Learning From Vancouver Symposium

Jan 29 — 31, 2010



Western Front


According to a 2010 survey prepared by Mercer Consulting, Vancouver was declared the fourth most livable city in the world, establishing it as an increasingly popular model for urban development. The survey, which effectively confers world-class status on the city, sparks obvious questions about Vancouver and its role in the global imaginary. Why is Vancouver the only North American city in the top ten? What images of the city are created and circulated to represent this livability, and what do such images signify?

Learning From Vancouver was a three-day symposium presented in conjunction with the exhibition Bik Van der Pol and Urban Subjects: Learning from Vancouver at Western Front. Facilitated by exhibition curators Alissa Firth-Eagland and Johan Lundh, the symposium explored key questions about the mediatization of Vancouver through panels, talks, and responses by local and visiting artists. 

Speakers included Randy Lee Cutler, Paul de Guzman, Candice Hopkins, Fiona Jeffries, Am Johal, Laiwan, Glen Lowry, Hadley + Maxwell, Kristina Lee Podesva, Bik Van der Pol, Tom Sherman, Matthew Soules, Urban Subjects, Monika Szewczyk, Althea Thauberger, Henry Tsang, and Amy Zion.


Jan 29, 2010
Opening remarks by Caitlin Jones, Alissa Firth-Eagland, Johan Lundh, 6:00 p.m. 

Media Art in 2025, keynote presentation by Tom Sherman, with respondent Laiwan, 6:45 p.m.

Opening reception for Bik Van der Pol and Urban Subjects: Learning from Vancouver, 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Jan 30, 2010
The Smell of Success?, keynote presentation by Bik Van der Pol; with respondent Hadley + Maxwell,  2:00 p.m.

New Models for Shared Spaces, with panelists Matthew Soules, Henry Tsang and Glen Lowry, and Candice Hopkins; moderated by Monika Szewczyk, 4:00 p.m.

Jan 31, 2010
Culture, Mediation, and the Right to the City, with panelists Urban Subjects and Fiona Jeffries; and respondent Randy Lee Cutler, 2:00 p.m.

Representations of Cities Rethought, with panelists Paul de Guzman and Althea Thauberger, and respondent Amy Zion; moderated by Kristina Lee Podesva, 4:30 p.m.

Closing remarks by Jeff Derksen, Alissa Firth-Eagland, and Johan Lundh, 6:30 p.m.

Presented with support from the Canada Council for the Arts Media Arts Dissemination Project Grand and the Mondriaan Foundation.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.