Presentation Series

***Applications are now open for our 2017 Speaker Series!***

If there’s a topic you’re passionate about and want to share your knowledge about, please click here to submit a presentation proposal.



Saturday, June 11

Art and your Mind: Using Creativity to Connect With Mental Health
victoria-ennsCurious about the principles of art therapy? Ever wondered if there are straightforward ways to use art and other acts of creation to increase your well-being and bolster you during difficult times? Victoria and Holly will talk about their work to bring therapy out of thecounselling room and into real life with practical, evidence-based tools that everyone can use.

victoria-enns-bioVictoria Enns and Holly Kim are Vancouver-based Masters students at Adler University. They are devoted to the study of mental health and work from a perspective that there is much more to mental health than talking, and that true engagement with the world through art and scientific creation can be its own therapy.

The Power of Play: Exploring Electronics with Young Makers

layda-gongoraAs part of an NSERC Engage Grant that fosters collaboration between industry and academia, Layda Gongora, Alison Evans Adnani, and Dr. Audrey Girouard embarked on a 6-month exploratory research adventure. They conducted workshops with Makers aged 7-9 that facilitated a co-design process exploring materials through play. They used Improvisational Theatre, drawing, circuit building, and crafting as ways to explore these materials with the goal of developing “Bendy Inventions”. Find out what they learned, and how they plan to pursue further development of this collaboration by exploring educational partnerships that target early learners.

layda-gongora-bioLayda Gongora has worked in media arts, academic research, media development, social software, and IT in the UK, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and Argentina. She has led international interdisciplinary workshops such as TEI (Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction), and been invited to lecture at Labs such as Deutsche Telecom in Berlin and Luxembourg Innovation Labs. Previous to being lead researcher at Carleton University, she was awarded a prestigious Marie Curie Research Fellowship at Lancaster University in the UK. She has published extensively regarding collaborative design process and creativity methods in mixed design teams engaged in innovation process.

alison-evans-adnani-bioAlison Evans Adnani the founder of Maker Junior, an organization devoted to building things, taking things apart, and inspiring learning.



Make Cheese
More info coming soon.


More info coming soon

From Bits to Bots and Beyond: Digital Literacy Programming at Richmond Public Library

Cindy-HoRichmond Public Library (RPL) has been finding interesting and innovative ways to support local Makers. RPL has long been offering programs and resources to support our community and their digital literacy needs, and in 2015 the library created a three year digital literacy programming plan which incorporates STEM based learning with immersed hands-on and group-based learning environments for all ages. This presentation will showcase several of RPL’s most successful digital programs and describe the opportunities and challenges of developing and designing a creative space – the Launchpad – and a programming plan from the ground up. Learn how they connected with community partners and local digital experts and are successfully fostering social interactions among library members.

Cindy-Ho-bioCindy has been a Kids’ Place Librarian at the Richmond Public Library since 2013 and she is now a Digital Services Librarian. She has a B.A. in English from UBC and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from UAlberta. She has worked in both public and academic libraries, but these days she spends most of her time planning awesome digital programs at RPL. She is finding herself constantly impressed and inspired as she meets many avid techy makers and designers of all ages.

anne-bechard-bioAnne has been a professional librarian for over 22 years. She graduated with her B.A. and M.L.S from the University of British Columbia and is currently the Head of Digital Services with the Richmond Public Library. She has worked as a Librarian for both the Edmonton Public Library and the Vancouver Public Library. She loves working with the public and creating programs that excite community members of all ages.

Preparing for a Robotic Future

The coming decade will be defined by the largest workforce transition in the history of mankind. Millions of jobs will disappear to technology, while millions of new jobs and unprecedented opportunity will be created. Will you be ready? This session will explore four robot technologies that will significantly change our world over the coming 5-7 years, and reveal the misconceptions that 99% of people have about robotics. It also includes actionable suggestions for how we can be using robotics in classrooms today, to super-engage our students and prepare them for success in a rapidly evolving workplace.

dennis-kambeitz-bioDennis is recognized as one of North America’s leading experts on how technology will impact society over the coming decade, and the steps that we need to take to prepare our students for a rapidly evolving workforce. He is regularly invited to help guide educational staff in building a STEM mindset within their schools, and his presentation “Preparing our Workforce for a Robotic World” has been called ‘Enlightening’ and ‘Life-Changing’ by educators and government officials. Over the past two years, Dennis has also visited dozens of schools and demonstrated robotics to more than 6,000 students from grades 4-12. Following Dennis’ presentations, more than 90% of all students indicate that they would like to learn robotics (which includes programming). Using Dennis’ recommended strategies, educators have seen transformative results across all segments of their student population.

Sunday June 12

Building a (Tiny House) Community Center

zee-keslerLearn about what it took for an inexperienced builder to plan and build the Tiny Community Centre (currently located at Trout Lake Park), and turn it into a mobile classroom and artist residency.
Zee Kesler is an artist, maker, educator, community organizer and the Head Imagineer of the Magic Trout Imaginarium (and the Tiny Community Center project). Zee is involved in community outreach for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire where she engages and inspires Young Makers and their families through her work with the Maker Education Initiative. Zee is also one of the founding members of the MakerMobile:Workshop on Wheels; a mobile hackspace for kids and is interested in how mobile spaces can connect and build community. Zee firmly believes that inspiring spaces create inspired students and in order to explore these ideas further, she creates projects, installations and spaces as a means to engage playful and educational interactions that bridge gaps between language and culture.

Makers of Access: Disabling Digital Divides

chad-leamanFor people with high level physical disabilities, there are a variety of assistive devices that enable to use them a computer. But for someone that cannot use their hands, there is not compatible solutions for mobile devices. hear about a prototype solution that could be mounted to a wheelchair, enabling someone who can’t use their hands to be able to have full access to their device through a mouth controlled input. There are plans to openly distribute the solution, so that people with high level physical disabilities anywhere can have an access solution that enables them to use and access a smartphone, just like the rest of the population.

chad-leaman-bioChad Leaman is the Director of Development for the Neil Squire Society. The Neil Squire Society offers technology, computer literacy and employment programming for people with physical disabilities. During his thirteen years at the Neil Squire Society, he has developed numerous programs that are available across Canada. Chad is also a volunteer organizer of NetSquared Vancouver (NTEN 501 club Vancouver), which holds free workshops and an annual conference for non-profits to better use technology to further their mission statement. He also serves as Vice-Chair for BC Technology for Learning Society, which refurbishes over 7,000 computers a year for schools, non-profits and other at-need populations in BC. He’s a father of young twins which is the source of much joy, sleeplessness, and scraped knees.

Alongside Youth: Makerspaces for Kids
paula-macdowell“All children deserve opportunities to be inventors, creators, and makers of the technologies that make our world, and thereby take part in changing who controls, owns, and shapes our future” (MacDowell, 2016). This talk will begin with the rise of the maker education movement. Mobile, physical, and virtual makerspaces are reshaping teaching and learning in schools throughout the world, and rapidly popping up in classrooms, libraries, museums, science centers, academic campuses, and diverse environments where learners and creatives work alongside each other. Makerspaces offer young citizens new opportunities to stimulate social and technological change in their lives, schools, communities, and challenging global contexts.

paula-macdowell-bioDr. MacDowell is a Postdoctoral Fellow at UBC working on research and advocacy initiatives to empower children and youth worldwide through education in media and technology. Her research is part of the How We Learn (Media + Technology) Lab, and she currently instructs courses in Media & Technology Studies, Digital Learning & Curriculum, and Creativity & Learning. Contact Paula at


Preserving Memories of UNESCO World Heritage Sites by 3D Printing
peter-lauSince 1972, 1031 cultural and/or natural properties around the world have been granted World Heritage Sites status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). These sites include 802 cultural, 197 natural, and 32 mixed properties, in 163 states parties. World Heritage Sites possess outstanding universal significance to humanity and are living evidence of our history and civilization on this planet. Using digital capture by 3D scanning and reproduction by 3D printing, the memories of these World Heritage Sites can be preserved against destruction by environmental exploitation, terrorist sabotage, and climate change. Moreover, conservation and reconstruction efforts can be enhanced.

peter-lau-bioDr. Peter Lau is a biophysicist-turned 3D printing evangelist, a serial marathoner, and a self-declared World Heritage fanatic. His company Makerwiz is a Greater Toronto Area enterprise with a mission to empower new makers and inventors by fostering knowledge and application of emerging creative technologies, especially desktop 3D printing. Makerwiz supplies 3D training programs in the STEAM educational space, rapid prototyping services to professionals and hobbyists, and quality digital fabrication products from leading manufacturers (MakerBot, 3D Systems, Printrbot, etc.) to schools and libraries. As a backpack world traveller, Peter started the World Heritage Club back in 2007 to raise awareness on the fragility of the Earth’s most sacred places.


Making Virgin Coconut Oil at Home

rashmi“Virgin Coconut Oil” has phytonutrients and polyphenols, which have antioxidant, antibiotic, cancer-preventative, anti-inflammatory and other tissue-supportive and tissue-protective properties. Learn how to use the wet milling process to make unrefined, non-bleached, and non-deodorized oil. In this method, coconut milk is extracted from fresh coconut meat and the coconut oil is separated through boiling. Consuming a spoonful of Virgin Coconut Oil per day improves overall health and helps fight skin issues. Since it is a very pure form of coconut oil, it is safe to use it on infants for giving a body massage or to avoid nappy rashes.

rashmi-bioRashmi is a DIY enthusiast. She is an engineer by qualification and loves doing things from scratch. She recently moved to Vancouver from India. Back in India, she had started an artistic venture in 2010 and a foodie venture in 2014. In the past 15 years, she has explored many art forms and has conducted many craft workshops for both children and adults alike.

Intro to 3D Printing
john-biehlerBy sharing real world examples of how this emerging technology has actually been changing our lives for over the last three decades, John Biehler will explain and demystify the current state of 3D printing technology and the myriad of different processes that fall under the umbrella of 3D printing. Everything from 3D printed cars, buildings, prosthetic hands, human heart valves, and even 3D printed clothing & food will be showcased during the presentation.

john-biehler-bioJohn Biehler has been actively sharing his knowledge about 3D Printing technology with people around the world for the past seven years. He cofounded, a group of over 400 3D printing enthusiasts and his first book, “3D Printing with Autodesk” was published in 2014 by Pearson. He’s currently working with Douglas Coupland on the 3DCanada project, a multiyear, country-wide 3d scanning and printing art project.