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.
The lead researchers on the conference are Wendy Cukier, Janine Marchessault (York University), Laurie Petrou and Lorella Di Cintio, with Madeleine Co. as the co-organizers.
Background on Conference:
Creative Catalyst brings together Canadian artists, designers, researchers, industry, and community members in discussion on how arts and culture catalyzes social innovation. In the face of “wicked” social problems, radical innovation is required to change perspective and shift culture. Artists and creatives are at the forefront of communicating social change, using artistic expression and creative practice to open up a space for critical reflection, dialogue, and idea generation.
The symposium is supported through SSHRC, OCE and Ryerson University.
The event begins with an opening reception which is free and open to the public on June 11th. The reception features Edward Burtynsky as our keynote, and access to an interactive art installation co-created by Madeleine Co. and Bodhi Collective, a Ryerson-based student design agency.
The research symposium takes place all day from 9AM – 6PM on June 12th with a keynote by Judith Marcuse, an Ashoka International Fellow, and speaker panelsfeaturing Canadian artists, researchers and industry/community members.
The target audience of the conference are researchers, artists and industry, but we would love to have students passionate about the topic in attendance. There are 120 spots available for the symposium, and 200 available for the reception.
We currently have our early bird tickets open until March 30th (Early Bird Student/Artist: $25.00; Early Bird Regular: $75.00), after which tickets will be $40 for Student/Artist, and $100 Regular.
An Interior Affair: A State of Becoming IDEA symposium exhibition, FORM Gallery, Perth, September 6–October 6, 2012
Reviewed by Mary Anne Beecher