Industries Colliding or Cross Sector Collaboration?

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The swift tide of cognitive habituation and ‘novelty malaise’ in the digital age is daunting, especially for small and mid-scale players who can't afford to invent new platforms and forms with every project. This panel explores the challenges in bridging the divide between the creative industries, as gaming and tech advancements provide tantalizing and challenging opportunities that don’t always align with the culture and constraints of Canadian arts practices. 


Owen Brierley

Owen plays in intersections; arts and science, media and computation, education and research, leadership and mentorship. Over the past thirty years Owen has had two major careers; first in the performing arts as an actor and director for live theatre in Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Toronto, then as a digital media producer working with organizations such as Videotron, ATB, the City of Edmonton, Alberta Education, Microsoft, the Citadel Theatre, CBC, and Fox Television. Peppered throughout his career have been teaching appointments at NAIT, MacEwan, the U of A, and others. He has delivered talks on topics ranging from serious games in Washington D.C. to the heliocentric view of transmedia for the Banff World Media Festival. Owen is as comfortable discussing marketing strategies with senior VPs in the Deloitte boardrooms as he is engaging with undergraduate students on the finer points of keyframing strategies for animation realism. Owen is currently completing his Master of Science in Computational Media Design at the University of Calgary. 


Kate Armstrong

Kate Armstrong is a Vancouver-based artist and curator with 20 years of experience in the cultural sector with a focus on intersections between art and technology. Her practice has included events in urban space, generative text systems, and experimental digital forms. As a curator, she has produced exhibitions, events and publications in art and technology internationally. She founded Upgrade Vancouver as part of an international network of organizations in 30 cities, was a founder of the Goethe Satellite that produced ten exhibitions in Vancouver between 2011-2013, and is past President of the Board of the Western Front. Armstrong was an Artistic Director of the 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art which partnered with 15 galleries and organizations to present the work of 150 artists in 2015. 

She is the founder of Startland, which has raised over 500K to support free training for immigrants and refugees who wish to enter the technology sector. Armstrong is a founding board member of BC Artscape and a Trustee of the Vancouver Art Gallery and recently served on the External Advisory Committee to develop the new cultural plan for the City of Vancouver.  

Armstrong has written for P.S.1/MoMa, Blackflash, Fillip, SubTerrain, and the Kootenay School of Writing, contributed to DAMP: Contemporary Vancouver Media Arts (Anvil Press, 2008), and is the editor of Ten Different Things (2018), Art and Disruption (2015), and Electric Speed (2013). She is the author of Crisis & Repetition: Essays on Art and Culture (Michigan State University Press, 2002) in addition to numerous essays. She recently contributed to For Machine Use Only: Contemplations on algorithmic epistemology (&&& c/o The New Centre for Research and Practice, 2016). Other books include Medium (2011), Source Material Everywhere (2011), and Path (2012). Armstrong’s artworks are held in public and private collections including Rhizome, the Rose Goldsen Archive in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University, the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections at York University, the Library of the Printed Web, and the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of Lorna Mills’ Ways of Something (2017).  

As Director of Living Labs and the Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, she develops upwards of 30 art, design, research, and technology projects a year and specializes in intersectional partnerships.

Dr. Bart Simon

Bart Simon is co-founder and current director of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, and Technology, and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. He is also co-founder of the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) Research Centre in Montréal. His areas of expertise include game studies and design, science and technology studies, and cultural sociology and his research includes a project on sustainability of indie game studios, scaling liveness in immersive theatre and games, and the material cultures of play.