On Nov. 6, 2015, Interesting Vancouver (IV15) finished another year of connection and celebrating its community. Like every year, IV15 was an invigorating night that left a great deal of reflection on the people, purpose and place that brings everyone together.
After 8 years and the additional activities with DoShops, IV Presents and the IV Prize, it was time to dig a bit deeper into our way forward. So along with my IV partner Mark Busse, we hosted our first formal annual meeting. Collecting feedback has always been on the agenda but it was time to do something a little more structured, but certainly not too structured.
So, on a rainy night we gathered at my Shaughnessy home for a family-style dinner. With the fire crackling in the living room, we reflected on the purpose of IV in the spirit of an affirmation referendum – “Does it resonate, do we believe it and does Vancouver need it?”
IV has always been tough to articulate—we’ve always focused on doing it rather than shouting about it. Though Mark Busse (IV’s ever-present champion and volunteer) formally joined me as a partner a few years ago, we now needed something in writing to focus our minds and align our efforts for the long term.
We were united in our belief that Vancouver is a city in ascendancy. A city that doesn’t apologize for creating a new culture in an unusual way. A unique culture created by its citizens and the geography of the greater Vancouver region and surroundings. A mindset that seeks to originate, create and transform rather than merely import, duplicate or derive.
In this spirit the IV Charter was drafted by Mark and I. A charter to ground the speakers’ night and ensure other activities are coherent to the purpose. A charter we’ve never really shouted about for fear of making things too rigid and losing the organic emergence of IV each year. But after 8 years, we felt confident in the strength of what IV has become and shared the following IV Charter at the Annual Meeting.
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Interesting Vancouver Charter
Interesting Vancouver: An annual cross-disciplinary gathering of fascinating people sharing their hobbies, obsessions, and passions.
The purpose is to expand the collective vision of what is uniquely possible in Vancouver and done by Vancouverites through interesting stories, explorations and discoveries.
The aim is to connect and cross-pollinate curious minds across any and all disciplines.
The belief is great ideas come from the unexpected connections made in life.
Interesting Vancouver is open-minded, surprising, empathetic, engaging, and participatory.
Interesting Vancouver isn’t self-promotional, exclusionary, prejudicial, or judgmental.
The audience is as important and interesting as the carefully curated speakers.
The community is strengthened through bringing people together in a greed-free environment that reinvests proceeds back into the community further sustaining the purpose.
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Eyes lit up at the reading of the charter; the document received numerous votes of confidence. We realised our fears were unfounded, we should have published the IV Charter earlier—many saw it as a manifesto as much as anything, a statement of Vancouver at its best.
However, the IV Charter isn’t some mythical parchment. In the end, IV is about the people and what they contribute every year―whether speakers, attendees or volunteers. The charter is more something we look to and use in attracting people of a similar belief.
After all, Vancouver is a city fuelled and shaped by the interested as much as the interesting. Like any city, Vancouver is obsessed with understanding its unique contribution to the world.
A contribution we aspire for IV is to enable its community to share their belief, skill or passion they’ve practiced with complete mindfulness. Often, it’s people full of humility and humanity too busy doing what they do to talk about it; other times, it’s the odd or unusual practice that many people may not fully understand. The point of IV is to bring people together to connect and celebrate an individual’s inner light within the crowd—because it’s that special light which helps make Vancouver a more vibrant and interesting city.
Thank you to everyone who attended, organized or supported in some form any of the activities in 2015. We hope you’ll sign up to the IV Charter and be part of our 2016 program of activities.
Yours in interestingness,
PS We’ll do another update of the conclusions and actions of the inaugural IV Annual Meeting