Artists, entrepreneurs and activists gathered at Ryerson University to show how art can catalyze social change and innovation
“Art is a space for collaborative dreaming. If we want social change to be contagious, then we should create art so that it can have ripple effects that are so big they are immeasurable,” said artist and activist Farrah-Marie Miranda, speaking at the Creative Catalyst Symposium, a two-day conference organized by Ryerson spin-off Madeleine Co., and sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The interdisciplinary event created an open forum connecting artists with researchers, policy-makers, industry professionals, and community members to effect change.
Creative Catalyst featured an interactive art installation developed by Madeleine Co. in collaboration with the Bodhi Collective. Called Art Can Change, it asked What Can Art Do For You? The installation allowed the audience to collectively explore how art can have a role in positively transforming the things in our lives that scare us the most.
Edward Burtynsky, Ryerson alumni, artist and entrepreneur, kicked off the symposium with a keynote in conversation with Sophie Hackett, associate curator of photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Burtynsky is renowned for world-class photography and documentary film projects that have drawn attention to the global impacts of resource extraction and exchange. According to Burtynsky, “My photographs reflect the impact of humanity, not its absence. They are pictures of our footprint, and the diminishment of nature that results. Documenting the point of impact between humankind and its evolving environment has turned out to be a life’s work.” He discussed his role as an artist and entrepreneur, and his latest endeavor Think2Thing, a leader in research around 3D-printing technology.