top of page

Empathy Week

Every year for the past six years, Humainologie has led Empathy Week – a seven-day festival celebrating human connection and promoting empathy. Founded by Humainologie and proclaimed by the City of Calgary, the festival has amplified the voices of hundreds of artists, changemakers, and people who experience systemic barriers.  We at unLikely Friends are so appreciative of the work that they have done, and we are thrilled that they have asked us to carry it forward. 

Already familiar with Empathy Week, and looking to host an event? Click the button below.


Empathy is the ability to step into the shoes of another, and to imagine what they may be feeling and/or thinking. Research has shown that when we experience pain, the same areas of the brain are activated as when we imagine someone else experiencing pain. Empathy helps us create strong relationships and healthy communities.


unLikely Friends is inviting organizations and individuals to be part of the cultivation,

preparation and presentation of events for Empathy Week to be held June 1-7, 2023 online as well as in person within the city of Calgary and area.


The purpose of this Request for Proposals is to include a broad and diverse selection of partners – artists, theatre groups, film producers, nonprofit and civil organizations, etc. in order to bring a wide and diverse program of offerings during Empathy Week 2023.

What is Empathy Week?

Empathy Week is a week-long festival that takes place online, as well as in the city of Calgary and area. The festival features events, discussions, workshops and exhibitions, which discuss or promote empathy, diversity, inclusion, human connection, and our shared humanity.

What is the purpose of Empathy Week?

By participating in Empathy Week, you will be supporting efforts to reduce silos of

misunderstanding and barriers between people, to increase connection and understanding, and to create communities where everyone belongs.

What kinds of activities have taken place during prior Empathy Weeks?

In person activities have included:

• ‘Gabrielle’ film screening at Glenbow Museum Theatre by Connections Counselling

• The Unity Project community art build by Humainologie at Sien Lok Park downtown

• Kairos Blanket Exercise by Beltline Reconciliation Committee and Memorial Park Library

• Empathy & Disability Awareness in the Arts by Prospect Human Services

• Group Art Show, with partners RESET Society of Calgary, Jana Brodkin-Singh, Asaad Qaddori

• Wishing Wall interactive installation at Arts Commons by Canadian Cultural Mosaic


• Ribbon Tree at The Alex Community Food Centre

• Art Show and Sale at Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research

• Our Justice System display by The Doorway and Living Documents Publishing at Analog and Monogram Coffee


Online activities have included:

• How to Ask Deep Questions with Jan Keck via Instagram Live

• Music, Empathy and My Journey with Musician, Aya Mhana via Instagram Live

• Pow-Wow Fit: Fitness Class led by Nikita Kahpeaysewat via Zoom

• Find Your Inner Dance: All Abilities Dance Workshop with Momo Movement via Zoom

• Anti-Racist Activism Through Self Care and Lifelong Learning with Dela Hini via Instagram Live

• Chatting in the Kitchen with plant-based Chef, Lexx Ambrose via Instagram Live

• Building Empathy Online with Artist Harpreet Dayal via Instagram Live

What are the benefits of being an Empathy Week program partner?

Research has shown that hate crimes in Canada are on the rise. In Calgary, according to Vital Signs 2019, one third of people under 35 often/always feel lonely, only two thirds of people are accepting of people from different backgrounds with 28% of people often or sometimes feeling uncomfortable because of their religion, race, ethnicity, skin colour, culture, language, accent, gender or sexual orientation.

Empathy Week partners receive funding to implement their ideas and activities, often making events possible.

The collaborative nature of Empathy Week creates new connections whilst enabling individual contributors to maintain autonomy and creative control in relation to the planning and delivery of their Empathy Week activities. In some unique situations, unLikely Friends will work with

individuals or community organizations to assist in the implementation of their events.

In addition, you and/or your organization can expect to obtain community exposure via marketing and promotions of the festival conducted by unLikely Friends and other Empathy Week partners.

How Can I Be An Empathy Ambassador?

bottom of page