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Interaction & Gyrations: Day 2 of the CYCC Knowledge Mobilization Simulation

March 11, 2013

Day 2

Today, I’ve eaten chowder and impersonated a cop. Here’s what else happened…

Woke up at 6:30 am because I was NOT going to stand Egan up at the gym. I stumbled down the hallway and into the weight room, only to find… no one! Apparently, the time change threw him off. By the time he came into the gym, I was into my cooldown! It felt awful at first, but eventually wonderful to be up and moving that early. And I got to prove myself to the young’un.

After a pretty big breakfast (and a lot of conversation about body tattoos and half-shaved hairstyles), we were again in a van headed to Peggy’s Cove. Driving our van was Janice, the research and evaluation coordinator of the CYCC. She just came back from Sierra Leone and was telling us a little bit about her role with the network: to provide network partners with the tools and processes they can use to evaluate their services independently and accurately.

This type of serious talk mingled with full out ‘jams’ in the car. We were blasting hip hop and learning the surprising amount of moves you can pull of while seat-belted, courtesy of Yves and Egan. The pounding beats felt a little out of sync with the ruggedly beautiful landscape flying by outside our windows, but I took it in stride.

We had brought a video camera with us to record our experience at Peggy’s Cove, and ended up using it to shoot a version of the Harlem Shake (a new dance craze that begins with one person doing a silly dance, while all others in the shot pretend nothing is going on. Then, the music changes and a lot of frenzied, dancing, strangely dressed people appear. We couldn’t really ‘appear’, but we sure did dance silly). I’m sure the video will be up eventually.

Jimmy also had a chance to tell us more about his role with UNESCO – an organization committed to preventing future war by fostering global understanding and acceptance of different cultures. He’s a member of the Youth Advisory Committee in Canada. Pretty awesome stuff.

Our first stop was the memorial for the Swissair 111 crash that happened just a few miles from Peggy’s Cove. The monument is beautfiful – stark and architectural. The mood was pretty jovial, though. Here are a few shots.


Then, we were at Peggy’s Cove. It was pretty nippy, but it was lovely to be scrambling among the rocks. Here are a few more photos:


We stopped for an excellent lunch at the Sou Wester café – steps away from the lighthouse. On a recommendation from Catherine (observant readers will remember her from Day 1), I ordered the chowder and the warm gingerbread. Let’s just say I was very grateful to her.


We had to be back for a meeting at 3, so we soon shepherded ourselves back in the van and to the hotel. A quick break and we were in a conference room, sitting in on the Knowledge Mobilization Subcommittee Meeting. These 20 folks: academics from different universities, leaders of non-profit organizations and people who wear multiple hats, had prepared extensive reports on ‘best practices’ (lessons that may be applicable for many different programs/organizations) relating to youth and violence, youth and technology and youth engagement. While I felt a little out of place at the meeting, it was interesting to see how such a large body of researchers and practitioners were able to discuss and move forward with their projects.

Then, it was the meet and greet. The room was buzzing with conversation as the rest of the 60 or so delegates showed up and started to introduce themselves, or catch up. I talked with quite a few incredible people. I met Patrice, who has been working at a pretty incredible service centre for street-involved/homeless adults in Montreal called “Dans La Rue” (literally, “In the Street”) for the past 9 years. He told me that he has learned about being more human from the many people he interacts with. He also said that initially his greatest challenges lay in learning how to relate to people with experiences of homelessness, but now greater challenges lie with negotiating his role and place in a staff that is large enough to have internal politics. We talked about resistance to change – in a lot of different contexts.

Then, I met the treasurer of PeaceBuild, a (recently restructured) initiative out of Canada that pretty much does what I might like to do eventually, but on a different scale and in a different context. Lately, I’ve been really interested in brokering strategic partnerships – finding two organizations or individuals that could accomplish so much together but would likely never find each other. A ‘broker’ could then connect them and in exchange, get some kind of return from the ‘potential’ that is unleashed by the collaboration. I was thinking about this on a global scale, but really vaguely. What PeaceBuild does is broker these kinds of partnerships with organizations involved in peace activites in specific regions. They’re currently involved with a big project in Afghanistan, for example. It was incredible to find an example of what I dreamed about already happening (but not that surprising, I guess. Still, I was so inspired by it.)

At dinner, I happened to sit by David Phipps, who is highly involved in the Knowledge Mobilization research community (I had actually read a bunch of his journal club posts in preparation for the Simulation!). We talked about the role of systems thinking and systemic approaches to social innovation and I was able to tell him a little about the McMaster Social Innovation Lab. He gave me a good lead to follow up on – the Harvard Innovation Lab (their model is entirely student focused) and shared with me an exciting project in the works that would see community-generated social entrepreneurship projects supported by programs and resources specific to their needs.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a high density of exciting people here. And they’re a lot of fun.

After dinner, the ‘youth’ (I keep using quotations because we range in age from 15-28!) were briefed on the role we’ll be playing in the simulations tomorrow. We’ll be improv-ing skits based on the scenarios that will be examined, to set the tone for the types of role-playing that will follow. This is where the ‘impersonating a police officer’ part comes in! Improvisation is great. I missed it and I think other people should do it more too! We had a lot of fun with it, but at the same time we’re taking it pretty seriously. We’ll be creating the first impression of the simulation event. After the initial skit (a few minutes), teams (who have been strategically sat at different tables to ensure diversity) will act out scenarios of their own about the same people and issue. This is where people should have the chance to put their knowledge into practice, to propose and test out ideas with the ability to get 360-degree feedback from the people they’d be affecting with the decision/idea.

And, as perhaps you’re expecting by this time, we had a dance break 😛

An aborted games night attempt followed, but everyone seemed more interested in eating snacks and watching Youtube videos. Which was fine.


And now I’m here, writing it all down. I have a little more reading to do before tomorrow, but I’m seriously looking forward to seeing how everything will play out.

One Comment leave one →
  1. alannah permalink
    March 12, 2013 2:14 am

    this sounds so awesome brianna, i am sure you of anyone will make the most of this opportunity! i also appreciate the gingerbread to whipped cream ratio and your choice to bring those lovely yellow pants out east!!

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