Purpose

teatalk is a mobile tea-serving cart that offers space for conversation and social connection over the sharing of a free cup of tea.

Main Activities

We launched teatalk on November 26, 2016 in Northeast False Creek as part of CityStudio’s Imagination Zone. We partnered with local artist George Rahi, using his mobile tea-serving trailer to create an inviting gathering space.

Outcomes and Impact

On a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon, we engaged in rich conversation with 70 unique individuals. The teatalk model demonstrates the simple success of using tea to physically bring people together in an inclusive space, facilitate the creation of connections between local area residents, and inspire future social engagement projects in the Imagination Zone.

Community Stewardship

The offering of free tea and intimate space for conversation has the potential to shift social culture in Vancouver. Imagine a series of pop-up teatalks altering established City consultation and engagement methods.

We have detailed the scale, scope, challenges, recommendations, and future opportunities of our project for the City. Pending review, we hope this information will inform current public engagement strategies undertaken by the City of Vancouver’s Pop-up City Hall.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank the CityStudio teaching staff, the City of Vancouver, and Publik Secrets who made this project possible. A special thanks to George Rahi, Karen Henry, Emory Davidge, Michelle Nahanee, Lihwen Hsu, and tea partners, Michelle Nahanee at The Capilano Tea House and Guyaki Yerba Mate.

Team 

Glenn Mendonsa (Geography, UBC)

Urba Khan (International Studies, SFU)

Alex Butler (Commerce, UBC)

Iain Marjoribanks (Geography, UBC)

Read the final report here.

Our Artist 

George Rahi- Publik Secrets

Imagination Zone

CityStudio proposed the formation of the City of Vancouver’s first Imagination Zone. Based on the Dublin Studio (DCC Studio) we propose the Imagination Zone as a place of possibility, experimentation and learning for the “Creative City”.

Our project aims to start a conversation with artists and the public, to begin envisioning and prototyping with what could become part of our City in an Imagination Zone. The Imagination Zone project demonstrates that this is a space for trial and learning- as opposed to trial and error. We hope that our pilot projects will invite the participation of citizens in collaborative city building.

CityStudio 

We are CityStudio Vancouver, an innovation and experimentation hub for the City of Vancouver where students, city staff and community members co-create, design and launch projects on the ground. The central mission of CityStudio is to innovate and experiment with the ways cities are co-created, while teaching students the skills needed to collaborate on real projects in Vancouver with City staff and community stakeholders.

These projects improve our city and enrich our neighbourhoods, making the city more livable, joyful and sustainable. CityStudio launched in 2011 as a collaboration between the City of Vancouver and the city’s six post-secondary institutions to engage students in the hands-on work necessary to implement city strategies.