‘This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Conference’

Living the New Economy runs from Oct. 15 - 20 in Vancouver and Nov. 29 - Dec. 5 on Vancouver Island.

‘This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Conference’

Living the New Economy confluence kicks off in Vancouver, BC

The making of this year’s Living the New Economy confluence is in many ways the story of the new economy, says one of the lead organizers, Jordan Bober.

The team of 10 organizers intentionally labelled this six-day event — which begins in Vancouver, B.C. today — a “confluence,” rather than a “conference,” to communicate its goal of bringing together as many people as possible who are playing a role in building the new economy — or who are simply looking to learn more.

“This ain't your daddy's conference, where you listen to people talking and then go home,” reads a recent blog post on the confluence website. “This is a confluence, a place for many streams to meet and become a coursing river.”

 
  Seedstock community currency is co-hosting the second annual Living the New Economy in Vancouver.

Jordan, who is also co-founder and director of Seedstock community currency, came together with other organizers just two months ago to plan the second annual event in Vancouver. In that short span of time, the team managed to create a magnetic space for generative thinking that includes six days of names like Portland-based developer of sustainable public places, Mark Lakeman, and filmmaker Ian MacKenzie. Participatory workshops and speaker sessions focus on topics like collaborative culture, storytelling and economic sustainability. Several gatherings are planned with the intention of connecting with other attendees, including a collaboration with the Changemakers Vancouver network in hosting Changemakers’ Night Out Volume III: Meshworking the Networks on Oct. 18.

A full day of the confluence is dedicated to indigenous perspectives on leading the new economy. Following opening speeches and a workshop by Tsleil-Waututh Sundance Chief Reuben George on Oct. 17, writer and intercultural communicator Michelle Morning Star Doherty will elucidate the history of First Nations entrepreneurship in Canada. An interactive discussion panel in the afternoon will discuss the role that indigenous people can play in the economy. Organizers have also collaborated with the Ch’nook initiative, based out of the Sauder School of Business at UBC to host a group of 16 Māoris from New Zealand who will participate in the panel.

“In B.C. we’re at this point where we’re looking at our economic future and we’re wondering — is it going to be a future of unparalleled resource extraction, mostly in the north of the province where it’s mostly First Nations people holding down the fort? Or are we going to move into an economy with a more generative and sustainable economic base?” Jordan asks.

A couple of weeks ago, confluence organizers met at a large shared home that a community member volunteered for the meeting. Using a facilitation style developed by Tammy Lea Meyers called “in the room,” the team sat in a circle and reflected on questions like: What do we all have to offer to group processes? What kinds of things can we do together? What do we need to do together?

 
  The confluence strives to connect people who are working to bring the human economy into balance with the natural ecosystem.

“The group of people we had gathered there, how they came to be there and now what we’re doing together is the story of the new economy to me,” Jordan says. “It’s over a period of the last few years that people have been awakened in different ways to knowing that we need to change things.”

The group shared individual realizations about how their experiences of working towards ideas in isolation or activist approaches to “fight the power” did not result in significant change and that there must be a better way to direct their efforts.

“Making big change is all about collaborating at a much deeper level than any of us have ever done before,” Jordan says. “Learning to recognize what gifts each of us brings to this process; forming trust amongst ourselves and doing things together like organizing this event — taking on this massive project and doing it because we know we can do it together and we knew we could make it work.”

Jordan hopes that the confluence will convene a group of people that are excited about working together. “I hope we can start a network of people who are committed to working together to ramp up this movement in an unprecedented way. That’s what I’d love to see come out of this,” he says.

For more information on the confluence visit: neweconomy.ca

To register for confluence events, visit: lnevancouver2013.nationbuilder.com/lnetickets

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