Media Release – TEDx Comox Valley: Revealing Hidden Local Talents

On Thursday, May 23rd Imagine Comox Valley once again organised and presented a TEDx event.

(TEDx = an independently organised TED event.)

You can view some images from the event here, or alternatively you can visit the event page on Facebook.com and see some comments and feedback there. Thanks to the steady hand and skilled eye of Blue Bamboo Productions you can also view a video clip of each of the talks in this Youtube Playlist. Or you can view them below…

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The organisers wish to extend their heartfelt thanks to Michael Fountain and Dan Peruzzo of Blue Bamboo Productions, and highly recommend them to anyone looking for videography services.

TEDx Comox Valley: Revealing Hidden Local Talents

The folks behind Imagine Comox Valley and the latest TEDx Comox Valley event would like to extend their gratitude to every member of our community that attended our event focusing on revealing hidden local talents. We gathered close to $450 in donations and exposed a crowd of more than 60 people to some ideas that were well worth spreading.

The organisers ask that anyone who attended the event please consider giving us some feedback by completing a short survey.

Imagine Comox Valley uses Elevate to Explore Use of Public Spaces

Two years ago world renowned leader in livable communities, Gil Peñalosa, was invited by the Comox Valley Cycling Task Force and the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition to imagine how the Comox Valley could become a truly ‘people-friendly’ community. Mr Peñalosa met with local community leaders and presented to a packed Native Sons hall on examples of how communities designed for people can function differently from communities designed for cars.

Citing research and tangible examples, Peñalosa explained how communities built around the automobile discourage active forms of transportation, contribute to the trend in North American obesity and other negative public health outcomes, create unsafe spaces for people, including vulnerable users such as children and seniors, create sprawling land use patterns and associated expensive infrastructure, as well as exercise a heavy toll on the environment.

Imagine Comox Valley was inspired by the tangible examples of the creative use of public space and initiated the Valley’s first and second Car Free Sundays as one of the identified “easy actions” recommended out of Peñalosa’s visit.

“In most communities, roads are our most expansive and expensive public space,” says Andrew Gower, board director of Imagine Comox Valley. “Imagine Comox Valley (ICV) saw an opportunity to host a Car Free Sunday as a tried and true event to raise awareness about our collective vision for these spaces and to physically bring people together. It was a lot of fun, we literally had people dancing in the streets!”

Car Free Sundays were held in both Courtenay and Cumberland in the fall of 2011 and again in the spring of 2012. The events inspired live music, chalk art, tango in the streets, stilt walkers, community booths, skateboard demos, garage sales, store specials, roller derby demos, restaurant deals and many other initiatives. While ICV spearheaded the event by organizing the road closure permit process, the event was community-driven and was successful due to the participation of numerous businesses, sports groups, artists and musicians, community animators and organizations.

“We had our share of controversy over the event,” acknowledges Gower. “We know that some residents felt it inconvenient that certain roads had restricted car use, but overall the feedback over the event was quite positive. And the road closures were limited to half a day. I’d say we were successful in raising awareness about a community service that is easy to take for granted.”

elevate_logoDespite this success, ICV will not be hosting a Car Free Sunday event for 2013. Instead, the group is using the Elevate the Arts event in downtown Courtenay to provide examples of creative uses of public space such as a temporary installation of a half pipe and a number of temporary ‘parking stall’ parks. ICV will also be providing an opportunity through the ‘Start Here’ community engagement arts project for residents to describe how their public spaces could be ‘enlivened’ to contribute to their quality of life.

MASC_Start-Here-logo_web‘Start Here’ is a community engagement project developed by CVAG in partnership with Imagine Comox Valley, the North Island College Fine Art Department, Highland Secondary, Elevate the Arts and a number of community animators. The highly interactive display will be housed at CVAG and uses a range of media to explore individual and group perceptions of the Valley. ICV will be contributing ‘Be Heard - Masked or Unmasked’, a videography opportunity that enables people to tell their stories. Participants are invited to sit in a tent where they have the option to wear a mask, and tell their story and vision for the Comox Valley to the video screen. Similar to a ‘speakers corner’, the installation provides a seemingly intimate space where imagination can let loose and visions are held. The ‘data’ from the entire ‘Start Here’ event will be used by ICV to create a multi-media presentation of a co-created vision that may be available at CVAG and other venues in the future.

“ICV saw a tremendous opportunity to harness the creative ideas from the community through the Start Here project,” says Pieter Vorster, board director of ICV. “Our organization’s mission is to help people re-imagine the Comox Valley as a truly sustainable place, for everyone. In order to help do that, we have to have a baseline ‘snapshot’ of what people care about in their community and what they think about on the day to day. Start Here will provide data for that snapshot.”

ICV intends to host a Car Free Sunday event in 2014 and will showcase the information that was collected during this year’s Elevate the Arts and ‘Start Here’ project.

 

YMP Intro: How do you imagine the future of the Comox Valley?

Over eight weeks a team of Comox Valley Youth were immersed in learning digital media-making and employability skills at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, resulting in nine original videos which dare to imagine a bold and original future for the Comox Valley. Issues as diverse as sustainability, accessibility, street art and play were examined - and no video screening would be complete without Zombies!

2013YMP-Participants

Comox Valley Art GallerylogoThe Youth Media Project (YMP), sponsored by the Comox Valley Art Gallery through the Government of Canada’s Skills Link Program provided a range of new skills training for nine youth who faced barriers to employment. This pilot project began January 28, 2013 and ended March 22, 2013. It assisted youth in developing life and employability skills through group-based learning. The YMP featured workshops with guest media-makers as well as from the project partners: The Wachiay Friendship Center, Imagine Comox Valley and the Creative Employment Access Society.

Throughout the project youth received training in digital video production, graphic design and animation through the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s media lab, and engaged with key community leaders in discussions surrounding social justice, cultural heritage and community participation. The participants then created group-based video projects that express unique visions of change within the Comox Valley. Alongside the video, participants developed an employment action-plan and resume/portfolio. By completing the program activities youth reportedly experienced reduced barriers to employment and increased ability to enter and participate in the labour market.

Imagine Comox Valley was delighted to play a role in this process and was deeply impressed with the quality of the productions and the social comments they made. Have a look at the links below to view the videos here on our website:

  1. PUSH TO OPEN by Alex Carey
  2. BAGWATLA by Colin Beans
  3. IT’S NOT JUST A TREND by Charlotte Conley
  4. NEW VILLAGE GALLERY by Carrie Poborsa-Cox
  5. WALKING THE VISION by Chantal Solomon
  6. CENTRE. ENTER. by Erich Magdzik
  7. FINDING THE POTENTIAL WITHIN by Hadley Zaborniak
  8. ZOMBIE WALK by Shane Colclough
  9. OASIS by Tim Tran

Alternatively you can show the Comox Valley Art Gallery some online love by viewing the entire playlist of videos on their Youtube Channel.

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