I wonder what happens to geography and time when you hold your conference virtually? Part of the excitement of a conference or other meetings is the promise of the destination with new people and new adventures. Whether 2020 is a pause between in-person meetings, a moment when everything changed, or some combination is yet to be determined but perhaps ISEA2020 will be a harbinger.
I received a June 10, 2020 notice (via email) with the latest news about ISEA2020,
Montreal, June 10, 2020 —ISEA2020 from October 13 to 18, 2020 goes entirely digital, with an innovative experiential format.
The worldwide COVID-19 outbreak has forced ISEA2020 in Montreal to be postponed to October 13 to 18. The physical distancing measures put in place in many countries and the travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the pandemic mean that we cannot all be physically present in Montreal. Montreal Digital Spring (Printemps numérique) – the organizers of ISEA2020 – have thus decided to make the symposium a 100% online event. Our team is currently working on the platform that will allow us to come together, connect, and exchange knowledge and practices, despite the physical distance. We worked with our partners and collaborators, experts in art, design, science and technology to (if only begin to) reinvent the format of academic interdisciplinary conferencing!
Programming: ISEA2020 is a full week of research and creation, 100% online, with more than 300 international speakers and artists from over 40 countries.
Connecting: We are working on the online platform to ensure we meet ISEA’s core values of encouraging and promoting creative exchanges between diverse groups; of creating opportunities for networking and informal meetings, in addition to ensuring the good flow of panel sessions.
Programming for all the time-zones: From October 13 to 16, conference presentations will unfold over 16 consecutive hours each day, in order to include participants in all the time zones, from East Asia to the west Americas.
Reduced registration fee: The registration fee has been reduced. In addition to saving travel costs, ISEA2020 Online is accessible at a significantly reduced fee, hoping it will attract a larger number of participants, including more students and independent artists.
Live Q&A: All presentation sessions, including keynote sessions, will include live Q&A periods, mediated by invited delegates.
Art Programming: We are working with artists and partners on strategies to showcase the selected projects and special programming.
While we regret not seeing you in Montreal, the new format will make ISEA2020 accessible to a larger number and will certainly contribute to a broader discussion on how to produce and transfer knowledge and showcase art through connected digital communication platforms. Our team is committed to ensuring the high standard of creative and academic contributions that is paramount to ISEA.
We look forward to seeing you online this fall!
You can now purchase your ISEA2020 Online Passat the Early Bird rates of CAD $99 (regular) and CAD $69 (students), offer valid until August 13 .
NEW DEADLINE TO REGISTER (for presenters)
The deadline to register, to upload the camera-ready papers, and to fill in the Zone Festival form is July 27 at 11:59 pm (GMT-5).
ISEA2020 ONLINE: WHY SENTIENCE? OCTOBER 13-18, 2020
The academic chairs’ statements regarding the ISEA2020 online turn:
Since last August  when we established the ISEA2020 theme of “Why Sentience?”, life on Earth has been dramatically transformed. Our belief in concepts like proximity, justice, equality, indeed, the very concept of the future itself, has been radically uprooted. As cultural organizations worldwide scramble to adapt, the ISEA2020 team has decided to reimagine the event for the anytime/anyplace zone of digital space and to transform it into an online experience. But we have also realized that there is no need to adjust the theme to make it more “responsive” to our current conditions. Despite their almost cataclysmic impact on the political-economic-social-cultural-ecological fabric of the world, the triumvirate forces of the coronavirus pandemic, its disastrous economic consequences, as well as systemic racial injustice have now acutely amplified ISEA2020s question: “Why Sentience?” These conditions sharpen the need to stop, pause and re-examine what it means to be sentient, “the ability to feel or perceive.” They help us reformulate our notions of what the world is with us and beyond us. They give us a front seat perspective on the corporeal and ecological entanglements between power and knowledge, animals and humans, machines and environment, oppression and liberation. They pointedly demonstrate that difference—social-economic-cultural—resonates through the sentient world. The virus—a 120-160 nm in diameter entity that is invisible to our human senses and considered neither living nor dead but ontologically somewhere in between [emphasis mine]—is thus perversely a great teacher and provides us lessons on how the modern splitting up of the sentient and inanimate worlds increasingly makes no sense.
ISEA’s mission aims to foster interdisciplinary academic discourse and exchange among culturally diverse organizations and individuals working with art, science and technology. As we write, ISEA2020 should have already passed into history. The new digital space of ISEA2020 will link the local community in Montreal with the international one beyond so that we can collectively rethink the form of such an event. The new platform will also allow us to examine close up these new and, at the same time, ongoing historical set of conditions; conditions that demand a response if we are to live in the coming (post)-pandemic world.
Christine Ross – McGill University (Montreal, Canada)
Chris Salter – Concordia University/Hexagram (Montreal, Canada)
There is a conference trailer for this new ‘virtual’ version of the 2020 conference,
Montreal Digital Spring (Printemps numérique) produced both the English language version and this one in French***, Note: Video [credit]: Guillaume Guardia,
I’m not sure why the French language version is so much shorter*** (maybe I found an abridged version?), in any case, the content is quite different and you may want to check out both trailers.
***ETA June 22, 2020 at 1550 PDT: The answer to my question as to why one trailer was shorter? Two different (but this year related) events. I failed to note that the second trailer was for “MTL Connect.” Here is Manuelle Freire’s description (academic programme manager of ISEA2020, Printemps numerique) of MTL Connect,
The latter is an annual event organised in Montreal by Printemps numérique, consisting of different thematic pavilion. This year ISEA2020 is the art and creativity pavilion of MTL Connect, so part of a larger endeavour that is affected by this online turn in its entirety.
As for MTL Connect, there’s this from the homepage,
BRINGING TOGETHER DIGITAL MINDS, DIGITALLY
6 DAYS OF PROGRAMMING • +400 SPEAKERS • 50 COUNTRIES REPRESENTED • +10,000 ATTENDEES • THOUSANDS OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR INTERACTION
That’s it for the correction. ***
Meeting technology, cyber security, and local involvement
I emailed (Friday, June 19, 2020) a couple of questions to the organizers which they have kindly answered.
Are you going to be using Zoom as the technology for virtual attendance? Will there be security measures for attendees?
[A]re there going to be any local (Vancouver, BC) virtual or in-person get-togethers? By October it might be possible to have small groups (with appropriate precautions) meet in person for ISEA2020 discussions/participation in virtual events held elsewhere. (Just a thought)
They responded by Sunday, June 21, 2020). That is quickly. The short answer to both questions is: “We don’t know yet.”
More specifically, Manuelle Freire (Printemps numerique) had this to say,
I will have to forward your first question regarding the technology of the platform, specifically cybersecurity, to the platform development project manager. Cybersecurity is an important matter that we have discussed internally and will be included in the FAQ and the IEA2020, as soon as we have stabilized the different features of the platform and we are ready to release.
As for the second question,
In what comes to small groups meeting in person. It is indeed possible that groups [might] be able to meet in October , but at this stage, with social distancing and travel restrictions in place, we are still facing degrees of uncertainty. While we regret not meeting everyone in Montréal, moving the symposium 100% online seemed the only safe and certain solution. No in-person activities are scheduled for now.
The questions were also sent to Philippe Pasquier, a locally based (Vancouver, BC) member of the ISEA2020 academic committee and he had this to say about the possibility of local, in-person get-togethers,
As for (2), this is a good idea. Let’s wait and see what will be possible and revisit this idea closer to the date.
The responses have made me happy. Hearing that they take cybersecurity seriously is downright musical and learning that they are open to local, small, in person get-togethers is spirit-lifting.
In 2009, I attended an ISEA being held in Northern Ireland and Ireland and asked one of the organizers if any of their symposia had been held in Canada. Yes! Montréal, my source raved at length, hosted a great meeting.
The next Canadian ISEA host was Vancouver in 2015 and guess what? Someone in a lineup was raving about the Montréal meeting. It seems that 1995 meeting has taken on a legendary glow.
It was a privilege being able to attend two meetings in person. Legendary, problematic, or good, the meetings bring together exciting talent and disturbing and/or mind-expanding ideas and experiences. Given the circumstances, the organizers find themselves dealing with, I wish them the best of luck although I’m confident that despite all the obstacles, ISEA2020 will be an extraordinary affair.
On a practical note, the $99 (or less) fee for the online pass is a good deal. (I know because I had to pay for mine when they were here in Vancouver in 2015. By the way, I’ve never regretted a penny of it.)
As noted in part 1, I’ve taken a very broad approach to this survey of science culture in Canada over the last 10 years. It isn’t exhaustive but part 1 covers science communication, science media (mainstream and others such as blogging) and arts as exemplified by music and dance. Now it’s time for part 2 and the visual arts, festivals, science slams, and more..
Art/Sci or Art/Science or SciArt—take your pick
In 2005 my heart was broken. I had to give up on an event I’d conceived and tried to organize for five years, ‘Twisted: an art/science entrée’. Inspired by an art/science organization in New York, it just wasn’t the right timing for Vancouver or, it seems, for Canada, if the failure of an art/science funding collaboration between the Canada Council and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) during roughly during that time period could be considered as another indicator.
The situation has changed considerably during this last decade (or so it seems). There are more performing and visual artists using scientific ideas and principles as inspiration for their work or they’re collaborating outright with scientists, or scientists are expressing themselves through artistic endeavours. Of course, of consequences of all this activity is a naming issue. (Isn’t there always?) I’m not taking sides all i want is clarity.
Part 1 featured more of the ‘inspirational’ art/science efforts. Here you’ll find the more ‘science’ inflected efforts.
ArtSci Salon located at the University of Toronto was founded in 2010 according to its About webpage,
This website documents the activity of the ArtSci Salon, a group of artists, scientists and art-sci-tech enthusiasts meeting once a month to engage in critical discussions on topics at the intersection between the arts and science.
Started in 2010 as a spin-off of the Subtle Technologies Festival, ArtSciSalon responds to the recent expansion in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] of a community of scientists and artists increasingly seeking collaborations across disciplines to successfully accomplish their research projects and inquiries.
Based on the demographic, the requisites, and the interests of our members, the goal of ArtSci Salon is:
To provide outreach opportunities for local and international innovative research projects in the Sciences and in the Arts;
To foster critical dialogue on topics and concerns shared by the sciences and the arts;
To facilitate new forms of collaboration across fields.
Our guests deliver short presentations, demonstrations or performances on a series of shared topic of interest to artists and scientists.
Many, many ArtSci Salon events have been listed here. I mention it because the ArtSci Salon website doesn’t have a complete listing for its previous events. While I can’t guarantee completeness, you can perform an ‘ArtSci Salon’ search on the blog search engine and it should get you enough to satisfy your curiosity.
Curiosity Collider‘s first event seems to have been in April 2015 (as noted in my July 7, 2015 posting). i wonder what they’ll do to celebrate their fifth anniversary? Anyway, they describe themselves this way (from the Mandate webpage),
Curiosity Collider Art-Science Foundation is a Vancouver based non-profit organization that is committed to providing opportunities for artists whose work expresses scientific concepts and scientists who collaborate with artists. We challenge the perception and experience of science in our culture, break down the walls between art and science, and engage our growing community to bringing life to the concepts that describe our world.
You can find Curiosity Collider here. I see they don’t have anything scheduled yet for 2020 but they had a very active Fall 2019 season and I expect they needed a breather and now there’s ‘flattening the COVID-19 curve’.
Once Curiosity Collider gets started again, you’ll find they put on different kinds of events, usually evening get togethers featuring various artists and scientists in a relaxed environment or joint events with other groups such Nerd Nite, Science Slam, and others. In 2019, Curiosity Collider hosted its first festival. You’ll find more about that in the Festivals subsection further down in this posting.
ArtSci at Cape Breton University (Nova Scotia) seems to have existed from March 2017 to November 2018. At. least, that’s the period its Twitter feed was active.
… Art the Science facilitates cross-disciplinary relationships between artists and scientists with a goal of fostering Canadian science-art culture. In doing so, we aim to advance scientific knowledge communication to benefit the public, while providing opportunities for artists to exhibit their work in unconventional and technologically innovative ways. By nurturing the expression of creativity, be it in a test-tube or with the stroke of a brush, Art the Science has become one of the most beloved and popular online SciArt (science + art) communities in the world. Since 2015, it has developed numerous digital SciArt exhibitions, and has highlighted the work of both pioneering and upcoming SciArt artists internationally. The organization also promotes the role of SciArt by conducting various outreach initiatives, including delivering lectures and keynote presentations designed to foster public engagement and a deeper appreciation of science and art.
Volunteer Run: Since 2015, Art the Science has been operating with the hard work and dedication of volunteer hours from our board and supporters. We have been busy generating evidence to show the impact and reach of our initiatives. We believe this evidence will help us secure financial support as we move forward.
Their site features information about artist residencies in research laboratories, online exhibitions, and a blog focused on the artists and scientists who create.
National events, festivals, and conferences
These days it’s called Science Odyssey and takes place in May of each year. I first came across the then named National Science and Technology Week in 1993. The rebranding occurred in 2016 after the Liberals swept into victory in October 2015 federal election.
In 2020, Science Odyssey (as noted previously, prior to 2016 this was known as National Science and Technology Week and was held in October each year) it was slated to take place from May 2 to May 17. In most years, it functions as a kind of promotional hub for science events independently organized across the country. The focus is largely on children as you can see in the 2019 promotional video,
Cancelled for 2020, its events have ranged from an open house at a maker lab to lectures at universities to festivals such as Pint of Science and Science Rendezvous that occur during Science Odyssey. (I profiled Science Odyssey, Pint of Science, Science Rendezvous and more in my May 1, 2019 posting.)
Pint of Science
Beer and science is a winning combination as they know in the UK where Pint of Science was pioneered in 2012. Pint of Science Canada was started in 2016 and is scheduled for May 11 – 13, 2020,
Pint of Science Canada invites scientists to your favorite local bars to discuss their latest research and discoveries over a drink or two. This is the perfect opportunity to meet scientists and ask questions. You have no excuse not to come and share a drink with us!
Démystifier la recherche scientifique et la faire découvrir au grand public dans un cadre détendu, avec une bière à la main c’est possible. Parce que oui, la science peut être le fun!
There isn’t a cancellation notice on the website as of April 15, 2020 but I suspect that may change.
Billing itself as a free national kick-off festival for Science Odyssey and the country’s largest celebration of science and engineering, it was founded in 2008 and was confined to Toronto in that first year. In 2019, they promoted over 300 events across the country.
This year, Science Rendezvous is scheduled for May 9, 2020. Please check as it is likely cancelled for 2020.
Science Literacy Week
This week first crossed my radar in 2015 and because I love this passage, here’s an excerpt from my Sept 18, 2015 posting where it’s first mentioned,
Just as Beakerhead ends, Canada’s 2015 Science Literacy Week opens Sept. 21 – 27, 2015. Here’s more about the week from a Sept. 18, 2015 article by Natalie Samson for University Affairs,
On Nov. 12 last year , the European Space Agency landed a robot on a comet. It was a remarkable moment in the history of space exploration and scientific inquiry. The feat amounted to “trying to throw a dart and hit a fly 10 miles away,” said Jesse Hildebrand, a science educator and communicator. “The math and the physics behind that is mindboggling.”
Imagine Mr. Hildebrand’s disappointment then, as national news programs that night spent about half as much time reporting on the comet landing as they did covering Barack Obama’s gum-chewing faux pas in China. For Mr. Hildebrand, the incident perfectly illustrates why he founded Science Literacy Week, a Canada-wide public education campaign celebrating all things scientific.
From Sept. 21 to 27 , several universities, libraries and museums will highlight the value of science in our contemporary world by hosting events and exhibits on topics ranging from the lifecycle of a honeybee to the science behind Hollywood films like Jurassic World and Contact.
Mr. Hildebrand began developing the campaign last year, shortly after graduating from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. He approached the U of T Libraries for support and “it really snowballed from there,” the 23-year-old said.
In 2020, Science Literacy Week will run from September 21 – 27. (I hope they are able to go forward with this year’s event.) Here’s how the ‘Week’ has developed since 2015, from its About webpage,
The latest edition of Science Literacy Week came to include over 650 events put on by more than 300 partners in over 250 cities across Canada. From public talks to explosive chemistry demos, stargazing sessions to nature hikes, there was sure to be an interesting activity for science lovers of all ages. Science Literacy Week is powered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Beaming Science, Exploration, Adventure and Conservation into Classrooms Across North America
Guest Speakers and Virtual Field Trips with Leading Experts from Around the World
Using Technology to Broadcast Live into Classrooms from the Most Remote Regions on the Planet Since
September 2015, We’ve Run Well over 1,000 Live Events Connecting Hundreds of Thousands of Students to Scientists and Explorers in over 70 Countries
Onto another standalone festival.
Calgary’s big art/science/engineering festival, Beakerhead got its start in 2013 as a five-day event as per my December 7, 2012 post. It’s gone through a few changes since then including what appears to be a downsizing. The 2019 event was on September 21, 2019 from 5 pm to 11 pm.
According to his profile on LinkedIn, Jeff Popiel is Beakerhead’s interim CEO and has been since 2018. Mary Anne Moser (one of Breakerhead’s co-founders; the other is Jay Ingram, formerly of the Daily Planet science television show) was welcomed as the new Executive Director for Calgary’s science centre, Telus Spark, in April 2019.
Beakerhead’sr Wikipedia entry, despite being updated in December 2019, lists as its most current iteration of the festival that one that place in 2018.
All organizations experience ups and downs; I certainly hope that this represents a temporary lull. On the plus side, the Beakerhead Twitter feed is being kept current. and there is a February 18, 2020 entry on the Beakerhead’s homepage.
Invasive Species (Curiosity Collider) & Special Projects (ArtSci Salon)
The first and possibly only Collisions Festival (from the Curiosity Collider folks), Invasive Species took place in November 2019. A three-day affair, it featured a number of local (Vancouver area) artist/scientist collaborations. For a volunteer-run organization, putting on a three-day festival is quite an accomplishment. So, brava and bravo!
The ArtSci Salon in Toronto hasn’t held any festivals as such but has hosted a number of ‘special projects’ which extend over days and/or weeks and/or months such as The Cabinet Project, which opened in April 2017 (not sure how long it ran) and featured a number of artists’ talks and tours; Emergent Form from April 1 -30, 2018; EDITED (gene editing) from October 25 – November 30, 2018; and, FACTT-Evolution from March 29 – May 15, 2019.
International conferences and the Canadian art/technology scene
I am sure there are others (I’d be happy to hear about them in the comments) but these two organizations seem particularly enthused about holding conferences in Canada. I would like to spend more time on art and technology in Canada but that’s a huge topic in itself so I’m touching on it lightly.
ISEA 2015 and 2020
Formerly the Inter-Society of Electronic Arts, the organization has rebranded itself as ISEA (pronounced as a word [acronym] with a long ‘s’ like ‘z’). The acronym is used both for the organization’s name, the International Society for Electronic Arts, and its annual International Symposium of Electronic Arts, known familiarly as ISEA (year).
ISEA 2015 took place in Vancouver and was held in August of that year (you can read more about in my April 24, 2015 posting where I announced my presentation of a paper and video “Steep (1): A digital poetry of gold nanoparticles.”).
The upcoming ISEA 2020 was to take place in Montréal from May 19 – 24 but has been rescheduled for October 13 – 18. The theme remains: Why Sentience? Here’s more from the 2020 symposium About page,
Montreal Digital Spring (Printemps numérique) is proud to present ISEA2020 from October 13 to 18, 2020 in Montreal.
ISEA2020 will be the Creativity Pavilion of MTL connect; using digital intelligence as the overarching theme, this international event aims to look across the board at the main questions related to digital development, focusing on its economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts in various sectors of activity.
Montreal was awarded host of the next edition of ISEA in the closing ceremony of ISEA2019, held in Gwangju, South Korea. Soh Yeong Roh, Director of Art Center Nabi in Seoul, hand over the eternal light to Mehdi Benboubakeur, Executive Director of Montreal Digital Spring. As Benboubakeur stated: “ISEA returns to Montreal after 25 years. Back in 1995, ISEA positioned Montreal as a digital art center and brought emerging local artists into the international spotlight. In 2020, Montreal will once more welcome the international community of ISEA and will use this opportunity to build a strong momentum for the future.”
SEA 2020 turns towards the theme of “Why Sentience? Sentience describes the ability to feel or perceive. ISEA2020 will be fully dedicated to examining the resurgence of sentience—feeling-sensing-making sense—in recent art and design, media studies, science and technology studies, philosophy, anthropology, history of science and the natural scientific realm—notably biology, neuroscience and computing. We ask: why sentience? Why and how does sentience matter? Why have artists and scholars become interested in sensing and feeling beyond, with and around our strictly human bodies and selves? Why has this notion been brought to the fore in an array of disciplines in the 21st century?
I notice Philippe Pasquier of Simon Fraser University (Surrey campus, Vancouver area) is a member of the organizing committee. If memory serves, he was also on the organizing committee for ISEA 2015. He was most recently mentioned here in a November 29, 2019 where I featured his Metacreation Lab and when I mentioned the ISEA 2020 call for submissions.
… We received a total of 987 submissions from 58 countries. Thank you to those who took the time to create and submit proposals for ISEA2020 under the theme of sentience. We look forward to seeing you in Montreal from May 19 to 24, 2020 during MTL connect/ISEA2020!
Statistics by categories:
Artist talks: 121
Full papers: 108
Short papers: 96
Workshops / Tutorials: 53
Panels / Roundtables: 24
Institutional presentations: 22
Posters / Demos: 18
Good luck to everyone who made a submission. I hope you get a chance to present your work at ISEA 2020. I wonder if I can attend. I’ll have to make up my mind soon as they stop selling early bird tickets on and around March 16, 2020.
Vancouver hosted SIGGRAPH in 2011, 2014, and 2018 and will host it again in 2022. It is the only Canadian city to have hosted a SIGGRAPH conference since the conference’s inception in 1974. It is a huge meeting. In 2018, Vancouver hosted 16,637 attendees.
If you have a chance, do check out the next SIGGRAPH that you are able to attend. As inspiration you can check out the profile I wrote up for the most recent conference in Vancouver (my August 9, 2018 posting). They’re not as open to the public as I’d like but there are a few free events.
Coffee, tea, or beer with your science?
There are many ways to enjoy your science.Here are various groups (volunteer for the most part) that host regular (more or less) science nights at cafés and/or pubs and/or bars. Although I mentioned Café Scientifique Vancouver in part 1, it doesn’t really fit into either part 1 or part 2 of this review of the last decade but it’s being included (in a minor way) because the parent organization, Café Scientifique, is in a sense the progenitor for all the other ‘Café’ type efforts (listed in this subsection) throughout Canada. In addition, Café Scientifique is a truly global affair, which means if you’re traveling, it’s worth checking out the website to see if there’s any event in the city you’re visiting.
Science slams have been popular in Europe for more than a decade but have only recently gained traction in North America. Science Slam Canada was founded in 2016 and now runs regular science slams in Vancouver. Given wide interest and support, Science Slam Canada is continuing to grow, with upcoming events in Edmonton and Ottawa.
Based on the format of a poetry slam, a science slam is a competition that allows knowledge holders, including researchers, students, educators, professionals, and artists to share their science with a general audience. Competitors have five minutes to present on any science topic and are judged based on communication skills, audience engagement, and scientific accuracy. Use of a projector or slideshow is not allowed, but props and creative presentation styles are encouraged.
The slam format provides an informal medium for the public and the scientific community to connect with and learn from each other. Science slams generally take place in bars, cafes, or theaters, which remove scientists from their traditional lecture environments. The lack of projector also takes away a common presentation ‘crutch’ and forces competitors to engage with their audience more directly.
Competitors and judges are chosen through a selection process designed to support diversity and maximize the benefit to speakers and the audience. Past speakers have ranged from students and researchers to educators and actors. Judges have included professors, media personalities, comedians and improvisers. And since the event is as much about the audience as about the speakers, spectators are asked to vote for their favourite speaker.
Our dream is to create a national network of local science slams, with top competitors meeting at a national SUPER Slam to face off for the title of Canadian Science Slam Champion. This past year, we ran a regional slam in Vancouver, bringing together speakers from across BC’s Lower Mainland. Next year, we hope to extend our invitation even further.
Their last Vancouver Slam was in November 2019. I don’t see anything scheduled for 2020 either on the website or on their Twitter feed. Of course, they don’t keep a regular schedule so my suggestion is to keep checking. And, there’s their Facebook site.
Alan Shapiro who founded Science Slam Canada maintains an active Twitter feed where his focus appears to be water but he includes much more. If you’re interested in Vancouver’s science scene, check him out. By the way, his day job is at STEMCELL Technologies, which you may remember, if you read part 1, funds the Science in the City website mentioned under the Science blogging in Canada subhead (scroll down about 50% of the way).
Sometime around 2003, Chris Balakrishnan founded Nerd Nite. Today, he’s a professor with his own lab (Balakrishnan Laboratory of Evolution, Behavior and Other Fine Sciences) at East Carolina University; he also maintains an active interest in Nerd Nite.
I’m not sure when it made its way to Canada but there are several cities which host Nerd Nites (try ‘nerd nite canada’ in one of the search engines). In addition to Nerd Nite Vancouver (which got its start in 2013, if it’s existence on Twitter can be used as evidence), I found ones in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Edmonton, Calgary, and, I believe there is also one in North Vancouver.
Their events are monthly (more or less) and the last one was on February 26, 2020. You can read more about it here. They maintain an active Twitter feed listing their own events and, on occasion, other local science events.
This US organization (Story Collider; true personal stories about science) was founded in 2010 and was first featured here in a February 15, 2012 posting. Since then, it has expanded to many cities including Vancouver. Here’s more about the organization and its worldwide reach (from the Story Collider About Us webpage), Note: Links have been removed,
The Story Collider is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to true, personal stories about science. Since 2010, we have been working with storytellers from both inside and outside science to develop these stories, and we share them through our weekly podcast and our live shows around the world.
We bring together dedicated staff and volunteers from both science and art backgrounds to produce these shows — starting with our executive director, Liz Neeley, who has a background in marine biology and science communication, and our artistic director, Erin Barker, a writer and experienced storyteller — because we believe both have value in this space. Currently, The Story Collider has a home in fourteen cities — New York, Boston, DC, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Milwaukee, Toronto, Vancouver, Cambridge, UK, and Wellington, New Zealand — where events organized by local producers are held on a monthly or quarterly basis. We’ve also been delighted to work with various partners — including publishers such as Springer Nature and Scientific American; conferences for organizations such as the American Geophysical Union and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative; and universities such as Yale University, North Carolina State University, Colorado University, and more — to produce shows in other locations. Every year, we produce between 50 and 60 live events featuring more than 250 stories in total, and we share over a hundred of these stories on our podcast.
Vancouver’s first Story Collider of 2020, ‘Misfits’ was scheduled for February 1 at The Fox Cabaret at 2321 Main Street . You can see more about the event (which in all likelihood took place) and the speakers here.
As for when Story Collider set down a few roots in Vancouver, that’s likely to be some time after February 2012. The two Vancouver Story Collider organizers, Kayla Glynn and Josh Silberg each have active Twitter feeds. Glynn is focuses mainly on local events; Silberg provides a more eclectic experience.
This is a series of neuroscience’ talks held monthly (more or less) held at Vancouver General Hospital. They served wine out of a box and cheese and crackers at the one talk (it was about robots) I attended. Here’s more about the inspiration for this series from the University of British Columbia Brain Talks Vision page
BrainTalks is a forum for academics and members of the general public to create a dialogue about the rapidly expanding information in neuroscience. The BrainTalks series, was inspired in part by the popularity of the TED Talks series. Founded by Dr. Maia Love in October 2010, the goal is for neuroscientists, neurologists, neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, and people from affiliated fields to meet and dialogue monthly, in the hopes of promoting excellence in research, facilitating research and clinician connections and discussion, and disseminating knowledge to the general public. Additionally, the hope to reduce stigma associated with mental illness, and promote compassion for those suffering with brain illnesses, be they called neurologic or psychiatric, was part of the reason to create the series.
The structure is a casual environment with brief presentations by local experts that challenge and inspire dialogue. Discussions focus on current knowledge about the mind and our understanding of how the mind works. Presentations are followed by a panel discussion, catered snacks, and networking.
BrainTalks is now part of the programming for the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychiatry. The Department of Education, and the Department of Continuing Professional Development include BrainTalks at UBC as part of their goal to enhance public knowledge of psychiatry, enhance clinician knowledge in areas that may affect psychiatric practice, and disseminate recent research in brain science to the public.
Thanks to Alan Shapiro (founder of Science Slam Canada) and his Twitter feed for information about a new science event that may be coming to Vancouver, SoapBox Science founded in the UK in 2011 puts on events that can be found worldwide (from the homepage),
Soapbox Science is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. Our events transform public areas into an arena for public learning and scientific debate; they follow the format of London Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner, which is historically an arena for public debate. With Soapbox Science, we want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy, learn from, heckle, question, probe, interact with and be inspired by some of our leading scientists. No middle man, no PowerPoint slide, no amphitheatre – just remarkable women in science who are there to amaze you with their latest discoveries, and to answer the science questions you have been burning to ask. Look out for bat simulators, fake breasts or giant pictures of volcanoes. Or simply hear them talk about what fascinates them, and why they think they have the most fantastic job in the world!
2020 is an exciting year for us. We are running 56 events around the world, making this the biggest year yet! Since 2011 we have featured over 1500 scientists and reached 150,000 members of the public! Soapbox Science was commended by the Prime Minister in 2015, and was awarded a Silver Medal from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in June 2016. Both Soapbox Science co-founders were also invited to provide oral evidence at a 2016 Parliamentary inquiry on science communication.
I believe 2020 is/was to have been the first year for a SoapBox Science event in Vancouver. There aren’t any notices of cancellation for the Vancouver event that I’ve been able to find. I expect there will although with a planned June 2020 date there’s still hope, In any case, you might find it interesting to view their ‘Apply to speak’ webpage, (Note: I have rearranged the order of some of these paragraphs),
Are you a woman* who works in science and who is passionate about your research? Are you eager to talk to the general public about your work in a fun, informal setting? If so, then Soapbox Science needs YOU! We are looking for scientists in all areas of STEMM, from PhD students to Professors, and from entry-level researchers to entrepreneurs, to take part in this grassroots science outreach project.
*Soapbox Science uses an inclusive definition of ‘woman’ and welcomes applications from Non-binary and Genderqueer speakers.
The deadline for applications has now passed but you’ll find on their ‘Apply to speak’ webpage, a list of cities hosting 2020 SoapBox Science events,
Argentina: Tucumán- 12th September
Australia: Armidale- August Sydney- 15th August Queensland- August
Belgium: Brussels- 27th June
Brazil: Maceio- 22nd November Rio de Janeiro- 18th July Salvador- 5th June
Canada: Calgary- 2nd May Halifax- July Hamilton- Date TBC Ottawa- 19th September Québec- June Toronto- 27th September St John’s- 5th September Vancouver- June Waterloo- 13th June Winnipeg- May
Germany: Berlin- June Bonn- May Düsseldorf- 25th July Munich- 27th June
Ireland: Dublin- Date TBC Cork- July Galway- July
Nigeria: Lagos- August Lagos- 7th November
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur- April
Portugal: Lisbon- 19th Sept
South Africa: Cape Town- September
Sweden: Uppsala- 16th May Gothenburg- 24th April- Closing date 31st January
Tanzania: Arusha- 8th August
UK: Aberdeen- 30th May Birmingham- Date TBC Brighton- 30th May Bristol- 4th July Cardiff- Date TBC Edinburgh- Date TBC Exeter- June Keswick- 26th May Leicester- 6th June Leeds- July London- 23rd May Milton Keynes- 27th June Newcastle- 13th June Nottingham- Date TBC Plymouth- 30th May Stoke-on-Trent, Date TBC Swansea- Date TBC York- 13th June
USA: Boulder- 26th April Denver- Date TBC Detroit- September Philadelphia- 18th April
Mentioned here twice (in a November 29, 2019 posting about the call for proposals and in a March 4, 2020 posting about the preliminary programme), the 2020 International Symposium on Electronic Arts has been postponed, from a March 23, 2020 announcement received via email,
POSTPONEMENT NOTICE – ISEA2020 New Dates: October 13 to 18, 2020
Montreal, March 23, 2020 — With the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is facing an extraordinary situation. Following the measures announced by the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada, in a concerted decision with its partners and collaborators, Montreal Digital Spring (Printemps numérique) has decided to postpone ISEA2020: WHY SENTIENCE? We are looking forward to seeing you in Montreal, October 13 to 18 2020!
Our priorities are public health and high-quality programming, and we will work hard during the spring and summer to ensure that the ISEA community enjoys a memorable symposium! We thank you for your understanding.
Any purchases already made will be automatically transferred to the new dates. The new deadline for Early Bird registration, for presenters to upload camera-ready papers and to fill in the Zone Festival form is May 1st, 2020 at 11:59 pm (GMT-5).
The answers to most of your questions can be found in the FAQ. If you have a specific question, contact us at the following emails:
The 2012 ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Arts) is being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico from Sept. 19 – 24, 2012. From the ISEA 2012 home page,
The Eighteenth International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness is a symposium and series of events exploring the discourse of global proportions on the subject of art, technology and nature. The ISEA symposium is held every year in a different location around the world, and has a 30-year history of significant acclaim. Albuquerque is the first host city in the U.S. in six years.
The ISEA2012 symposium will consist of a conference September 19 – 24, 2012 based in Albuquerque with outreach days along the state’s “Cultural Corridor” in Santa Fe and Taos, and an expansive, regional collaboration throughout the fall of 2012, including art exhibitions, public events, performances and educational activities. This project will bring together a wealth of leading creative minds from around the globe, and engage the local community through in-depth partnerships.
Machine Wilderness references the New Mexico region as an area of rapid growth and technology alongside wide expanses of open land, and aims to present artists’ and technologists’ ideas for a more humane interaction between technology and wilderness in which “machines” can take many forms to support life on Earth. Machine Wilderness focuses on creative solutions for how technology and the natural world can sustainably co-exist.
The program will include: a bilingual [English/Spanish] focus, an indigenous thread, and a focus on land and skyscape. Because of our vast resource of land in New Mexico, proposals from artists are being sought that will take ISEA participants out into the landscape. The Albuquerque Balloon Museum offers a unique opportunity for artworks to extend into the sky as well.
Final decisions are being made now so the lists of programs and speakers aren’t complete yet but there is a sampling of some of what you’ll find in New Mexico this coming September (excerpted from the sampling on the Artworks/Performances page),
Eve Andrée Laramée & Tom Jennings (USA) Invisible Landscape
at 516 ARTS Invisible Landscape is a collaborative installation concerning the Cold War, “atomic” legacy; uranium mining and radioactive waste from the nuclear power industry and its “Parent machine” the nuclear weapons complex. The installation includes video projections and sculptures, digital photography, and light-box and sound sculptures. It is a mash-up of works by Laramée & Jennings, and includes components from Jennings’ installation Rocks and Code and Laramée’s installations Halfway to Invisible and Slouching Yucca Mountain.
Agnes Chavez (USA/Cuba) & Alessandro Saccoia (Italy) (x)trees
at The Albuquerque Museum (x)trees is a collaborative experiment in open source data visualization, video mapping and participatory art. Multi-disciplinary artist Agnes Chavez created the project in collaboration with open source net artist Jared Tarbell to write the open source video mapping code which captures data live from twitter, converts it into branches of trees and allows it to be projected onto walls and buildings as part of a socially interactive art piece. Chavez has collaborated with a team in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Creative Coder Jeff Milton, actionscript programmer Joe Roth, and videographer Matia Legaria, to realize a live event in BsAs. For ISEA2012, Chavez and collaborators will push the boundaries of the new medium to create a socially interactive virtual forest. New forms such as leaves and flowers will emerge around most used topics/key words, visualizing the “buzz” around the conference. (x)tree helps raise awareness to the importance of preserving linguistic, cultural and ecological diversity around the world.
Fred Paulino & Lucas Mafra (Brazil) Gambiocycle
at 516 ARTS Gambiocycle is a Mobile Broadcast unit. It is a tricycle containing electronic great for interactive video projection and digital graffiti in public space. The vehicle is inspired by anonymous ambulant salesmen that ride on wheels over Brazilian cities, mostly selling products or doing political advertisement. Gambiocycle, however, subverts this logic by gathering elements of performance, happening, electronic art, graffiti and “gambiarra” (makeshift, kludge): what it advertises is only a new era of straight democratic dialogue between people who participate of the interventions and their city.
Ivan Puig & Andrés Padilla Domené (Mexico) SEFT-1
at The Albuquerque Museum SEFT-1, by Mexican artists Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domené is one of the most important projects working in the art, technology and society field in Mexico. This “Manned Railway Exploration Probe” is a vehicle equipped with a Hi-Rail system, a metal wheel mechanism that enables it to move on rails. Mexico’s trains once formed a network of connections between big cities and tiny pueblos throughout the country. This exploratory probe travels abandoned railways using photography, video, audio and text to record contemporary people, landscape and infrastructure in largely remote areas of the country, creating a futuristic exploration of Mexico’s past. The information recorded is continuously uploaded to the project’s website where the public can follow the SEFT’s progress. For ISEA2012, the SEFT will make a historic journey from the U.S./Mexico border to Albuquerque. The vehicle will be displayed as part of the ISEA2012 exhibition, and the artists will speak at the Latin American Forum. The journey of the SEFT-1 to El Paso for pre-conference activities is sponsored by The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, University of Texas, El Paso.
Sampling of Performances
Idris Goodwin (USA) Instant Messages
performed during ISEA2012 Intel Education Day
Hip Hop playwright Idris Goodwin will create an original, collaborative, multi-media performance work built entirely from public conversations and debates sampled from various social networking sites. Youth participants rom the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Voces program will cross-reference more than 500 Facebook statuses, comments and Twitter feeds based on specific generic dramatic tropes. The project will interweave hundreds of digital dialogues to dramatize the human interactions of a virtual society. Youth, being the key pioneers of the virtual landscape, are integral to the process of creation.
Miguel Palma (Portugal) remote Desert Exploration Vehicle
performed at the Downtown Block Party
In collaboration with engineers, robotics experts, geographers, car enthusiasts, military historians and other, Portuguese artist Miguel Palma will convert a former military vehicle into a remote exploration vehicle that will explore desert surroundings during the day and return to urban areas in the evening to project the desert imagery on buildings and other spaces at night. This project is sponsored by ASU Art Museum and the Desert Initiative.
Public Dialogue: A Conversation with Prominent Brazilian artists and curators
For the ISEA2012 Latin American Forum, artist Giselle Beiguelman and curator Priscila Arantes, mediated by Simone Osthoff, will speak on the international art scene, offering the public a chance to see dynamic dialogues about contemporary media art from first-hand perspectives and experiences. Giselle Beiguelman guest juror of ISEA2012, is an international new media artist and multimedia essayist born and based in São Paulo, Brazil. She received a PhD in History from the University of São Paulo and is a former fellow of the VITAE Foundation. Priscila Arantes, Adjunct Director of MIS [Museum of Image and Sound] São Paulo, since 2010, the director of the Paço das Artes also in São Paulo, is a researcher and curator in the field of media art. Simone Osthoff is a Brazilian born artist and writer based in the U.S. since 1988. She is Associate Professor of Critical Studies in the School of Visual Arts at the Pennsylvania State University and the author of Performing the Archive: The Transformation of the Archive in Contemporary Art From Repository of Documents to Art Medium (Atropos Press, 2009).
Lea Rekow & Marc Schmitz Mapping Contested Territory
For The Cosmos: Radical Cosmologies theme, theme leader Lea Rekow and artist Marc Schmitz will present a dialogue that brings together critical arts practice and action geography, describing an aerial and walking survey conducted with the Navajo community of Churchrock, New Mexico. Their journey maps radioactive accidents, abandoned uranium mines, dams and mills, that lie un-reclaimed and continue to ravage Navajo land, families and culture in the region. For the ISEA2012 conference, Rekow and Schmitz will offer a co-presention/skype panel with/at the Land Art Mongolia Biennial, that simultaneously looks at the impact from mining on indigenous culture of Mongolia and elsewhere.
For the Creative Economies: Ecotopias theme, OurGoods.org co-founder Caroline Woolard will give a talk about the problems and possibilities of non-monetary exchange. If resource sharing is a paradigm of the 21st century, how do we build trust and communicate effectively at intimate-distance? This talk will explore the subjectivities made (im)possible by alternative economies, both analog and digital. Culled from three years of research and development as a co-founder of OurGoods.org and Trade School, two barter networks for cultural producers, Woolard’s talk reflects upon a contemporary fumbling for sharing relationships. Caroline Woolard is a Brooklyn based, post-media artist exploring civic engagement and communitarianism. Her work is collaborative and often takes the form of sculptures, websites and workshops.
ISEA2012 includes an array of residencies and special projects hosted by partnering organizations around the New Mexico and the region. They include artist-scientist residencies, site projects, artworks, performances and presentations, with schools, arts organizations, environmental organizations and the scientific and technological community. Some of the residencies and off-site projects feature a gallery component as part of the main ISEA2012 exhibition and/or a presentation at the conference.
Local Poets’ Guild (LPG) is offering a poet re-envisioning art, technology and nature a two-week residency from September 4 – 18, 2012. LPG is specifically looking for poetry using electronic art forms with at least one component that will be accessible on the web. The writer selected will stay in a house on 3.6 acres in the high desert, located down three miles of dirt roads near the town of Moriarty, New Mexico, about 35 miles from Albuquerque. The residency may be extended for up to two weeks at no additional expense.
The poet who receives the residency will be offered a $400 honorarium from the Local Poets Guild and invited to share their work as an Internet present e-poem and in a reading at 516 ARTS as part of the ISEA 2012 conference.
The modest cabin is furnished and has full kitchen, bath, laundry, bedroom and workspace. The structure is nestled amid piñon and juniper trees, abuts an old windmill, and is backed up to 11,000 acres of forested ranchland, which is accessible to hiking. Expect coyotes, owls, nighthawks, deer, the occasional javelina or porcupine, plus great sunlight and better stars. Writers will be expected to provide their own transportation. Couples and/or collaborators are also eligible.
Please submit a 300-word bio with a 500-word project statement and a link to a prior e-poetry project. Poets who don’t have a prior e-poetry project or prefer to show new work, should submit a “.doc” file in Microsoft Word of a PDF including all information plus five pages of poetry.
Description of sponsoring organization:
The Local Poets’ Guild’s mission is to advocate for poetry, develop audience, engage poets and foster the creative process, from conception and craft to publication and performance. The Local Poets’ Guild offers programs including a rural writers residency, craft talks and workshops, featured readings, showcases, publication of books and cd’s, writing to heal and writing nonviolence workshops, plus an online information hub, all completely community driven and requiring the best efforts of the poets involved. For more information, visit http://localpoetsguild.wordpress.com/
ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Arts) 2011 is being held in Istanbul, Turkey from Sept. 14-21, 2011. I submitted a proposal for a paper which was accepted and I have been included in the Biosynthetics and Body – Machine Presentation (from the presentation webpage),
Art and Life: Biocybrid systems and the reengineering of reality by Diana Domingues, Adson Ferreira da Rocha, and Cristiano Jacques Miosso/ ColourBlind by Alan Dunning and Paul Woodrow/ Morphogenesis by Christophe Viau/ Whose electric brain by Maryse Simone de la Giroday/ Fish and Chips, MEART and Silent Barrage, pioneering cybernetic organisms from the SymbioticA research Group by Stuart Bunt
I’m very excited about the conference and it overlaps with the 12th Istanbul Biennial, which runs from Sept. 17 – Nov. 13, 2011. My fellow presenters are quite exciting too. I’ve looked up each presenter and linked to information about them and/or their work.
Diana Domingues exhibition website providing some biographical info. in English.
SymbioticA (Stuart Blunt) laboratory webpage and newsletter description of Stuart Blunt’s career at the University of Western Australia and his role at SymbioticA.
It’s an eclectic group of artists, engineers, a neuroscientist, and me (a writer). I’d love to attend although it seems unlikely. If you have any ideas for creative (or not) fundraising for an independent scholar scheduled for a Sept. 19, 2011 presentation at ISEA 2011, I’d love to hear them.
In the meantime, here’s a link to a lengthy (34 mins.) conversation between the two curators (Jens Hoffman and Adriano Pedrosa) selected for the 12th Istanbul Biennial.
I am presenting a paper at the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) in Belfast next week. Yay! My paper is called, Nanotechnology, storytelling, sensing, and materiality and is being presented as part of the Posthumanism track. The symposium is quite an undertaking as it takes place in several locations; the main conference is in Belfast with events in Derry/Londonderry and Dublin between August 23 and Sept. 1, 2009. This means that my blogging pattern will change as a consequence of attending the conference and events and if I do blog, I will be focusing on ISEA.
Very briefly, the article in the European Respiratory Journal about the deaths in China due to nanoparticle exposure (mentioned yesterday Aug. 18, 2009) has been published. More detailed information about the article can be found here on Nanowerk News. Dr. Andrew Maynard (Chief Science Advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies) has commented extensively on his blogs (2020 Science and SAFENANO) about the study and he has also posted thoughts from other experts. From 2020 Science,
Professor Gűnter Oberdőrster is considered by many to be the “father” of research into the toxicology of inhaled nanoparticles. His group at the University of Rochester has led global research in this area for over two decades.
Professor Ken Donaldson, a toxicologist specializing in workplace lung diseases, Professor Donaldson is one of the world’s leading authorities on the health impacts of inhaling airborne nanoparticles. His group at the University of Edinburgh has conducted extensive research into the potential health impacts of inhaling nanomaterials.
Professor Vicki Stone, editor of the journal Nanotoxicology and a professor of toxicology at Napier University in Edinburgh Professor Stone is a foremost expert on the mechanisms by which nanoparticles potentially interact with the body and cause harm.
Dr. Rob Aitken, dDirector of Strategic Consulting at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh and director of the SAFENANO initiative, Dr. Aitken has a wealth of experience addressing workplace safety and health. He is a leading international expert in developing safe practices for working with engineered nanomaterials—including nanoparticles.
Dr. Kristen Kulinowski is Director of the International Council On Nanotechnology (ICON) at Rice University, and a global leader in developing safe and responsible nanotechnologies. Under her direction, ICON has established the foremost on-line database of nanotechnology health and environmental impact research papers, and the GoodNanoGuide—an initiative to enable people share and develop the best possible practices for working safely with engineered nanomaterials.
Please do check out Nanowerk News which offers a summary and links to Andrew’s individual postings (I’ve linked to the front page of his blogs) and do check out Andrew’s postings as it is quite illuminating. I tend to prefer Andrew’s 2020 Science blog but I think that’s because I’m more familiar with it.
Heather Haley will be giving a literary performance of her poetry at the 2009 Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival (Vancouver, Canada) an event produced by Pandora’s Collective. The festival is on Saturday, August 22, 2009 from 12 pm to 7 pm at Lumberman’s Arch, Stanley Park. It’s a free event and Heather is scheduled for 5:10 pm to 5:30 pm. You can read more about the event here (scroll down).