$20 – $70

Brave Spaces Conference

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



McDougall United Church

8516 Athabasca Street Southeast

Calgary, AB T2H 1S1


View Map

Event description


How do we have difficult but important conversations, especially when it comes to being inclusive? And can we have fun while doing it?!

Brave Spaces is here! A time to be curious, open, and to explore what inclusivity looks and feels like, beyond the words.

Join us in Calgary for a special one-night-only show, and a day full of workshops, great food, and more!

  • Sep 28, Friday night: Certified at 7 p.m.

  • Sep 29, Saturday - Keynote and workshops: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Morning and afternoon refreshments and a full lunch will be available on Saturday.

$20 for Certified only
$70 for Certified and full day Conference
$60 for full day Conference only

Certified by Jan Derbyshire:

Award winning Canadian playwright Jan Derbyshire is opening the conference on Friday, September 28 with her gritty production which turns the audience in a mental health review board. Join the irreverent fun in this hilarious & heart-aching romp, as comedian & certified insane person Jan Derbyshire turns the audience into a mental health review board to help determine her current state of sanity. Come humorously grapple with hefty questions like: What’s crazy? What isn’t crazy? Who decides? In this comic case, you do. Anyone can buy a ticket just for the show, or you can purchase a whole conference ticket with the show included!

*This show contains strong language and deals with heavy themes. Recommended for ages 13+.

Keynote speaker and workshop leader: Erik Carter.

Erik is the Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies for promoting valued roles in school, work, community, and congregational settings for children and adults with intellectual disability, autism, and multiple disabilities.

Erik's keynote is generously sponsored by Regional Ministries.

From Barriers to Belonging: Pathways to Inclusive Communities (Keynote)

What does it really mean for people with disabilities—indeed for anyone—to truly belong within a community? Dr. Erik Carter shares findings from his research addressing dimensions of belonging for people with intellectual disability, autism, and other developmental disabilities. His talk will spur deeper reflection about the ways in which communities might welcome and weave people with disabilities more fully into the relationships and activities that lead to flourishing.


Tony Snow: Shared Spaces and Sacred Corners

From our earliest feudal beginnings, sharing space and resources has always been a site of contestation for living, for procuring, for passing on our accumulated benefits to the next generation. As we work toward a more diverse society in the future, our sharing model will need to assess these sites of conflict, sites of contestation and sites of reconciliation, in order to work toward finding sites of resolution, sites of cooperative rehabilitation and the inclusion of shared sacred spaces. Our determination of space and the allocation of spaces in the public square (i.e. land) means we need to learn to live in and among one another, while continuing to adapt to an ever growing human and non-human family of residents (e.g. our environment, our animal partners, our ocean family, etc). We will delve into the issues of space: understanding the challenges of our lived environment, our cultural lens, and our contexts and capacities for change.

Tony Snow is a member of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Morley, Alberta. He is an Indigenous theologian, academic and writer, with expertise in Oil and Gas development, Environmental planning and working with Indigenous Elders and communities and their traditional perspectives. He is currently studying in the Master of Divinity program at the Vancouver School of Theology and working toward ordination in the United Church of Canada.

Jan Derbyshire: What's in it for We?

What are we talking about when we talk about being inclusive?

How do we determine what we actually need and what we might be able to do without?

How do we cultivate practices of compromise and flexibility?

How do we have difficult conversations?

How do we increase our capacity for uncomfortable feelings?

What's beyond agreeing to disagree?

Join Jan Derbyshire MDES (Inclusive Design), artist, thinker, comedian and creator of Improvisation for shy people, as we delve into some serious play around these questions and what it means to create brave space within ourselves and in the spaces we move through.

Erik Carter - Changing Our Prepositions: Friendships, Faith, and Flourishing Communities

As we move from barriers to belonging, our relationships with one another also change. How do we move from life lived apart from one another, to life lived with one another? And how do we shift from a posture of ministry to people with disabilities to one of ministry by people with disabilities? This workshop will build upon key themes addressed in the keynote session and provide further opportunities to dialogue about how we might become communities of belonging in which people with disabilities are seen as indispensable.

Danna Ormstrup

Danna is the Executive Director of the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Network. She began working people with learning disabilities in the early 80s. Her role includes family care, prevention, awareness & professional education.


We value accessibility and have strived to make ticket prices reasonable. If you would like to attend but funds are prohibitive, please email us at bravespaces@mcdunited.com and we will be happy to help! We have discount codes and a number of full sponsorships. We don't want anyone to miss out!

We are thankful to be partially funded by an Embracing the Spirit Grant through the EDGE Network and The United Church of Canada, and a sponsorship from Regional Ministries. We are still looking for a key sponsor, and if you would like to learn more, please contact us!

Share with friends

Date and Time


McDougall United Church

8516 Athabasca Street Southeast

Calgary, AB T2H 1S1


View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved