Elders Summit Creates Space for Community to Happen

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Feb. 6 gathering intended to help lead youth and community to increased sense of self awareness, cultural identity, and healing

By: Michelle Strutzenberger

CUIA-Round-Dance-EditPeople have experienced the healing touch of conversations that allow you to be heard and to listen to one another’s stories and wisdom. Put those in the context of your particular culture, and these conversations can have an added depth of meaning.

A Feb. 6 gathering, the Fourth Annual Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative Elders Summit, offers a haven for such conversations to take place.

“We want to provide space for our community to have conversations and connect with the youth and the youth to connect with themselves,” organizer Jennifer Fournier says.

The hope and anticipation is that through connection and conversation, people, especially youth, will be able to take steps towards healing, deepened self-awareness and a strengthened sense of cultural identity.

“Sometimes when you’re moving from reserve or a different province and you’re aboriginal, you can get lost in the fray of the big city,” Jennifer says.

“So we’re really hoping that with the summit this year we can connect youth with other youth, with community members, with the elders in our community, so that they can see if they need healing or gain an increased sense of self-awareness, or cultural identity — which is a huge thing and which the elders can also provide.

“That’s why it’s called a summit — it’s about bringing everybody together and just having everyone in the same room, so that those conversations can take place.”

Thirty elders, 65 youth and more than 100 community members are already registered to attend the summit, which includes a selection of keynote presentations and the opportunity to join one of four traditional teaching circles.

The day is hosted by the Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative (CUAI) Services Domain in collaboration with the Calgary United Way and the CUAI Youth committee.

CUAI is energized by a mission “to provide a home for ongoing discussion, co-ordination, and informed action in support of Calgary urban aboriginal issues and initiatives.”

“This summit also gives us the opportunity to discuss any barriers or gaps in services that youth are experiencing,” Jennifer says.

To learn more about the Elders Summit, click here.

To learn more about CUAI, click here.


New Scoop is a new Calgary news co-op, using generative journalism to explore and share stories of our thriving city. The pilot phase has received support from Cities for People.

This article was originally written for the New Scoop Calgary news co-op on 3 February 2015. We received permission to re-post.


Michelle Strutzenberger has more than 10 years of experience in Generative Journalism with Axiom News. Her areas of interest include deep community, social-mission business, education that strengthens a sense of hope and possibility, and journalism that helps society create its preferred future.


Click here to read about becoming a New Scoop member and supporter.

You can comment on this story below, or e-mail michelle(at)axiomnews.com.

Voices of New Economies: Pallavi Roy

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New Economies and the Energy Sector
By Pallavi Roy

PallaviRoyKey elements of new economies include:

  1. Resourcefulness: Utilising unused resources, seeing opportunity in what was traditionally considered waste
  2. Disruption: breaking down the old and creating better brighter solutions
  3. Increased citizen engagement, participation and access

Energy sector and the collaborative economy

Decision-making in both public and private sectors has moved in recent years to ensure the inclusion of a variety of stakeholders. As Arnesteine said in her 1969 paper, ladders of citizen power “Citizen participation is citizen power”. This shift in attitudes towards citizen participation has been characterized as a rejection of the top-down policymaking approach: “Sustainable development cannot be imposed from above. It will not take root unless people across the country are actively engaged.”

Collaboratively owned and managed energy projects represent the highest rung of citizen control and an important stakeholder serving as the voice for citizen mandate. While the conventional system of energy provision usually involves highly centralised energy infrastructures with end of the line dependent consumers, locally and cooperatively owned facilities for energy production can constitute a substantially differing model of energy provision and distribution.

This empowers its members to become producers, and to not just be traditional consumers. Recently, liberalisation of energy markets as well as feed-in tariffs for electricity generated from renewable sources introduced in several countries has opened up new actor roles and markets accessible to citizen groups. With the possibility to sell their electricity to the grid as independent producers or even to act as utility companies selling directly to customers, collaboratively owned energy projects are becoming market actors in their own right.

As someone coming from India, energy has always been an issue of prime importance and concern. Millions of people still don’t have access to regular and assured supply of electricity and cheap assured supply is a frequent election campaign promise. Traditionally the burden of providing electricity and power supply is rested on the government, who has not been doing a great job of it. The idea of consumers owning their energy supply, having a say in the choice of energy source and management of facilities is quite liberating.

Cities and energy and new economies

New economies are exciting prospects for cities, to re-define and re-develop ourselves in the face of different challenges. Estimates suggest that hundreds of million people will be added to urban populations over the next 10 years, leading to major demands on resources, particularly energy. Thus, smart city designs equipped to handle the demands of increased urbanization need to be built. Energy security is of prime importance and plays a significant role in the urban landscape, as cities are heavily dependent on assured supply of energy for development. Energy sector, which has traditionally been highly controlled, has immense potential to be revolutionised through new economic practices.

New economic practices in the energy sector have the following potential impact on cities:

  1. Increasing the renewable energy sources in the energy mix thus reducing GHG emissions
  2. Moving towards an energy supply that is more assured yet not fossil fuel based
  3. Increasing citizen participation in energy planning and policies
  4. Creating more resilient cities and communities

Real wealth

Real wealth means the understanding that growth for the sake of it is undesirable and that a triple bottom line approach is more beneficial in the long run. Real wealth means not falling in the trap of consumerism and competition. On a personal level real wealth indicates the ability to have a fulfilling life, one with choices and the ability to make informed decisions.

Related links:

A ladder of citizen participation.Strategies for sustainability: citizens and responsible environmental behaviour.Understanding smart cities

The role of public participation in identifying stakeholder synergies in wind power project development: The case study of Ontario, Canada


Pallavi Roy is a recent graduate from Ryerson University with a Masters in Environmental applied science and management. She is currently working at CultureLink Settlement Services as a Metcalf Sustainability Intern. Her project aims to bring an environmental focus to settlement work, thus making the environmental movement more inclusive for newcomers, and the settlement sector greener. Pallavi is an environmental researcher and community activist with interests in sustainability, energy policy and community engagement. She is passionate about sustainability issues of urban life and is active in the community promoting adoption of sustainable lifestyle choices. Her previous work experience includes various not-for-profit organisations in Toronto, such as Jane’s Walk, Toronto Green Community, Foodshare, and The David Suzuki Foundation.


This blog is part of the 'Voices of New Economies' series within Cities for People - an experiment in advancing the movement toward urban resilience and livability through connecting innovation networks.

The Voices of New Economies series is collectively curated by One Earth and The Canadian CED Network.

This series is an exploration of what it takes to build the economies we need - ones that work for people, places, and the planet. We are connecting key actors, finding patterns, noting interesting differences, and highlighting key concepts and initiatives. Together, this series offers insights into the new economies movement as it develops.


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By cheyanne turions

Perhaps counterintuitively, one measure of a system’s resilience is its “redundancy.” Efficiency is dangerous because of the ways it makes a system vulnerable: if there is only one way to accomplish something that needs to get done—even if it is the quickest method or uses the fewest resources or returns the largest profit—any disruption in the process means that the system breaks down. In Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World, Brian Walker and David Salt describe this phenomenon: “Resilient social-ecological systems have many overlapping ways of responding to a changing world. Redundancy in institutions increases the response diversity and flexibility of a system (Ostrom 1999)...Totally top-down governance structures with no redundancy in roles may be efficient (in the short term), but they tend to fail when the circumstances under which they were developed suddenly change. More ‘messy’ structures perform better during such times of change.”[1] With the caveat that I am not a musician, I’d like to propose that practices of improvisation might be a method for generating resilience within social systems. The potential for improvisation to take music, musicians, and audiences to unanticipated, strange, or surprising places is itself a value, aside from the qualities of the sound produced. In the language of resilience theory, we can think of this as generating redundancy, diversity as strength.

Listening builds relationship laterally, tangentially, without regard for divisions of power. In performance, musicians occupy the stage, but the audience is their collaborator as much as the musicians are each other’s. Listening is a movement of the body, a folding of the flesh, not only an aural reception of sound waves. Listening changes you.

At 2014’s Guelph Jazz Festival, the four men of Postcommodity—Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, Kade L. Twist and Nathan Young—performed songs from their LP We Lost Half The Forest, And The Rest Will Burn This Summer (forthcoming). Based in New Mexico, Chacon explained the album’s title in a discussion following their performance: “Where we come from, there is not a lot of rain. There is drought. Constant drought. Every summer, the few forests we have in New Mexico burn and then they grow back eventually. They burn every summer [but] they don’t have an opportunity to grow back to what they once were. This…affects animals, and some of us hunt, so we thought of these songs as hunting songs, songs to call toward animals, or songs you might make up while in the woods hunting. We composed these songs as improvisational frameworks to sing within.” Improvisation builds a way of being in the world, of being in relation.


Postcommodity performs at the Banff Centre. Image courtesy of Postcommodity.

And yet, when asked later about the nature of improvisation in their work, Chacon clarified:

“I don't believe what we are doing is on the side of improvisation, for two reasons. The first is that we each have intentional rigs (setups, systems, signal chains, instruments) that are very limited in what they can do. We have intended this to be the case, so that each member can play a role in the song as well as give each other space when oneself cannot play beyond that role. I believe that this aim toward control cannot truly be improvisation.

“Second, and most important, is that the songs have preplanned structures or instructions. Such as ‘create blasts of loud sound’ or ‘so-and-so starts with a solo then we get quiet’. There is also a set duration. Within a structure, we are free to choose pitches or tones to complete the given duration, but I don't think that free choices necessarily equals improvisation. In other words, we have set up enough preparations that one cannot easily steer the song to a different outcome.”

While the musicians that afternoon did not explicitly engage in improvisation, or at least not simply so, it was a part of the experience for me as a member of the audience. My usual ways of listening would not do. The music wanted something else from me, something agile, tough, and humble. Postcommodity’s Twist suggested that the music itself was action beyond sound: “A lot of the work that we do, a lot of our practice, could be labeled as Indian Futurism, or in Canada, Aboriginal Futurism. A big part of that is imagining a future that is more desirable, and being able to place metaphors, position them, in circumstances of self-determination. Reverse engineering back to the present is what Indian Futurism is about, and what we are doing with our music.” Given the ongoing process of colonization invoked in his comments, and the way that colonization produces the position of settler and Indigenous both, everyone in the room was implicated in this becoming.

In service of this reverse engineering of a cultural self-determination, Martínez articulated a method: “We take these tools that are tied to pervasive media and the rapid changes that are happening in the world and basically we hack them. Noise is a great format for that because noise is already a culture that is about repositioning tools in new and innovative ways. How do we reposition these tools in a way that allows a re-imagination suitable to ritual practice and ceremony? So we can imagine new ways of rationalizing and operationalizing the change for self-determination? Some of the protocols for this music have a lot to do with listening, which is hard. We have been thinking about dialogue and protocols, when it is appropriate to listen and when it is appropriate to speak, realizing it is more about listening than speaking. It’s a lot about relationships and how we encounter one another.”

Protocols of listening get us outside of ourselves, which somehow returns to the ecological idea of a resilient redundancy by prompting new ways of being in relation. And yet, because an ecological notion of resilience obscures the agency of human actors, the term “resilience” is insufficient to describe the work associated with protocols of listening. Postcommodity’s work is about changing the circumstances through which a diversity of cultures are supported and the reciprocal obligation of their audience, of me, is to listen carefully to the tenets of an Aboriginal Futurism. What does support look like? Sound like? Listening is humble, and yet settlers and Indigenous people alike only stand to gain from Aboriginal Futurism and Indigenous self-determination. Perhaps a term like “mutual becoming” better captures the connotations of relation, responsibility, and vulnerability that are so vital to Postcommodity’s project.

Chacon relates a poignant example: “A lot of our work speaks about the future, a possible apocalyptic future that American Indians have already seen in the past. This is history repeating itself. We came together as a response to so many contemporary artists speaking only about the past, and not enough about the future.” Aboriginal Futurism recovers the past in service of an inevitable environmental change—more likely environmental collapse—and what I must imagine to be a social upheaval that will accompany it. Twist suggests that the scale of this cultural self-determination and mutual implication will be both large and small: “There is a lot of pragmatism in the public policy arena, which is about connecting strategies one step at a time. Change comes about through increments. This is the process that Indigenous people go through: consensus building. Though we cannot speak on behalf of 565 Indigenous nations in the United States, but we can speak on behalf of that framework. It is essential. To always exercise self-determination and the sovereignty of context, to expand the context to create space for an Indian future.”

In Guelph, as guests, Postcommodity have put themselves in a position of practicing protocols of listening through their People of Goodwill project. In speaking of what they heard on their previous research visits, Martínez relates that, “one of the things that came up was the need to enhance diversity in the art community and to enhance diversity in the city of Guelph. So much thinking has already happened at the federal, provincial, and city level. We took the plans that have already been developed and are working through them with the community with the specific goal of placemaking for a more diverse population of immigrants and culturally diverse people in the art ecology. The Guelph Black Heritage Society has the heritage hall and they are stewards of the underground railroad experience and the keepers of that history, and it is the goal of that organization to re-imagine and extend that narrative and living history to new immigrants coming to Canada and Guelph as a placemaking strategy. As stewards, they are offering their history, and as artists we are offering our capacity to bring people together, to rationalize that history and to create new narratives.” In supporting these new narratives, no doubt Postcommodity will be the richer for it. And Guelph too. Not that the tactics present themselves pre-formed, but that they too unfold from improvisation, from trying, listening, re-articulating, and trying again.


This piece is informed by a public discussion that followed Postcommodity’s performance at the Guelph Jazz Festival on 04 September 2014.

[1] Brian Walker and David Salt, Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World (United States of America: Island Press),148.

The prize-winning city

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By Jo Flatt

What do canned goods, margarine, fire extinguishers and the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris all have in common? They were all innovations resulting from contests, an old concept that has roared back in style like vintage fashion. Prize contests refer to the practice of crowdsourcing new ideas, strategies or products from networks outside the traditional range of experts - whether across geographies, companies, industries, sectors or disciplines. In the search for the next prize winner - anyone can be an expert.

While prize contests have grown in popularity over the last few years, what’s particularly remarkable is the range of solutions that are being sought. A quick look at Challenge.gov, an online platform to centralize all the prize competitions run across the 50 US federal government agencies shows a remarkable range of opportunities for non-traditional experts to engage in solving complex problems. On the website, one can find contests for 3D printable small robots to assist in bomb disposal, to the balancing of dead weight on Mars, or randomized control trials for criminal justice problems. Issues and challenges that one never thought were public information are now being showcased for anyone to explore, transforming the big black box of government to be accessible and relatable.

And Challenge.gov is not the only example. Prize contests are being used across private and philanthropic sectors as well. The uptake of prizes has been so great that a wide range of intermediary organizations have popped up to both support development of prize campaigns and connect the ‘solutions seekers’ with the ‘problem solvers’. One such intermediary, InnoCentive, has a problem solver network of over 300,ooo individuals who actively participate in prize based solution development.

So, why are organizations heading down this road? Call it recognition of limitations or hopes of new horizons, as today’s challenges become increasingly complex, institutions are wanting to look elsewhere for new kinds of solutions. In times of fiscal austerity, prizes can also be cheaper than traditional request for proposal (RFP) processes since the solution seeker only pays for success. Prizes can also bring attention to new markets, issues or areas of opportunity by attracting investment and attention to otherwise overlooked industries. The success garnered from a prize contest can make unlikely ideas suddenly more attractive, bringing the good ones closer to implementation and commercialization.

Prizes can also spur cross sector collaboration and the sharing of knowledge between industries. A study completed by the Harvard Business School, Copenhagen Business School and InnoCentive, evaluated the trends of crowdsourced innovation solutions by looking at 166 scientific problems across industries, firms and countries between 2001 and 2005. It showed that most of the winning ideas came from problem solvers whose fields of expertise were furthest away from the problem. This conclusion turns the traditional frame of expertise on its head. No longer must we depend exclusively on astrophysicists to think about astrophysics, with the right level of creativity, dedication and teamwork anyone can take a shot at developing a good idea!

So what does this mean for cities?

As shocking as it may seem, Canadian municipalities have very few ways of making money. Aside from property taxes and user fees - there isn’t much else that cities can do for dollars, which may seem rather ironic given that the majority of Canadians resides in cities. Prize contests, however offer one way of financing creative problem solving for some of the biggest challenges faced by cities. And, rather than just paying companies to develop solutions, contests are encouraging investment in local residents.

Prizes also illustrate a growing a desire to change the dynamics of power in urban governance, by shifting the way that we understand expertise and how we access great ideas. Designing the most successful public space, bike share program or waste management system all require significant insights into the realm of behaviors, needs, and fears of the daily user. And often, it’s the people themselves who are best at knowing what will work – so why not let them be the experts?

A cautionary note:

While prize and contests may seem like a simple strategy for innovative solutions – it’s important to remember that not all problems are created equal - and many complex issues cannot be solved with a contest. The first thing to determine is whether the challenge presented can benefit from a prize format, why has it not yet been solved before and what structural or systemic barriers are getting in the way?

Another key concern about the prize process is selection and implementation - who is choosing the winners and how are their ideas being applied? Every idea still needs work to refine, customize and ensure local receptivity. We can’t assume that all crowdsourced ideas are good ones – the idea may fall flat on its face, even if it won the contest.

Building great cities is no small feat. It is a deliberate process that requires ambitious goals, experimentation, and even more importantly, a commitment to bringing new faces, perspectives and voices to the table. And with no beaten road to follow, we must be open to the full range of strategies or approaches to get there. Prizes are but one arrow in our quiver as city builders and engaged residents. If we continue to complement this innovative practice with other unique strategies, processes and collaborations, we may just uncover that next best city minded thing.

Useful links

  • Interested in running a challenge prize? Check out Challenge Prizes: A practice guide by Perrie Ballantyne at the Nesta Centre for Challenge Prizes.
  • Did you know that the City of Toronto ran a challenge prize earlier this year? See the 2014 NXT City Prize and learn about the winning idea (of over 120 submissions!), Yonge Redux.

Author: Jo Flatt works as a Senior Project Manager at Evergreen Cityworks and Consultant at The Next Practice, specializing in the fields of urban sustainability and change management strategies to support innovation across sectors.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of the city of Marietta.

Global #MapJam 2014 to Put the New Economy on the Map!

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On October 13th, the Sharing Cities Network will launch the Second Annual Global #MapJam to bring activists together in cities around the world to map grassroots sharing projects, cooperatives, community resources, and the commons where they live.

Mapping all of the shared resources in your city not only shows that another world is possible--it shows it’s already here! Asset maps are powerful organizing tools. They make community assets more visible, create a base for further community development, spark new collaborations, and illuminate openings for new projects to fill in the gaps. They also get a lot of web traffic! Depending on the size of your city, your map could easily get thousands of visits in just a few months after creating it.

Scheduled to coincide with New Economy Week, the Map Jam will launch on Indigenous People’s Day and continue for two weeks from Monday, October 13th - Sunday, the 27th.

Global #MapJam Day will take place on October 16th featuring a 24hr mapping ‘round the world across multiple continents and timezones

The second annual asset mapping event will build upon the tremendous success of last years campaign when 500 mappers partied together in 60 cities and made 50 maps in just 2 weeks launching the Sharing Cities Network in the process. Groups in many cities have already begun to step up and are planning to host #MapJams in Barcelona, Frankfurt, Hartford, Louisville, Nairobi and Rochester just to name a few and many groups from last year will be coming back together… who knew that mapping could be so much fun?

The #MapJam has received a broad base of support led by the Sharing Cities Network  and partners including: New Economy Coalition,US Solidarity Economy Network,Transition US,Center for a New American Dream,OuiShare,P2P Foundation,Post Carbon Institute,The People Who Share,Students Organizing for Democratic Alternatives,Solidarity NYC,Data Commons,  RIPESS (International Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy) and many other community and Sharing Cities groups.

Interested in organizing a #MapJam in your community? Or attending one? Please sign up here to get involved.

#MapJam’s are easy to organize and a small, dedicated group of people can get together for a few hours to map as many shared resources, cooperatives and sharing services in their city or town as possible. Like a musical jam, it should be fun, social, and jammers should find a groove as they work. Join the Sharing Cities Network facebook group to get the latest updates and meet other ‘map jammers’.

Join us to Put the New Economy on the Map!

Sign up now to host a #MapJam and you will be provided with a comprehensive Guide to Mapping, Webinar, Q&A/Support Calls and Promotional Materials to support the success of your local event.

New Economy Week 2014

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What would it take to build the economy we need, one that works for people, place, and planet?

New Economy Week is a public exploration of creative resistance – an opportunity to shine a light on the thousands upon thousands of efforts that everyday people are making right now to build a new kind of economy. 

From October 13-19, the New Economy Coalition (NEC) will be hosting live keynote panels, publishing powerful essays, and spotlighting member events (open-houses, info-sessions, film screenings, panel discussions, pot-lucks, etc.) from across the US and Canada — with the goal of raising the profile of those doing this work and diving into some of the questions that stand between us and a New Economy.

NEC has partnered with YES! Magazine online to share some of the best responses to their 'questions of the day':

1. How can we honor and learn from the rich histories of communities building New Economy institutions on the frontlines of fights for racial, economic, and environmental justice?

2. How can we catalyze public conversation about the need for systemic change and the viability of economic alternatives that put people and the planet first?

3. How can we connect and learn from successful experiments, pilot projects, and campaigns to build broad-based power and effect deep transformation at scale?

4. How do we transition to a renewable economy without leaving the workers, young people, and communities most impacted by extractive industries behind?

5. How can we support neighborhoods, cities, towns, and regions as the fertile ground for the kind of economy we need?

Get Involved!

We invite you to join these conversations online and to host some conversations of your own in your community.

Artist Roundtable with Mark Prier

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Mark Prier, artist
John English, historian
Rosemarie De Clerck-Floate, scientist
and Gordon Knox, museum director

Thursday, September 11, 7pm
MusagetesOffice @ 6 Dublin Street South, Guelph
Free admission

Are you curious about what goes on behind the scenes when an artist develops a project? Are you keen to discover how art can connect the dots between many diverse fields? Ever wondered how an artistic project can contribute to social change or how social change can influence art? Perhaps you are an artist who wants to expand the scope of your own practice, an inquisitive soul researching interdisciplinarity, or a creative type who is thinking deeply about resilience. The Artist Roundtable is a new way for folks like you to explore these questions.

On September 11 at 7pm Musagetes is hosting the first of a series of international roundtables in which artists can share their ideas and projects with scientists, historians, Aboriginal leaders, policymakers, politicians, community organizers, and social movement leaders. This inauagural roundtable will feature Mark Prier, a Mississauga-based multimedia artist, who will present his ecological, species-based projects to a panel of respondents. His ongoing project, Grey County Pastoral: Proton Township Exclosure, is a living installation that attempts to restore a historically-documented forest in southern Ontario on one acre of land. Prier creates miniature, nearly virtual versions of the history of our natural environment, letting us experience what our region was like before settlers colonized the land. Prier has a particular interest in forest ecologies and the dynamic between native and invasive species in Ontario. The Artist Roundtable is a chance to dig deeper into this artist’s process and project development.


Grey County Pastoral: Proton Township Exclosure, 2012-present. Image credit: Mark Prier

Taking inspiration from the UN Climate Summit set to begin on September 23 in New York, the roundtable discussion will focus on aspects of climate change, an interest of Mark Prier our three respondents:

  • John English is an historian, author, former politician, and expert on international affairs. He recently published Ice and Water, a history of the Arctic Council.
  • Rosemarie De Clerck-Floate is an entomologist and biocontrol scientist based in Lethbridge, Alberta.
  • Gordon Knox is the director of the Arizona State University Art Museum, former director of the Stanford Humanities Lab, and an expert on artist residencies internationally.

These four roundtable participants will engage in a conversation that takes its cue from a presentation of Prier’s past and ongoing projects. The evening event will be moderated by Jeanne Wikler, a New York-based expert on cultural diplomacy and an artist coach who enables artists to take their work into new and unusual forums. Wikler was recently the Dutch cultural attaché to New York (2001-2007) and to Paris (2009-2013).


Survival Walk (performance), 2008. Photo Credit: Philip Norman Robbins









Musagetes developed this Artist Roundtable approach in collaboration with Todd Lester, a New York and São Paulo-based artist and activist who has dedicated his career to supporting and enabling socially engaged artists around the world. He is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute (where he made the Arts-Policy Nexus) and founder of both freeDimensional and Lanchonete.org, an experimental artist engagement program and cooperative restaurant in São Paulo.

The Artist Roundtable is an experiment of Musagetes and Cities for People. The co-creative team—which includes cheyanne turions, Musagetes, Todd Lester, and Ryan Doherty—is curating a program of activities in Guelph Area and Lethbridge. Cities for People understands each city to be a unique ecosystem, and like any ecosystem, a city’s strength and resilience depends on its ability to nurture the full diversity of its inhabitants and give them what they need not just to survive, but thrive. Cities For People sees every city as an invitation: an invitation for interaction, innovation, change, inclusion, learning, love and growth; an invitation to come up with new ways to make the cities we live in support how we would like to live. We invite you to deepen this conversation about cities and resilience with us at the Artist Roundtable.

Mark Prier’s multimedia art examines the interaction between culture, ecology, and survival. Working from diverse sources, such as folklore, geology, history, and botany, he rearticulates this examination into various media, including installation, new media, performance, sound, and video. His exhibitions include shows in Canada (The Rooms, Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre, White Water Gallery, Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener & Area), Mexico (Kunsthaus Santa Fé), United Kingdom (the Lost O), and the United States (City Without Walls, and [Untitled] Artspace). He has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council. In 2008, he travelled to Gotland, Sweden for the Brucebo Summer Residency; and, in 2012, he travelled to Crowsnest Pass, Alberta for Trap/door Artist-Run Centre’s Gushul Studio & Collaboration Residency. A 2004 graduate of University of Toronto’s Visual Studies program, Prier also took part in HotBox Riverwood’s mentorship program with Reinhard Reitzenstein in 2011. As half of the electronica duo hellothisisalex, Prier has played the MUTEK Festival in Montreal, done commissions for CBC Radio, and taken part in the National Film Board of Canada’s Minus 40 project.

Musagetes is an international organization that strives to make the arts more central and meaningful in peoples' lives, in our communities, and in our societies. Musagetes works in Guelph, Sudbury, Lecce (Italy), and Rijeka (Croatia) to demonstrate how art can be participatory and socially engaged, to establish a greater sense of belonging in communities. 

Two Months, Twenty Cities, One Movement – The Blue Dot Tour

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The David Suzuki Foundation has announced the Blue Dot Tour - a cross-country celebration featuring David Suzuki and a star-studded line up of Canadian performers, artists and leaders.

They are doing this to  promote a simple idea: That all Canadians should have the legally recognized right to drink clean water, breathe fresh air and eat healthy food.

From September 24 to November 9, 2014, David Suzuki and the Blue Dot Tour will take this message on the road. With stops in 20 communities from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Vancouver, B.C., this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed.

As David makes his way across the country, he'll be joined by other Canadian icons who believe that by coming together to take action locally, we can guarantee all Canadians the right to a healthy environment no matter who they are, or where they live.

David says this is the most important thing he’s ever done.  Around the world, more than 110 nations already recognize their citizen's right to live in a healthy environment. Canada is not one of them. But by standing together, The David Suzuki Foundation believes we change that.

Visit www.bluedot.ca for dates, line-ups, and tickets.

For more information, contact the David Suzuki Foundation at 1-800-453-1533


Photo credit: Bluedot.ca

July 17th is #iCollday!

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OuiShare is proud to be organizing their second International Collaboration Day this month, with over 45 co-working spaces hosting open co-working days and talks about connecting and collaborating. Join the community at events in London, Barcelona, Paris, Cordoba, Sevilla, Valencia, Donostia, Nice, Frankfurt and many more!

iCollDay is a set of globally-connected events – facilitated by co-working spaces – to build collaborative relationships across all sectors and disciplines.

The inaugural iCollDay took place on 16th January 2014 and saw 45 co-working communities in 30 cities from New Zealand to San Fran participate.

>> Add your event here
>> See all events


OuiShare is a think and do-tank with the mission to empower citizens, public institutions and companies to create a collaborative economy: an economy based on sharing, collaboration and openness, relying on horizontal networks and communities. Learn more about OuiShare here


 Photo Credit: What's Up?

Sparks of the New Economy at 100-in-1 Day

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On Saturday June 7th, citizens in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Montreal created acts of urban change as part of 100-in-1 Day, a movement uniting people across the nation to make cities better. Each Canadian city hosting the event was fortunate to witness an outpouring of engagement. Two numbers tell the story: A total of 460 interventions took place across Canada - many more than the stated target of 100. Halifax had five times as many actions (on a per capita basis) as any of the other cities. Go Halifax!

We’ve taken a closer look at some of the interventions that have new economies at their heart. New economies are about taking a holistic perspective on the nature and origins of wealth, and evaluating the ways in which economies can work for people and the planet through shared, just, and lasting prosperity. This includes fair trade, the sharing economy, collaborative consumption, alternative measures of progress and wellbeing, social enterprise, and social finance.


Toronto featured 174 interventions, including one on the reclamation of public space. In the People's Queen Street, people occupied parking spaces on a major street, and filled the spaces with grass, hammocks, back yard patio furniture and games. Similarly, public spaces came alive with people participating in public poetry (Halifax), hosting a piano picnic (Vancouver) and hosting a potluck in a park

In Halifax, 52 interventions took place. In one, people shared ideas for a new tool library...

“Setting up on the street and selling hot dogs was a great opportunity to raise awareness about the Tool Library in the community where it will be located. We received useful input on our lending policies and some neighbours took the opportunity to donate tools. Like many of our engagements, the most fulfilling aspect was watching people come to grips with the concept of a Tool Library for the first time. We hope it will spark other ideas for the resources we can share.” Halifax Tool Library

Montreal was also buzzing with energy as over 87 interventions took place in the urban fabric - even families got into the action, planting a garden that would encourage eating their leafy greens...and plenty of muddy playtime. One of the 83 interventions in Vancouver was the Match Maker booth hosted by Kits Space Projects at Vancouver's Maker Faire. It provided an opportunity for makers to connect with the Strathcona Resource Exchange where business waste is repurposed for creative projects and new economies...and people see what’s possible when waste is recognized as a resource.

Citizen actions explored the links between the economy and ecology in Toronto: people came together to discuss what engineering means to them; they walked through a ravine while pondering the effective integration of nature and people.

Interventions encouraged local and indigenous food consumption, including by designing a First Nations Indigenous Garden, by holding a permaculture blitz, growing an organic food forest (Vancouver), by distributing seed bombs, and by learning about urban beekeeping (Halifax).

And across the border in Boston, Canadian Justin Ritchie (nonprofit The Extraenvironmentalist) recorded a livestream of the New Economy Coalition conference, CommonBound. He interviewed Mike Lewis of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal. Other speakers from Canada include Béatrice Alice of Chantier de l’économie sociale and Mike Toye of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDnet). Web: http://commonbound.org/register


The One Earth team took to the streets of Vancouver to discuss new economies, talking with people to figure out what “real wealth” means to citizens. Our question, “What does real wealth mean to you?” generated interesting responses like, “people reclaiming their power”, “access to sports”, “being in love”, “accomplishing your goals”, and “kindness”. An 88 year old pensioner we spoke with said that real wealth “is loving what you do”, while a 5 year old girl confidently stated with that “snails” make her feel wealthy.

These genuine responses to understanding wealth brought to light an important aspect to consider while re-evaluating our current economic system. They reveal that wealth is a state of being, and not necessarily a state of ownership. This is what the new economy is striving to highlight through these generative discussions on the roots of value, money, and exchange.

Economics has traditionally been about understanding the allocation of scarce resources - but what we saw on June 7th was an abundance of happiness, enthusiasm and connection, not scarcity. The intangible qualities of what real wealth can mean - creativity, innovation, equality, participation, capacity, and ability - all expand the more they are used. These are important to keep in mind when thinking about what we want our present and future to look like, and how economies should be understood and measured.

Our commons don’t need to become a tragedy - they can, instead, be bountiful and rewarding shared assets. 100 in 1 Day showed that through people coming together to act, express, engage, connect and design what they want to see in the world, we join together on the path to manifesting that reality.


Cities for People will continue to explore the different ways in which we all engage with new economies. Sign up on our mailing list to receive updates and invitations to future events, access to insightful discussions, and prizes.

Click the following links to get involved in the upcoming events:

- Sharefest TO, July 16, Toronto

- New Economy Week, 12-18 October

- Cities for People Toronto Leadership Summit, 12 November, Toronto

You can also sign up to watch the recorded livestream from the new economy conference by CommonBound June 4-6th, Boston.

Photo credit: Lucy Gao