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Messages from MaRS : Weeks 1 and 2

January 22, 2014

In the past two weeks, I’ve had a conversation with my 30-year old self, tried a fresh coconut and climbed all the stairs in the Toronto General Hospital. I’ve been sent on a reconnaissance mission for paper lanterns, seen a dream about Hamilton start to take shape and visited a Ford-supporting couple in an ICU (we talked about reality television). I’ve been dressed less colourfully than a Provincial Minister. I’ve lost shoes and found them. I’ve paced the pavement of a city I swore I’d never love, and swore as I started falling in love with it. I shifted my gaze from the glow of Yonge and Dundas to the eerie warm fog rising from a sewer grate, and felt thankful that it was keeping a few people from freezing as they slept on the street.

Oh, and I’ve started something called Studio Y. These things may all be related.

“What’s Studio Y?” you ask, ever patient.

A freaking incredible chance to see what I can do and become when all the right supports are in place. A community of thirtyish practicing innovators, most between the ages of 18 and 28. We’re from all over Ontario and though we’re an incredibly diverse group, what brings us together is the idea that we need to change systems. We can’t just tweak and support what’s already in place because the kind of problems we’re facing – income inequality, environmental degradation, educational failures – are already cracking these systems to the core.

Every morning, I come into our basement office, a former recording studio, and say hi to a hackademic, a few poets, a ‘political animal’, a better business guru, food systems junkies, feminists, budding entrepreneurs, LGBTQ-concerned folk, management consultants, graphic designers, an urban planner, photographers, videographers and storytellers. And then we do stuff together.

I’m still trying to figure out my place here. Maybe I’ll be the collaboration architect of the group. Maybe I’ll spend 8 months creating a 3-D map of all the world’s problems and how they are co-dependent. Maybe I’ll learn how to use a 3-D printer. Maybe I’ll take up coding – for real this time…

“Okay,” you say, “enough of that! Where are the pictures?”

“Coming!” I say. “Next post!”

p.s. If you have questions, you can comment them below!

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