Outreach & Education

The aim of VC Outreach and Education is to provoke culture change by empowering a collective response to current economic conditions. After several years of research and reflections on the connection between financial systems, urbanism, motivational psychology and design, members of VCDC began receiving requests to publish essays, present at public events, give workshops and collaborate with like-minded groups. The following speaks to our efforts to meet this community-brought need for conversation, reflection and pedagogical experimentation.

Paper: “The Value of Housing” Published in Possibles, February 2022

On an invitation from the editors of Possibles, members of VCDC contributed the paper “La valeur de l’habitat: Une perspective oblique sur l’habitat dans une société de marché, et le potentiel de faire autrement” (“The Value of Housing: An oblique perspective on housing in a market society and the potential for organizing otherwise”) to the 46th edition of the independent journal Possibles. The article unpacks how housing’s value as a speculative investment clashes with its role in answering fundamental human needs, and makes a case for systemic change that can turn housing into a lever for social, ecological, and economic resilience. Linked here

Presenting Value Collective: A living lab for new economic knowledge and practice

At the Next-Generation Cities Institute, August 2022

VCDC presented Value Collective’s theories and designs to researchers from the Next-Generation Cities Institute (NGCI), a transdisciplinary research hub for sustainable urban development located at Concordia University. The NGCI leverages academic expertise in fields ranging from art, engineering, finance and sociology, while bringing the research community into contact with important local actors such as developers, community organizations, public entities and other civil society bodies. The seminar enabled VCDC to critique and validate their premises with an academic audience.

Co-cogitate: Group Provocations on Sustainability panel  (In.site Conference)

At 4th Space Concordia, September 2022

On the invitation of Concordia’s Design Department, VCDC joined the opening panel for the In.site Conference, a trans-disciplinary symposium interfacing fine arts with socio-cultural and environmental sustainability. The event gathered panelists from diverse backgrounds (academic, institutional, activist, community-based) to speak on how sustainability challenges specialists to reevaluate conventions and work across disciplines. Linked here

Beloved Economies book launch

At the Concordia Student Union, October 2022

On the invitation of Resource Movement, a youth-led social and economic justice and education initiative, VCDC presented Value Collective at the book launch of Beloved Economies: Transforming How We Work by Jess Rimington and Joanna L. Cea. The event sparked valuable encounters with the other social and economic justice initiatives invited to present.

Design Lab Web Design Collaboration 

September – December, 2022

VCDC co-produced a website for Value Collective with students from the Design Lab course, offered in the undergraduate Design program at Concordia. Being mostly design alumni ourselves, we pursued this opportunity as a way to cultivate links with current Design students, exchange knowledge and skills, illustrate the potential of pursuing unconventional paths after school, and update our website to better serve the VC community. The course pairs students with nonprofit commissioners, giving students a chance to expose their work on public platforms. VCDC gratefully acknowledges XXX for their achievement in creating a new website for VC from scratch.

Open Houses

At la Cite-des-Hospitalieres, April 15th – June 17th, 2022 

For two months, VCDC hosted weekly Open Houses in the Novitiate Room at CdH. On these days, the public was invited to drop by unnannounced, participate in prototyping activities, and chat informally with our team. Open Houses created a low-stakes entry point and an ongoing opportunity for open-ended participation, leading to countless fruitful conversations and insight into people’s impressions of VC: how they relate to it; what excites them or makes them want to get involved; thoughts, ideas, critiques; and so on.

FEATURED: Re-defining Economy Workshop
 VCDC developed a workshop series called Re-defining : Economy, conceived as a way to engage the public in brainstorming different approaches to economics that converge with their own lived experience. The workshop emphasized the role of language in forming cultural norms – that by exploring etymology and social context we could unpack assumptions, create new understandings, and even sketch new systems that better reflect our values. The workshop was held twice and evolved based on the contexts in which they were given.
May 2022: In its first iteration, the workshop was hosted by VCDC at Cité-des-Hospitalières. Participants were asked to bring with them their own assumptions and experiences of “the economy” and deliberate as a group. By discussing the etymology of the term Economy, we compared notions of extractive economies and restorative economies and aimed to enlarge our understanding of the term. Participants were invited to make visual definitions through drawings, collage and writing, and reflect on their personal experiences and what they learned. 
November 2022: In its second iteration, the Re-defining : Economy workshop was given as part of the Get Radical! seminar series held by the Concordia Student Union. This workshop was also highly participatory, and this time placed emphasis on complexity and dismantling oversimplifications around the critique of ‘conventional’ economics. This workshop led participants through explorations in ontology (worldview), stories and language as a way of unpacking the meaning and understandings of value, wealth and economy. 

What’s next

VCDC is honoured to receive requests for educational and participatory workshops aimed at shifting paradigms around economics, and aspires to continue showing for our communities in these ways. Going forward, we would like to create educational material on the types of internal processes we use, so that our learnings can be utilised by others.