Aspire 2019 – DIALOG’s Annual Pin Up Event

Aspire 2019 – DIALOG’s Annual Pin Up Event

It’s that time of year again! Our annual national pin up event–Aspire DIALOG–just wrapped its fourth year, and our studios are still abuzz.

First things first. What’s Aspire?

Aspire is an annual event to share and discuss the work we’ve done over the past year and learn from one another. Every studio dedicates a day or two to presentations by local peers about their work, ideas, or processes. Everyone is encouraged to participate and the whole studio is welcome to attend. From there, three people are selected to represent their studio at the national pin up.

The national pin up event is hosted by a different studio each year. This year, the Edmonton studio played host and put their own spin on it, deciding on the theme of Feedback Loop: A chance to reflect on the work we’ve done and push ourselves to evolve in the year ahead.

National Pin Up Event

Held in the Amiskwaciy Theatre at Royal Alberta Museum, a whole afternoon was dedicated to watching the presentations and discussing with the help of an esteemed panel of guests. Thoughtful reflection and commentary came from Royden Mills (sculptor and instructor at University of Alberta), Jan Kroman (principal and architect at RPK), Kairi Pawlick (engineer by trade and director of real estate for Canada Lands Company), and Ian O’Donnell (executive director of Downtown Business Association). Our host, Julian Faid of Rapid Fire Theatre, kept everyone on track and guided the discussion with a few laughs along the way. The whole event was live broadcast to the other studios, where viewing parties were hosted.

Design Workshop

What do we do when we have 12 bright minds from all disciplines together in one place? We put our design thinking caps on. The national event has a second day that is devoted to a design workshop, and this year’s topic centred around Rossdale Power Plant in Edmonton’s river valley.

Rossdale Power Plant and its surrounding area is near and dear to DIALOG. We’ve worked on many projects in and around the building, and we can’t wait to see what it becomes. For us, having a group of “outsiders” come to Edmonton and look at the power plant with fresh eyes was a great way to imagine more solutions for that special place. As part of the charrette, we welcomed another panel of guests to bring feedback half-way through the design exercise, and then add commentary at the end when the design ideas were shared with the Edmonton studio. Thanks to Matt Brassard (civil engineer and community consultant), Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson (president of Prairie Sky Gondola), Shafraaz Kaba (principal and architect at Ask For a Better World), and Dr. Jim Morrow (ethnographer, environmental sociologist, author) for helping make our design workshop day a success.

Until next year…

The two days of presentations and the charrette are always a whirlwind. The energy is palpable, and everyone walks away enlightened and excited to bring their learnings back to their home studios. And with our panelists’ insights we gained a new perspective on our own work and how to push ourselves to evolve in the year ahead–invaluable!

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