Highlights from CityStudio – Summer 2022

Written on June 17, 2022

Summer is finally here! Here are some highlights from the past few months:

CITYSTUDIO SOCIETY HIGHLIGHTS

Next Steps With Our Three Year Strategic Plan
We’re soon entering year two of our three year strategic plan which places specific questions in front of us for the next year: for the Society overall, we’re looking at more deeply understanding the culture of the CityStudio Way – what does it mean to be truly relationship-based, curious and experimental? For our CityStudio licensing, as we launch new CityStudios, we’re asking how to best create a permanent and collaborative infrastructure in cities across Canada. For the Vancouver Program, we’re focused on deepening and cultivating new local relationships.

The Future Of Work For The Next Generation
Like all organizations, we are deeply interested in the future of work and the quality of life for our staff. We are therefore paying equal attention to the way we do our work inside the organization as well as the delivery of our mission. For us, this means experimentation and new policies advancing the important issues of 1) our work culture, 2) work-life balance, 3) pay equity and 4) employer responsibility relating to benefits. Ultimately, we feel that advancement in these four areas will go a long way in helping staff accomplish our mission.

Update On Our 80% Work Week Experiment
Following a successful three month preliminary experiment, we have decided to extend the next phase of our 80% work week experiment until December 2022. The key findings leading to this decision are that staff are reporting a better work-life balance, as well as reporting a welcome autonomy over individual work schedules. Although these improvements were achieved without compromising the quality of core services, our staff surveys show that challenges still remain: we continue to learn how to prioritize work items with a shortened week, and we are experimenting with ways to stay connected as a team on variable individual schedules. Overall this has been an important undertaking, pointing to the nature of work in the future. Stay tuned for updates!

 

GLOBAL PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Global By The Numbers
As of this summer, there have been 12,000 students working on 1,860 student projects contributing to a cumulative total of 232,000 project hours, working with 528 City staff and 538 faculty members across the sixteen members of the CityStudio Network. We are thrilled to see this amazing impact across Canada, Australia and Norway.

Project Feature BI’MINOWAASEYAA – Downtown Lightbox Project – CityStudio Sault Ste. Marie
Algoma University occupies the site of a former residential school. Their Visual Arts Internship Program in partnership with Arts and Culture and CityStudio Sault Ste. Marie collaborated on a public art project designed to enrich arts and culture within the city of Sault Ste. Marie, while improving public safety within public spaces downtown. The project utilizes lightboxes in key areas of the city where safety is a concern. By lighting up the space, the lightboxes help create a safe environment while promoting Indigenous artists with the intention of decolonizing public spaces through art. The project is currently in the proposal phase and will be continuing throughout the fall.

CityStudio Ottawa Is In The Works!
As part of our national outreach to more than 70 universities and cities across Canada, we are excited to share that CityStudio Ottawa is moving forward with a unique partnership between the City of Ottawa, University of Ottawa, North Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and Lakehead University. This work will focus on public health challenges as part of the City of Ottawa’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan addressing discrimination, marginalization and racism, financial security and poverty reduction, housing, mental well-being, and gender-based violence and violence against women.

 

VANCOUVER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

10th Anniversary Celebrations
With summer comes a season of 10th-anniversary projects and celebrations at CityStudio Vancouver. We begin with the CityStudio Changemaker Story Contest, a callout to past collaborators to tell the story of how their CityStudio experience inspired action within their work, their project or in themselves. There are countless stories going untold and it is our hope that the story contest will reveal a decade worth of changemakers not just in Vancouver, but around the world.

In addition, a plan is underway for a new mural to grace Spyglass Dock! Celebrating the Indigenous history of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, the mural will share learnings from Indigenous perspectives on the climate emergency and the risk of sea level rise in the city. City staff, Angela Danyluk, has been championing this project as part of the City of Vancouver’s Sea2City Design Challenge in collaboration with Indigenous Cultural Advisor, Cory Douglas. The artwork itself will be created by a local artist and in partnership with the great folks from Vancouver Mural Festival.

Idea Jam
After two years of virtual events, the CityStudio Vancouver team hosted a highly anticipated Idea Jam in person at the studio. The project development workshop marks the beginning of our annual cycle of sourcing project ideas from the city; this is where the magic starts. We hosted 17 city staff and we sourced almost 70 project ideas addressing key areas including green infrastructure, the climate emergency, water and waste management, transportation, equity, the upcoming election, youth engagement and more. The exchange among City staff was very enriching. The Program Coordination team will now begin matching and outreach to our post-secondary partners.

Spring 2022 Evaluation Results
The results are in from the Spring 2022 semester and we’re thrilled to see there is an increased need and demand for city building with youth. 94% of participants who responded to our evaluation survey say CityStudio was useful for their work and career aspirations, and 91% of respondents believe CityStudio is, at the core, making Vancouver more sustainable, equitable and joyful.