Highlights from CityStudio – Winter 2021

Written on January 25, 2021

At the start of the new year, like much of the world, we were reminded of the importance and fragility of democracy, allowing us to reflect on the role we play in democratic engagement. One of the characteristics of the CityStudio model is that it gives young citizens a seat at the table of city building, while also providing them an important space to see their ideas become real for the benefit of all. This can be a powerful co-creative and collaborative experience where city staff share power with students during learning that is mutual. 

Our Commitment to JEDDI
Starting this month we will be working with equity, diversity, and inclusion consultants, Melanie Matining and Parker Johnson, on the next leg of our JEDDI (justice, equity, decolonization, diversity, and inclusion) journey. Coming out of our commitment to anti-racism, they will now take us through an organizational assessment to help us see more clearly and prepare us for our next steps, including cultural practices, hiring, and training. To support our ongoing commitment to JEDDI, CityStudio Vancouver has also developed a series of JEDDI subcommittees to engage staff in the areas of communications, HR, culture, and training.

Have a look at our Annual Report
We are happy to share our 2019/2020 annual report for the CityStudio Vancouver Society. We share our vision and theory of change as well as the work and highlights from our two programs this past year. Read the report here.

Welcome New Marketing and Communications Specialist
Early in the new year, we welcomed Chelsea Woolhouse to the CityStudio team as the Marketing and Communications Specialist to support both the Vancouver and Global programs. Socially-driven at heart, Chelsea brings a background in local government community engagement and project management to the CityStudio team.

 

VANCOUVER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS 

Vancouver Program Expansion Amidst Adaptation
Despite the uncertainty of last year, we are proud of the CityStudio staff’s ability to pivot and maintain—and even grow—the momentum of our work, proving the value our program has for civic innovation and experiential learning. Not only did we match 14 course collaborations, the CityStudio Vancouver program expanded our reach with new light-touch and applied research projects, both of which allow us to reach a new audience of students, faculty, and City staff. We also launched into relationship building with new City and faculty departments that we had not collaborated with. We even had the wonderful opportunity to pitch the CityStudio model to over 200 managers and directors of the City of Vancouver during their Connected Leaders meeting last fall.

A Virtual Success: HUBBUB 15
On December 4, 2020, we hosted HUBBUB 15, marking our first entirely online, live project showcase. We were honoured to have guest speakers join us from across our network to support the hard work and adaptability of the students. Special guests included the City of Vancouver Mayor, three Councillors, and the former City Manager, as well as the presidents of UBC, SFU, Langara, and BCIT. Learn more about the event here

 

GLOBAL PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Global Program Welcomes New Network Development Lead
In October 2020, Tamara Connell joined the CityStudio team as the Network Development Lead to help grow the CityStudio model globally. Tamara brings 15+ years of relationship-building experience within higher education and stakeholder engagement processes, working primarily in the fields of sustainability and social innovation.

Global Program to Launch New Website 
The CityStudio Global team has been hard at work developing a CityStudio Global website that will be used to market our model to support our scaling nationally and globally. This is one element in a suite of marketing materials that are being developed to support the growth of the CityStudio Network. The website is expected to launch spring 2021. 

Supporting Network JEDDI Initiatives
We are working to support JEDDI initiatives across the CityStudio Global Network as part of CityStudio Vancouver Society’s broader commitment to this work. Through cross-network learning and collaboration, the Global team has gained valuable insight into how CityStudios are integrating JEDDI principles into their work. Over the coming months, the Global team will be compiling these learnings and sharing them with the broader network.