Empathy Week

The World’s First Empathy Week in Calgary, Canada from Humainologie on Vimeo.

An Update from Humainologie (December 2022)

Every year for the past six years, Humainologie has led this seven-day festival celebrating human connection and promoting empathy. Founded by Humainologie and proclaimed by the City of Calgary, Empathy Week has amplified the voices of hundreds of artists, changemakers, and people who experience systemic barriers. Thousands of Calgarians attended 42 days of programming with over 130 daily events and we feel good about what we delivered and the feedback we received. And we also know it’s time to step away so we can focus our attention on new developments coming our way, and allow the festival to flourish under new leadership. ⁠

With that, we are so excited and appreciative of the new caretakers of Empathy Week in Calgary: Shannon Hutchison, Gillian Williamson, and Anshu Stephen. Together with Gayathri Shukla (founder of Campfire Kinship, one of our 2022 Empathy Week partner organizations), this fab group created a video storytelling series called unLikely Friends that premiered this past year. unLikely Friends is about helping diverse groups of strangers dismantle stereotypes and foster empathy and understanding. This group of humans includes a trauma-informed coach, photographers, videographers, storytellers, and much more.⁠

Share your support to these unLikely Friends who are likely leaders on this new journey and follow them to get all the Empathy Week updates. We know that they will continue to bring the community a festival we can all look forward to and be proud of. 

Gillian Williamson, Shannon Hutchison, Anshu Stephen, and Gayathri Shukla

What is Empathy? There are many different definitions of ’empathy’. We refer to empathy as the ability to step into the shoes of another; to imagine what they may be thinking and/or feeling. Empathy helps us create strong relationships and healthy communities. Does Empathy mean feeling exactly what someone else feels? No, it doesn’t. We can never know exactly what another person is feeling or be able to exactly replicate those feelings, but we can make an attempt or an estimation.

What is Empathy Week? Empathy Week is a seven-day festival of events which promote empathy, human connection, and the recognition of our shared humanity. Empathy Week is a community initiative with numerous Calgary partner organizations and individuals coming together to host a variety of events.

Are Empathy Week events free? Most events are free, some are by donation, and some require paid tickets.

Is Empathy Week for everyone?  Empathy Week includes varied programming suitable for diverse audiences with wide-ranging interests. 

Is there an Empathy Week in my city? As far as we are aware, Calgary is the first city in the world to host an Empathy Week.

Who has participated in Empathy Week in the past?
Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation: Wishing Wall
The Alex Community Food Centre: Ribbon Tree
The Doorway and Living Documents Publishing: Living Documents
LOUD Art Society: LabOurea
Cree8: Indigenous Drumming Circle
Amy Badry: Dance, Connection & Empathy
People for Progress Foundation: Strive for Equal Education
Connection Curators: Building Empathy one Connection at a Time
Beltline Reconciliation Committee: Kairos Blanket Exercise
Connections Counselling: Gabrielle Film Screening Merge Movement: Cultivating Empathy
Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research: Strength in Art
Prospect Human Services: Empathy & Disability Awareness in the Arts
RESET Society of Calgary: RESET Art Exhibition
Calgary Queer Arts Society: Identities Short Film Package

Download the Empathy Week Sponsorship Kit
View the 2022 Empathy Week Program
View the 2022 Empathy Week Call for Events
View the 2021 Empathy Week Program
View the 2021 Empathy Week Request for Proposals
View the 2020 Empathy Week Program
View the 2020 Empathy Week Request for Proposals
View the 2019 Empathy Week Program
View the 2019 Empathy Week Request for Proposals
View the 2019 Empathy Week Sponsorship Invitation
View the 2018 Empathy Week Report to the Community
View the 2018 Empathy Week Program
View the 2017 Empathy Week Program

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What's Your story?

Everyday, all the time, we are all playing key roles in our corners of the world. A moment of eye contact, a smile, an extra question like "so how are you?", a pause to hold the door open, a few words to validate how someone is feeling...there are things we can do all the time to remind each other we belong, we are valued, we are part of this great and diverse human family. Tell us about something small or big that you did, or that happened to you, where the result was a sense of connection, belonging, or the recognition of our shared humanity.

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