Looking back… …Going forward

Another year has come and gone, and, as we always do, The Source Newspaper reached out to the myriad individuals living, visiting and working in Metro Vancouver to learn about their plans, ambitions, hopes and dreams.

Throughout the year, we told the stories of environmentalists, designers, artists, storytellers and others, all with diverse backgrounds, experiences and occupations. Many of the people we spoke with are creative artists, technology innovators and young changemakers exploring new ways of thought and researching different patterns of being. Let’s take a brief moment to revisit some of the stories we’ve brought you this past year.

All the way back in January, in our first issue of the year, reporter Masha Rademakers brought us the stories of four motivated activists who started initiatives to empower youths to improve environmental sustainability. Through funding, mentorship, workshops and training, programs like IMPACT!, IndigenEYEZ and CityHive provide opportunities for people to develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. The goal is to create and implement environmentally sustainable projects. Through their efforts, these youths aim to create livable societies and foster respectful relationships with the land.

In February, reporter Betty Shea spoke with University of Waterloo English professor Imre Szeman who visited Vancouver to present a talk about reshaping discussions on modern culture around man’s relationship to energy. For Szeman, it’s not enough to simply refine existing energy sources to be more sustainable or create technologies to be more energy efficient. What’s also important is to analyze how energy itself shapes culture, intellectual life, geopolitics and society itself. Doing so can potentially allow a society to have a healthy relationship with energy.

In March, Vancouverites had a chance to experience Tidal Traces, a pioneering work in the virtual reality entertainment genre. Reporter Victor Van Der Merwe interviewed film director Nancy Lee and choreographer Emmalena Fredriksson, who explained that they used a Google Jump Camera to capture a 360 dance performance to film a real and exciting virtual reality dance piece. By putting on Google headgear and headphones, the viewer can engross themselves into another world, full of vivid sensory and auditory detail. While neither easy to film nor inexpensive, these technological and cinematic breakthroughs aim to bring virtual reality tools to the masses.

Similarly, in April, reporter Allyson McGrane covered a grunt gallery exhibit by Persian media artist Azadeh Emadi, who employed digital video and installation technologies to challenge human-centered assumptions of change, time and motion. Filmed in Iran, the exhibit showcases the country’s art history, featuring beautiful Islamic mosaics and tiles, juxtaposed with digital manipulation of a modern pixel. In so doing, Emadi connected 15th century Persian architecture with 21st century digital media.

Reporter Max Adshead interviewed comic book artists Johnnie Christmas and Alexis Sugden, who were participating at the yearly Vancouver Comic Arts Festival in May. They spoke at length about the burgeoning comic book industry, made up of video game animation artists working on video games during the day and writing comics at night. For them, Vancouver’s growing comic book scene is a testament to the success of the city’s commercial high-tech industries in attracting creative spirits and artistic talent.

In June, reporter Xi Chen brought us the story of Soap for Hope, a student-run non-profit project which takes used bar soaps and converts them to usable liquids. The project was able to provide wages for 16 drug and alcohol addicted individuals in the community while upcycling almost 50 pounds of soaps in the last year. Administrator Dennis Fagan believes projects like these not only help the environment, but also creates transitional work opportunities for marginalized individuals.

Over the summer, reporter Jake McGrail covered Fukuoka’s Food Forest, a workshop which disseminated agricultural ideas from the Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka and to see how they can be applied to B.C.’s agricultural situation. Fukuoka’s permaculture philosophy teaches that land stewardship is not only an agricultural technique, but also a spiritual way of life. Fukuoka teaches that, by cultivating the land, we cultivate ourselves, enriching both the environment and the community.

In September, reporter Raman Kang spoke with Joanna Chiu, a journalist serving as the editor and board chair of NüVoices, an international editorial collective focusing on women’s work in China. Chiu delivered a lecture at Langara College reflecting on her time as a foreign correspondent and discussing how the media reports and frames issues. She believes that because writers and artists are influential voices, they can have a powerful say in how a story is seen and delivered.

In October, reporter Katy Thompson sat with UBC Public Scholars Award recipient Ron Darvin to speak about the varying levels of digital literacy among the young. While all young Canadians have access to technology in schools, they have different dispositions towards technology, which shapes the way they use technology and become digitally literate. Those who mainly use it for games and social media will not have the same level of digital literacy as those who use it as an educational tool. As Darvin told us, increasing young Canadians’ grasp of digital literacy is paramount to prepare them for a digital future.

Last month, reporter Colleen Addison examined the role women and minorities played in the Great War, which ended 100 years ago. Speaking with history professors Amy Shaw and Henry Yu, Addison learned women and minorities faced unique challenges during the war, such as extreme prejudices, discrimination and lack of suffrage. Despite their challenges, they overcame their struggles to win the right to vote, to work and to contribute to their communities and their country.

We will return in 2019, our 20th year in publication, bringing you stories of individuals and groups inspiring hope, promoting understanding and enriching our cultural and societal fabric. On behalf of everyone at The Source Newspaper, we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and amazing new year.