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January 18, 2016

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Last summer I joined the 2015 RADIUS Fellows and other social entrepreneurs on a train tour to meet like-minded changemakers in Seattle and Portland. Through that event and (quite awesome) RADIUS events prior to that, I learned about what other passionate and forward-thinking entrepreneurs are building in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest. I can only begin to imagine what the Fellowship is like after spending three days with amazing, interesting and friendly people — from Vancouver and elsewhere in BC — on the tour.

RADIUS SFU is now accepting applications for the 2016 Fellowship through January 28th:

“Once a year, the RADIUS Fellows program opens applications to bring together a cohort of emerging Radical Doers from the SFU community and the Lower Mainland. We are looking for the next generation of untamed social entrepreneurs and innovators who are early on their changemaking journey, demonstrating remarkable accomplishment and a relentless dedication to creating positive, sustainable impact in all they do.”

Does this sound like you or someone you know? Apply or find out more today!

September 17, 2014

Eat dinner together, change the world

FeastVancouverI’ve been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver) this summer, which puts great emphasis on how food — specifically local in the case of this book — brings people together, in celebration and as part of their culture. With that in mind, I’m pleased to tell you about an upcoming, worldwide event that uses the occasion of dinner toward making positive change. (Two of my favourite things in one — how could I resist?)

The Feast Worldwide Vancouver

Saturday, October 18th

Groundswell Cafe & Learning Space

The Feast Worldwide is a day of global dinner parties in 40+ cities across 6 continents. The goal? To spark collaboration that drives local entrepreneurs and social initiatives forward.

On October 18, we’re inviting Vancouver to explore the global theme of progression through food and sharing. Join us in envisioning, “A world where growing and eating healthy food connects people.”

The idea is simple. Come for an interactive dinner that explores connections between food, community, technology, sustainability, business, health, design, and more! We’re inviting incredible entrepreneurs to share their work to inspire greater discovery and ideas. Let’s sit together over dinner — and instead of talking about problems, talk about ways to support each other, collaborate, and make things work better.

Register at Eventbrite and follow the Feast on Facebook for updates.

April 1, 2014

Vancouver Public Space Network launches new website

Vancouver Public Space Network homepage

It’s with great pleasure that I share with you a project that was long in the making. Built entirely by volunteers, the new Vancouver Public Space Network website is a labour of love that began about three years ago. I think that extended anticipation made the ultimate launch that much more exciting for me and, I think, for them. It’s also amazing to consider how much technology has changed since our first conversation.

The Vancouver Public Space Network advocates for better public spaces and is responsible for such fun events as Parking Day and the annual Halloween SkyTrain Party and SeaBus pirates. (Not to be confused with the No Pants one. Although, I guess you could go without pants as Donald Duck if you wanted.)

As an advocacy organization, the VPSN works to champion the importance of public space to the overall liveability of the city. … Our work attempts to provide a blend of focused research and design work, creative community engagement and a celebratory, solutions-based approach.

I’m proud and honoured to contribute to the success of this important organization that works to improve our urban life. I’m grateful for Nicolas Demers‘ countless hours bringing it to life, and to a team that changed hands partway through and which pulled it all together so beautifully. Alissa, Jillian, Graham, Jessica, Andrew and the rest of you behind the scenes: thank you for taking this journey with me and congratulations! I can’t wait to see where you go.

Be sure to check out their upcoming events and please consider supporting the VPSN with a donation.

Got a project that needs design love? If you’re with a business or non-profit making positive impacts, I’d love to hear from you.

February 5, 2014

What is placemaking anyway?

Gather Round Roundabout

Gather Round Roundabout at St George St at East 10th Ave. Image from Google Streetview.

A few years ago I wrote about a Mark Lakeman event, which I did not attend, so my interest was piqued when a friend of mine mentioned an upcoming event with Lakeman’s name on it.

“Cracks in the pavement: Placemaking and the remaking of the modern city with Mark Lakeman” (tickets still available at Eventbrite) will be Lakeman’s public talk this Friday evening “on Placemaking and Redesigning The Commons” ahead of a 9-month course on the subject.

Placemaking, the creative reclamation of public space was the brainchild of Mark, an urban designer, and his neighbours in 1996 when they transformed their own intersection into a place for community gatherings and interaction — starting a mini revolution in Portland, OR that has spread throughout the city and inspired the creation of City Repair, an organization that engages citzens in transforming places. (Read more.)

Continue reading What is placemaking anyway? »

February 1, 2014

Changemakers Vancouver and Late Nite Art get creative for social change

artyouready-poster.jpg

I volunteer my time and design skills to an awesome burgeoning group called Changemakers Vancouver, which is “a network of people who want to learn, share, and act so to make the world a better place.” On February 13th, we’re teaming up with Late Nite Art for an evening around what insights we can gain when we engage our creativity.

Late Nite Art is a facilitated workshop that brings community together to collaboratively explore thought-provoking ideas and issues through visual arts. We achieve this by combining fresh local food, gratuitous beats, and explorative artmaking in one tasty package.

You definitely don’t have to be artistic to participate. In fact, I think the more diverse a crowd we have, the more interesting and fun our evening and outcomes will be!

Really good food is included in your $35 ticket, which you should get today since capacity is limited.

See you there!

November 13, 2013

Jer Thorp has awesome hair. But that’s not why you should attend Practivism

Jer Thorp and works

PRACTIVISM 6

Friday, November 29th, 2013

6pm – 10pm at The Ironworks

If you’ve attended any of the previous Practivism speaker events, you probably don’t need convincing to attend this one. Now in its sixth year, the annual event brings change-making creatives from Vancouver and beyond to talk about their projects and the designer’s role in influencing change, whether it be social, environmental or in our practice. This year the keynote speaker is artist and educator Jer Thorp. “Coming from a background in genetics, his digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science, data, art, and culture.”

Our 6th annual Practivism event will explore the opportunities that lay in front of each of us within the vast amount of data we pass by on a daily basis. A panel discussion with Alex Beim, Casey Hrynkow, and Eric Karjaluoto, moderated by Amanda Gibbs will further explore the possibilities and challenge individuals to take action — to envision and mobilize a better future.

The event has grown a lot since its sustainability-focussed beginnings. I’m looking forward to seeing what Thorp offers the event and audience on November 29th.

Get your tickets online now. Practivism sold out last year!

See you there.

November 8, 2013

Where will you be November 16th?

Oil lobbies

I usually spend November 16th with my youngest niece for her birthday — she’s turning eight. But this year, I’ll be standing up for her future at what I hope will be the biggest national rally Canada has ever seen.

Over 100 communities from Victoria to Nunavut to Halifax have signed up for Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities events to “help build a united wall of opposition to dangerous pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion and runaway climate change.”

At rallies in Vancouver and other BC communities, opposition to pipelines — Enbridge’s Northern Gateway in particular — will be a major force. The event is happening on the heels of BC and Alberta’s premiers agreeing on a “framework” for moving the Northern Gateway project forward, in spite of mass (in fact, majority) opposition among citizens and a clear lack of answers on whether Christy Clark’s five criteria were met, after she earlier rejected the pipeline based on those criteria.

The timing will only add more fuel to the fire as we decide we’ve had enough of being ignored by our government leaders. I look forward to standing up with my fellow Canadians from coast to coast to coast in support of a clean energy economy, action on climate change, and renewed democracy.

Please join me on November 16th in your community to defend our climate, defend our communities. Find and RSVP to your local event, join the conversation on Facebook, and most of all, invite your friends!

I’m really proud to be contributing my design expertise to a very talented national team that has been working hard on this since long before I joined. Please do share our articles and images on social media to spread the word and, if you can, a little love, too. See you on the 16th.

Defend our climate, defend our communities
March 25, 2013

Talking clean energy at the West Coast Oil Pipeline Summit

Vancouver Aerial by ecstaticistPhoto by ecstaticist via Flickr

British Columbians are waging a battle against two pipelines and a prospective future that puts at risk much of what we hold dear. There is a huge opportunity in this crisis, however, to supercharge our people power and fight not just for our rights, the environment, and democracy in BC, but to impact the course of future energy use in Canada and abroad.

Especially with the upcoming provincial election, the time is now to get British Columbians talking seriously about a clean energy direction for the future that helps us avoid oil sands expansion and a six-degree increase in global average temperature.

To help facilitate that, an amazing panel of speakers will be heading the West Coast Oil Pipeline Summit and gala dinner on April 19th. Amongst them, Mayor Gregor Robertson whose team at the City of Vancouver has been very outspoken against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker expansion plans; Tzeporah Berman, environmental activist; City of Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan; and Chief Justin George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver, who are directly across from the pipeline terminus at the Chevron refinery in Burnaby.

Say yes to beautiful BC. Say no to Kinder Morgan and oil sands expansion.

West Coast Oil Pipeline Summit & Gala Dinner

April 19th, 3pm to midnight

Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver

More info and registration at 2ggroup.ca.

January 14, 2013

A wild park

Mushrooms (1)

Mushrooms sprout on a nurse stump

I’ll never forget the first time I visited this park in my new neighbourhood, three years before I moved here. It was March and it started snowing! Between the wild, jagged terrain and the owl appearing in the tall conifers, it left an impression almost more idyllic than my experience of it now.

In the warmer months, one particular path that begins at the street is muddy, almost creek-like. Riddled with stones and pebbles, it’s hard to traverse when it’s so wet and is slightly uphill. Yesterday it was hovering around zero degrees and the pseudo-creek bed was blanketed in ice! It looked like a tiny, frozen river.

Continue reading A wild park »

January 20, 2012

2011 year in review: A journey

Forest at HelliwellCaptivated by the forest at Helliwell on Hornby Island

Last year was full of journeys, both in terms of travel and emotions, and of firsts. Recovering from a rocky end to 2010, I found emotional balance as my body took its time to heal. I also began a new romantic relationship in the spring that has helped me better understand myself and discover what a loving partnership really ought to feel like (answer: fantastic). That discovery induced some much-needed catharsis and put my past into perspective. I travelled overseas for the first time in almost a decade — and boarded the plane unaccompanied for the first time ever — and made two trips within BC with my sweetheart.

Continue reading 2011 year in review: A journey »