Future of Storytelling: OMDC Digital Dialogues Panel

OMDC Future of Storytelling Panel, Digital Dialogues Conference

Back in January 2017, I was invited to speak at the OMDC’s Digital Dialogue Conference, on a Future of Storytelling Panel. The talks throughout the day were terrific, with my highlights being:

the Morning Keynote by Jeffrey Cole, Director, Center for the Digital Future USC Annenberg School for Communication Trends, Fads, and Transformation, which if you want a primer on why Jeff Bezos & Amazon will be the global dominant player & company, start here.

And the always amazing Evan Jones, CEO of Stitch Media, &  Founder, Threads Audience Development, with a pivotal talk on ‘The Customer is Always Right: Using Big Data to Increase Discoverability and Retain Fans

The OMDC conference archive of talks is here.

And my own panel, with a very lively discussion can be viewed here: Panel: The Future of Storytelling

Moderator: Nigel Newton, Director (Canada), INDE Experience Engineering
Panel: 

  • Dr. Siobhan O’Flynn, Founder, NarrativeNow
  • David Caron, Co-publisher and President, ECW Press
  • Joanne Loton, Co-Founder & Executive Producer, Sesqui
  • David Brady, CEO, Cream Productions

 

Kensington Market & Heritage Designation featured in CBC post & I’m interviewed!

Max & Son: the original sign

The CBC has a great feature on new developments as to the Kensington Market Heritage Designation. In a really surprising show of unanimity, Toronto City Council voted 39-1 for a by-law halting demolition on ‘some’ commercial and mixed-use buildings in Kensington Market for one year. In spring 2016, the City commissioned a three year study, The Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District (HCD). From published reports to date, the goal is to develop a policy framework that can safeguard the neighbourhood’s important cultural heritage given the push to replace old low rise buildings with new mid- and high-rise condos.

Councillor JoeCressy, Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina, who brought the motion forward, is quoted: “So we’ve put in place the one year demolition freeze, which gives us that protection as we finalize and implement new heritage policies”

Local historian and long-time resident, Bruce Beaton, is also quoted:

“We’re not against change. That certainly is important to say,” Beaton said.

“People who live here realize historically that the place has always been changing,” says Beaton. “But a large scale change that might happen, say a large condo development, would change the environment here.”

And, I’m in here too!

The Space We Hold wins Peabody-Facebook Future of Media Award

The Space We Hold was awarded the Peabody Facebook Future of Media Award, 2017.  I was honoured to be invited to contribute to this project, as the subject of the imprisonment and sexual slavery of the three grandmothers was heartbreaking, challenging, and presciently timely in the release of the documentary and the interactive website, just before the watershed of #metoo .

The Space We Hold is an interactive meditation on and mediation of the NFB documentary, The Apology, directed by Tiffany Hsiung.  The feature documentary and interactive website challenge viewers and visitors with the challenge of listening to the stories of three elderly women who were held by the Japanese as ‘comfort women’ during World War II.

David Oppenheim (NFB Ontario Studio) who co-produced the project with Patricia Lee (Cult Leader), spoke of the challenges of the digital project:

“Tiffany’s feature film followed the incredible personal journeys of these three women, whether they were seeking a formal apology from the Japanese government or summoning the courage to finally share their secret with their families. We wanted to create an interactive documentary experience that engaged people in an act of listening that was unique in online spaces, where the challenges of reconciliation are so visible. And where we can begin to know what it means to listen to testimonies of sexual violence in a digital age.”

You can read more about the project in a Bell Fund case study here.

I am so honoured to have contributed and to be mentioned in the NFB announcement:

“We are so honoured and thrilled to win The #CdnScreenAward for Best Original Interactive Production with our co-producers The National Film Board of Canada.

Congratulations and thank-you to our stellar production team: Spence SKirk Clyne at Art & Science Digital Experience DesignTiffany BMatt Nish-LapidusEvelyne Au-NaviozRoman LifshitzDafydd Hughes#StaceyMayFowlesMarjorie ChanSiobhan O’FlynnMilena Vujanovic, Priam Givord.”

The Space We Hold was also honoured with the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Best Original Interactive Production 2017.

Text from the Peabody-Facebook Award website:

‘The Peabody Media Center at the University of Georgia has named six winners of this year’s Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Awards for outstanding digital storytelling released in 2017. This year’s winners mark innovative strides in VR storytelling, in mobile books, and in data-journalism, as well as an interactive documentary marked by technological innovation in “witnessing.”’

Kensington Market: Hidden Histories in Science Rendezvous 2018

This Saturday May 12, 2018, I will be showcasing Kensington Market: Hidden Histories in The SciArt Gallery, a feature exhibition in Sidney Smith Hall, UToronto, St. George St. entrance.

Looking forward to sharing our fantastic S.T.E.A.M. project, augmented reality app and interactive maps, with student scientists, future students and the curious. Stop by if you’re in the area! 11 am to 4 pm.

You can download the app on iTunes and Google Play. And because we are SO CLOSE to Kensington Market, you could walk to the Market to experience on the AR app on site.

The AR app & maps were created for CDN355 Digital Tools, Canadian Studies Program, University College, University of Toronto and information on the course is here.

Description of Science Rendezvous’ 2018 theme from the website:

“For 2018, the unifying theme of SR is “Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!” and emphasis will be put on the Art that appears in all disciplines of S.T.E.M. From the vibrant shapes and colours of diverse living organisms, to the graceful designs of aerodynamic vehicles, and the stars and planets that paint our night sky, 2018 will see the inauguration of the SciArt Gallery. The SciArt Gallery will host artists from the Toronto area whom have been inspired by S.T.E.M. to create different forms of art. Here, artists will be encouraged to engage attendants in discussion about their work and what aspect(s) of science inspired them to start creating.”

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Heritage Award for Kensington Market: Hidden Histories Students!

Student researchers for Kensington Market: Hidden Histories augmented reality app recognized with Lieutenant Governer’s Youth Achievement Ontario Heritage Award

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Canadian Studies students received a Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement, presented by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (second from right) and Harvey McCue, Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust (far right).(Ian Crysler, courtesy of the Ontario Heritage Trust)

My UoT students received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement from the Ontario Heritage Trust 2017!

I was absolutely delighted & honoured to attend the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award Ceremony at Queen’s Park, Feb. 23, 2017, where students from my Canadian Studies course were given the award by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Ontario Heritage Trust chair Harvey McCue.

The story is now featured on the UoT Faculty of Arts & Science homepage. A few excerpts from Sean Bettam’s article:

“The Kensington Market: Hidden Histories app, which guides users through a dynamic tour of 12 locations in Toronto’s historic Kensington Market and brings to life the layers of stories embedded in the area, was made possible by students in University College’s Digital Tools in a Canadian Context course. A companion online interactive map archives histories of a total of 32 locations.”

“Receiving this award felt like it wasn’t just recognizing us students, but also the sites and locations in Kensington Market featured in our project,” said fourth-year student Arabhi Ratnajothy. “It is a reminder that so much of this city was built by immigrants who engrained themselves and their stories into the paths walked by today’s generations. We move towards the future by remembering the past.”

“Being selected for this award is such a terrific boost and affirmation for each of the students,” said course instructor Siobhan O’Flynn. “Having the opportunity to work on a project, be engaged in original research and contribute to the safeguarding of our city’s intangible cultural heritage as undergraduates is remarkable.”

“Throughout my years in the Canadian Studies program, I was always impressed by the fascinating research projects we were able to take part in with some amazing professors,” said recent graduate Nicole Paroyan. “I am so glad that a project spearheaded by Professor O’Flynn was recognized this way. None of this would have been possible without her.”

Simon Staffans’ Year in Review 2018 is up! Honoured to be included!

I’m honoured to be included again in Simon Staffan’s Year in Now Media 201. 2017 felt like a year of tectonic / techtonic shifts – the US election hack, #metoo, blockchain, and more. And it feels like it’s time for big thinks at a McLuhanesque scale. Glad to be a part of this & looking forward to reading my fellow contributors. You can also download the iBook on iTunes:

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Simon Staffans’ Year in Now Media 2018