Creative Catalyst – Symposium on Art & Social Innovation

On June 11-12 Ryerson University (which is in an advisory capacity for SI-DRIVE) presented “Creative Catalyst”, a “Symposium On Art And Social Innovation”, that brought together creative, academics and community leaders to examine art’s transformative potential to spark positive social change.

The Symposium was funded through a joint programme between the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to support knowledge mobilisation of research in partnership with start-up social enterprises.

The symposium, designed by social start-up Madeleine Co., grew out of the research of principal investigator Dr. Wendy Cukier, which explores the relationship between art and social innovation.

Artists and creatives are at the forefront of communicating social change, using artistic expression for critical reflection, dialogue, and idea generation. Creative Catalyst acknowledges arts’ capacity to provide a shared language through which we can ask questions, examine issues, and catalyze awareness through aesthetic “non¬rational” channels.

Creative Catalyst featured over 50 leading speakers and keynotes including Edward Burtynsky (leading Canadian photographer); Judith Marcuse (International Centre of Art for Social Change and Ashoka International Senior Fellow); and Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert (Co-Founders, Center for Artistic Activism).

A short documentary called “What Art Can Do For You?” can be found here.


Ryerson university and social innovation:

Over the past academic year, several initiatives have supported Social Innovation at Ryerson, including:

  • A collaboration between faculties and student groups created Ryerson’s inaugural Social Innovation Summit 2015 on February 7-8, 2015, with 100 student, alumni, and community attendees, featured a social hackathon and keynote by Canadian Ashoka Fellow, Marc Kielburger. Watch the Video recap: Ryerson Social Innovation Summit
  • Ryerson received $500,000 from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation RECODE program to support social innovation activities across campus. To date, 13 student-led social innovation initiatives have been awarded up to $10,000 in seed funding and seven faculty members received grants up to $10,000 for their social innovation research.
  • The new SocialVentures Zone in the Faculty of Arts has helped 17 student ventures involving 49 students grow their ideas for social change, supported by Social-Innovator-in-Residence, Alex Gill. The Zone held three degree courses and a series of workshops during the 2014-2015 academic year.