July 10, 2020

Winnipeg
13° C, Fair

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

The future is now: imagine Winnipeg in 7 years

Festival of ideas asks attendees to envision our world seven years from today

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/3/2014 (2304 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Every day consumers create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, so much that 90 per cent of the world's data was created between 2011-13, according to an IBM study.

Is this increasing volume of digital information, dubbed Big Data, heralding a scientific bonanza or an Orwellian nightmare? Can you hear any message through all that static?

Claire Cameron

Claire Cameron

These are some of the questions to be discussed at March 20's opening debate of the second annual Spur Festival, a four-day celebration of politics, art, ideas and change. It is the first of five Spur festivals -- up from three in 2013 -- taking place across the country this year.

The kickoff session, titled Signal vs. Noise, is a particularly timely subject for the would we live in, says festival artistic producer Nick Hutcheson.

"We're contributing a gross amount of noise as a society, as physical noise but also just in terms of volume of information," Hutcheson says during a telephone interview from Toronto. "We wanted to talk about that theme and how one finds the signal amidst all that's noise that's being created."

The commentators are George Prochnik, author of In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, New York interviewer and curator Paul Holdengr§ber, and University of Manitoba ethicist Arthur Schafer.

The four-day event brings together doers and thinkers -- artists, politicians, strategists and academics -- for a spirited discussion that might stimulate change. Besides the public forums, the fest presents book readings, film screenings, a literary cabaret and a Forks walking tour.

A major theme this year is a seven-year look-ahead at our city, nation and world. In 2021, will heritage buildings still be part of Winnipeg's revitalized downtown? What will become of the relationship between First Nations and the federal government? What's the future of the Canadian North?

"Most people, when they think about a festival, they think of a presenting a festival like the folk festival or the new music festival," says Helen Walsh, festival director and publisher of the Literary Review of Canada. "For us, it's an ideas festival. 'Ideas' is kind of ethereal word. What does it mean? I think of the festival as a way to get people to come together and think about the place in which they live."

For This City in Seven Years, the speakers making a seven-minute pitch of their vision include Brent Bellamy, architecture and urban design columnist; architecture critic and lecturer Sotirios Kotoulas; Scott Stephanson, vice-president of Longboat Development Corporation; and University of Winnipeg professor Dr. Jaqueline McLeod Rogers.

Walsh says that Winnipeg, of all the cities hosting Spur festivals, conducted the liveliest deliberations about what should be the subject of its city session and even who should be speaking at it. It shows how much people care about Winnipeg's future, she says.

The culture content features readings by novelists Trevor Ferguson on March 22 and Claire Cameron on March 23. The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre will host a Saturday morning panel led by Ins Choi, the Toronto playwright of the national hit comedy Kim's Convenience currently running on the mainstage. Choi will talk about how the lack of opportunities for Asian-Canadian actors spurred him to write the play. He will be joined by Alix Sobler and Kevin Klassen, two local actors experienced at creating their own stage roles.

Theatre by the River presents Wine and Words as part of Spur at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on March 20 at 8:30. The event features local performers, including Trish Cooper and Gary Jarvis, doing dramatized readings of unpublished works by Winnipeg writers such as Guy Maddin and Governor General's Award-winning poet Katherena Vermette.

On March 22, filmmaker and political activists John Greyson and Peter Mettler will discuss their work and offer some insights on how to make political movies. Greyson was arrested in Cairo in August en route to the Gaza Strip and jailed in Cairo's notorious Tora jail for 50 days before he was released in October.

The inaugural Spur Festival drew about 3,000 people in Winnipeg and Walsh says this year's goal is 4,500. The sessions will also be made into a weekly podcast that begins in July. Last year 22,000 tuned in.

Success is also gauged by many other measures.

"Because we're a festival with a change mandate," says Walsh, "we also want to look at how we engage youth and include next-generation leaders so the kind of opportunities we provide them is a real important aspect for us."

 

For the festival schedule and more information go to www.spurfestival.ca.

kevin.prokosh@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 9:17 AM CDT: Replaces photo

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us