Talking Maker Expo with Weird Canada


DW here. This is my friend Marie LeBlanc Flanagan. She is the Executive Director and Editor in Chief of Weird Canada, which you’ve hopefully heard about and certainly should follow and support because:

“Weird Canada exists to encourage, connect, and document creative expression across Canada.”

Cribbed from Marie’s personal About page: “As the executive director of Weird Canada, I incorporated the organization as a National Nonprofit, transitioned the site to bilingualism, obtained a 50K grant to build a nationwide store and distribution service, recruited over 300 new volunteers (from Victoria to Nunavut), ran a successful drive to win “Best Independent Music Website in Canada” (CBC3) and introduced policy and dialogue relating to accessibility, openness, and inclusivity.”

She’s the real deal. We sat down at DVLB on Monday to talk about Maker Expo. In the spirit of symbiosis, I’m hoping the ME effort can increase visibility on the awesome work Weird Canada is doing. We’re looking to WC to help inform and guide our efforts on inclusivity. In my last post here, I talked about our diversity model, acknowledging that we really need help to get this right. Thinking about that model made me think about a conversation I had with Marie last year. She mentioned how difficult but also how essential to WC’s mission it was to only publish Weird Canada content when it can be delivered in both French and English. Maker Expo doesn’t (yet) have language in our diversity model, but I really liked the spirit of that and it’s origin in seems-like-the-right-thing-to-do. Click through for a few more thoughts, but first the TL;DR of the Day (you know what I’m going to say):

APPLY NOW to be an exhibiting maker at Maker Expo 2015!

#1 question I get on the street, and most recently from Jeff MacIntyre last night: “what do you mean maker?”

Here it is, by way of more non-exhaustive examples: my Mom is a maker of knitted things. Andrew Bass of kwartzlab makes giant geared wooden clocks. Duncan Finnigan makes films. Sandra Dunn blacksmiths makerly goodness. David Jensenius makes sound art installations. Cathy Farwell makes chemically-transformed copper-clad sculpture. Peter Moir makes the coolest signs in town. Ravi Baboolal makes fighting robots with spinning wheels of robot-death made from Adamantium. You get the idea. When in doubt: assume you are a maker. Apply right now. Only 27 days left. Ok, back to Marie and Weird Canada…


Here’s the #1 thing I like about Weird Canada: they do stuff. Actually do. They walk the talk. I first met Marie last year at a gig set up by my good friend, the ever-awesome Cathy Brothers of Capacity Canada. Cathy asked a bunch of us from around WR to set up at The Tannery and talk to the latest cohort of Studio Y activators out of the MaaRS program. Ever since Cathy wore cardboard earrings to help me the first time we met, I am up for helping her in any way possible. Marie and I traded contact info there and shortly after, she looped me in on a Drawathon that her and her co-conspirator Aaron Levin cooked up at KWAG. More recently, Marie made stuff happen with National Drone Day, which is not about flying machines, but rather about celebrating drone music. It culminated locally in a rooftop party of drone-music-playin’ bands. This kind of Getting Shit Done is very much what Maker Expo is all about, too.


Marie brought this sheet of stuff-happening-here and we talked a bit about how you get people to know about all these great opportunities. My on-going thread is around how do we get everyone to take ownership for their own cultural engagement?


While we grapple with the broader questions, we must work on the nuts and bolts of doing stuff, which of course feeds back into the bigger picture. Do/Learn/Adjust/Repeat/Evolve all while making. We’re gonna need more coffee to sort out the details of how to connect Weird Canada with Maker Expo, but this was a great start.

Finally: please apply to be an exhibiting maker. Thanks.


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