The Aesthetic Advantage

Approaching Beauty in Work and Life
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Program Information

The Aesthetic Advantage at Banff Centre

Elisheva Biernoff, installation view “Without, within” (2015). Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff Centre. Photo by Donald Lee.


Aesthetics matter — and not only in the design of buildings, products, and consumer experiences. As a professional, a heightened aesthetic awareness can give you a new vantage point from which to make better decisions in work and life. Beauty is disruptive; it widens our focus beyond return on investment (ROI), allowing us to distinguish the ‘good’ from the ‘profitable’.

To navigate an increasingly unpredictable work environment and tackle society’s biggest challenges, leaders across a range of sectors must develop new capabilities. Stakeholders are looking for organizations to set and deliver on socially responsible goals. Quality-of-life values, while at times difficult to measure, are real and progressively important. The ‘bottom line’ and the ‘code of ethics’ are necessary but insufficient guides for those seeking to do better and be better.

This program gives participants the opportunity to learn and talk about aesthetics, have a range of sensory experiences — through art, nature, and everyday life — and document it all in a portfolio. The Aesthetic Advantage taps into the artist at the heart of the busy professional, the part of us that wants to create something to better the world.

What does the program offer?

This program will advance the thinking of leaders who have experienced firsthand the challenges of making “good” decisions given current complex social, cultural, economic, and environmental realities. The program takes full advantage of the natural and artistic resources of Banff Centre’s campus. 

The Aesthetic Advantage is largely an experiential course that combines discussions with artists about their processes and approaches to work and life; a variety of sensory experiences; and the documentation of these in a portfolio. Brief philosophical readings and videos will also be assigned to help animate both sensory experiences and classroom discussions.

In this program, participants will begin to cultivate:

  • an understanding of their personal aesthetic and where that aesthetic comes from
  • an intuitive grasp of the non-rational elements of situations and decisions
  • creativity in imagining solutions or future action
  • an understanding of relationships among elements in a system in a ‘design’ sense
  • the capacity to balance conflicting elements with the greater good in mind

Who should apply?

The Aesthetic Advantage will benefit professionals working in any industry or sector, but is particularly relevant for those who are mid-career and looking for a fresh perspective on work and life.

The course is equally relevant for managers and executives in for-profit and non-profit organizations, the public sector and community leaders, and small business and entrepreneurs. 

About Banff Centre Leadership programs

Banff Centre Leadership programs integrate the power of the arts, the wisdom of Indigenous practice, and the extraordinary beauty of Banff National Park to prepare and empower the next generation of Canadian leaders.

Programs help participants bring creative and reflective approaches to a rapidly changing world, and connect leaders with others who share their commitment to positive change in Canadian Indigenous communities, businesses, non-profit organizations, cultural institutions, and government.


What's Included

AccommodationRead MoreClose

All Leadership participants who choose the Accommodation and Meal Package are provided private rooms with ensuite washrooms in one of our two onsite hotels, the Professional Development Centre or Lloyd Hall. Room upgrades may be available upon request at an additional cost.

Meal PlanRead MoreClose

If you choose the Accommodation and Meal Package, all of your meals from the start to the end of your program are included; most of your meals will be at Vistas Dining Room, but there may be some special dining events scheduled as well. Please also feel free to visit the Maclab BistroLe CaféThree Ravens Restaurant and Wine Bar, but note that these outlets are not included in your meal plan, and thus will be at additional cost.

LibraryRead MoreClose

The Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives is located on the second floor of the Kinnear Centre, and provides access to great books, media, and work space.

Fitness and RecreationRead MoreClose

The Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre is located in the lower floor of the Sally Borden Building, and provides all guests with access to our swimming pool, hot tub, steam room, climbing gym, fitness centre, spin studio, and gymnasium. Massage and physiotherapy appointments may also be booked ahead of time.

Fees & Financial Assistance

$4 950.00
Meals & Accommodation Packag
$1 048.00

Additional nights' accommodation may be available; please contact us for details.

The above fees do not include applicable taxes, such as GST, the Alberta Tourism Levy, and the Tourism Improvement Fee as needed.

Group Savings

Enroll four members of your organization or community in a program and your fifth member will receive a free tuition. Special restrictions may apply.

Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance may be available to subsidize some of the costs to attend your program.

Funding opportunities

Call our toll-free number for more details at 1.888.255.6327

How to Apply

All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Contact us

For more information please contact: