the energy of the coworkers, and the warmth of the cSPACE team welcoming us every day like we were a part of a team. I didn’t feel like I was renting a desk and chair, I was signing up to be a part of a community of fellow creative thinkers and change makers!”
Well aligned with cSPACE’s mission
Erin expresses all of our ABCS values in unique and revealing ways. She is an Ambassador of Creativity, a Builder of Community, a Convener of Collaboration, and a Steward of Change. We recently sat down with Erin and had a chance to explore how she expresses these values in her life and work.
In her own words.
I think of creativity as being a kind of energy, not a tangible habit or something that someone does. That energy is unique for everyone; what we appreciate, what inspires, and how we respond to the creativity of others. My creative energy tends to stem from the creativity and innovation of others and the wonderful synergies that can exist when people feel heard, understood, and supported.
Even when I’m not the one creating, my work is enriched by supporting others to tell their story – whether it is to help an artist with their grant application, assist with running a concert, or brainstorming creative fundraising ideas – the energy created by other people’s passions fuels my day and makes me happy to be a part of their journey.
In my personal life, a part of my core values is the recognition of my privilege to work in a creative industry and to use those resources in ways that support other (sometimes unrelated) communities. To be a connector between the inspiring folks around me with other initiatives that could use that injection of creative energy is what makes me the happiest.
I love collaboration, especially in an environment where…each member is encouraged to maintain their own ‘true north.’ This ensures that the work doesn’t become homogeneous. Authenticity is very important to me. I try to be authentic in my work and my personal life. And I hope others are always comfortable enough to be their authentic selves with me. This results in a culture of openness and sometimes, brave choices in our work. Even in times when you don’t necessarily agree, there is still that trust in your partners. Trust in each other’s work, understanding of our own limitations, and the comfort in knowing that the partnership is not the sum of its parts/tasks but rather the sum of each member’s individual selves and unique contributions.
Personally, my passion has been becoming an advocate for children and youth. Many moons ago I moved to Valparaiso Chile for 8 months and started a music program at an orphanage for girls; I was part of an Indigenous hip-hop program in Regina opening a state-of the art scratch lab for youth to come and create, free of charge; I have directed a free community children’s choir for 11 years. The concerts I have coordinated have raised money to support unsponsored newcomer families with small children, support food lunch clubs in Calgary, the Avenue-15 youth shelter, and funding for arts programs for children. I’ve made new friends and learned (and continue to learn) about the importance of allyship in providing equitable access to the underheard (especially the littlest voices).
Erin is an invaluable member of the cSPACE team where she is in her element supporting our clients and developing community partnerships. These include members of our resident community of artists, creative entrepreneurs and performers from around the city, as well the broader community discovering cSPACE for the first time. She enjoys the infectious energy when these groups come together to inspire and support one another, making every day remarkable and unique.
When not supporting events and pursuing community partnerships at cSPACE, Erin can be found reading books or listening to podcasts about history (like this one from Pushkin Industries; Bad Women: the Ripper Retold), or bargain finding unique elements for her family’s love of Comic Expo and Hallowe’en. (She once created a Death Star from an old yoga ball). She is most excited to see people’s faces again at the Farmers and Makers Market this summer.
Photo Description: Erin MacLean-Berko is shown from the waist up, standing and looking at the camera. She has dark hair, light skin, blue eyes. Wearing a black shirt and a denim jacket.