Ignite Culture Toronto

Culture talks for geeks begin at inaugural Ignite Culture Toronto

A TED-talk style networking event for Toronto culture geeks? Don't mind if they do. This past Thursday, "culture enthusiast" Jenn Nelson ran Toronto's first ever Ignite Culture night, inspired by the Seattle-born Ignite movement. Held at the ING Cafe, with its orange, "deconstructed MAC" aesthetic, 12 speakers were invited to speak for five minutes each as their slides advanced automatically every 15 seconds. From mitten collections to the social nuances of DJ culture, here's a rundown of what was covered.

Joseph Travers: Tweed Rides: Who Are These People?
Travers helped organize Toronto's first Tweed Ride, and had the balls to stand up and admit it. The charitable fundraiser got people to dress up in checkered Tweed from the Edwardian era and ride bicycles like the historical elite. Proceeds went to Bikes Without Borders. Ideal for cyclists (obviously), fashionistas, steampunk folks, swing dancers and history buffs.

Karina Bergmans: The Phenomenon of the Lost Mitten.
Where have all the mittens gone? Ottawa artist Karina Bergman described how she collected, analyzed and sorted lost hand apparel. When the ads she placed in local papers failed to reunite mittens with their owners, she was inspired to build a mitten-based sleeping bag and a Lost Mitten Mountain. Follow her @KBergmans.

James Fowler: 10×10.
The 10x10 Project is a photography exhibit (guess the size!) dedicated to queer Canadians in the arts. This year it will be held at the Gladstone Hotel. Previous works have showcased Toronto's Queer West art scene, silicone diaries and actions of hyper-masculinity.

Katie Urban: How Ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia helped shape 1920's & 30s Culture.
What do you learn in art graduate school? Probably something like this.

Ryan Dodge: Mobile Interpretation in Museums.
How can modern museums create what the industry calls "oh cool, check this out" moments? Ryan discussed the ways to keep museums relevant in an era where so much information is available online. In a speech read off of his smartphone, Ryan discussed how museums could allow broader access to their works across several platforms including mobile technology.

Benedict San Juan: The Evolution of Coffee Culture
A barista by night, San Juan discussed the second most popular beverage in North America, and "what makes it so awesome." Is it because coffee is one of the only legal psychoactive drugs? Or its deep history in Northern Africa? Finally, some relief for those who stayed up late worrying about how the Enlightenment and World War II affected coffee culture.

Emma Jenken: Pretty Old Buildings
A look at the history of old Toronto buildings including nearby 205 Yonge Street, which was based on a Greco-Roman temple. Apparently banks used to want to look as strong and long-lasting as empires.

Alison Deplonty: The Moral of the Story is....
That everything is a story.Deplonty told us how museums could use narrative to help visitors and tour guides alike, and what the lines meant on Hudson's Bay towels.

Michael Page: Fail Culture
How to fail better. Page talks building strong teams and making the best out of bold, boastful mistakes. Impassioned life advice on incremental long-term change from a fundraiser with special guest advice from Samuel Beckett.

Kendall Wooding: How Being an Awesome DJ Can Make You an Awesome Communicator
A radio professional and DJ for over 22 years, Kendall offered an inside look at the delicate social games needed to succeed as a DJ. For Kendall, communication is key in "DJ gospel."

Vanessa Rieger: The White House Studio Project
The White House Studio Project offers a studio space for over 70 artists in the area. To fundraise, Rieger worked on a haunted house art show.

Julian Kingston: Are Museums Broken?
In short, "Nope." The former director of education and programs at the ROM discussed museums' self-image problems and why museums think they suck. He also mentions how the ROM once lost an entire dinosaur. An.Entire.Dinosaur. Kingston is currently with Theoria Cultural Thinkers.

If you missed the inaugural Ignite Culture Toronto be sure to follow them on Twitter to find out when the next one is happening.


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