I’m off to MaRS! In February I started working at MaRS along with the fine folks at Social Innovation Generation working on some education files. I’m also going to be working with the new MaRS Education Initiative setting up school programs and events. Look for more events hosted by both The Treehouse Group and MaRS in the upcoming months.
Our first planned series is going to be Treehouse Talks, a series of eclectic talks held on the first Friday of every month. The rules: 15 minutes, no Powerpoint, no boundaries. The first one is on March 5: check out www.treehousetalks.com for details.
My partner and I are smug in our new house in Hillcrest. It’s been a good opportunity to explore the book Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard. He introduces the reader to the world of “topoanalysis,” by which he means a “psychological study of the sites of our intimate lives.” He explores those hazy memories we have our our childhood homes, and how they change as we grow up. He presents the house as a site for day-dreaming, a safe refuge from an often hostile world, and examines this image with other comparisons: nests, shells, boxes, wardrobes (think Narnia), attics, vestibules, and any hidden space you used as a child to create a safe, imaginary world. This reminded me of the magical “tree caves” that have been hollowed out in the trunks of old redwoods in Northern California.
This summer I was pleased to contribute an article for the July 2009 edition of the Open Source Business Resource. I wrote about the practice of collaborating across disciplines. Businesses that want to survive need to borrow ideas from other fields of study, or they’ll get swamped by group-think.
“In our current economic quagmire, it has become a truism to appeal to innovation and “outside-the-box” thinking to allow companies to survive. But organizations that are not practised at this will struggle. They will hire the same consultants and read the same industry analyses and demographic studies without ever bumping up against the sides of their boxes, let alone breaking through.”
This summer, we traveled to Thunder Bay and enjoyed the view of the city from the top of Mount McKay at the city’s South End. The view of lake Superior and the city itself is magnificent, but what really caught my eye was a sculpture honouring First Nations ancestry. Two wooden carved First Nations women, painted yellow, gaze out to the East towards the sleeping giant, over the Fort William First Nation Reserve. In Ojibway, Mount McKay is called Animiki wadjiw, meaning “Mountain Abode of Thunder,” which sounds pretty impressive.
We just got back from a trip through America’s second city, Chicago. It’s a city very much like Toronto (that is, if Toronto had the civic pride and courage to invest in infrastructure). Three tips for travelling to Chicago:
1. Look for the federal prison, an orange skyscraper located in the Loop nestled between the office towers;
2. Go and see Jennifer and the rest of the band play “dueling pianos” at the Howl at the Moon on Fuller;
3. Deep-dish pizza is greasier than you think;