About the project

We are building a new kind of incubator for the arts and culture

The story exchange is a community platform designed to inspire, connect, and nurture storytellers, artists and creative makers in all media, their supporters and fans.

We are not doing enough to nurture culture at our university, in our community, and society. STEM has been touted as the primary engine of innovation and economic progress, and certainly scientists and engineers are crucial to our community’s and society’s success.

But recently, many have begun to sense that it is time for our focus to broaden. First of all, our organizations need creative, entrepreneurial workers in all fields to help envision, make, share and promote their innovations. Second, we need a strong cultural sector to help create communities where our scientists and engineers – and everyone else – can find rejuvenation, connection, meaning and fulfillment.

"Only connect."
–E. M. Forester

Leveraging the talent-development and community-building techniques utilized so successfully by local technological and social innovators, the Laurier Creative Exchange is a platform for building connections between people and nurturing the creative and artistic activities of our communities. In doing so we will:

  • Help to nurture the next generation of artists, designers and creative thinkers
  • Further Laurier’s holistic, engaged approach to learning
  • Bring joy, self-expression, intellectual wellness and meaning to participants

Where: A rich array of inspiring interactive physical and digital spaces

The initiative’s activities take place in a series of inviting physical and digital spaces, such as the following:

  • Robert Langen Art Gallery in Waterloo campus Library
  • A new gallery shop in the Langen Gallery
  • Outdoor Garden Stage area adjacent to Waterloo campus library
  • Microgallery spaces across from the elevators in the Waterloo campus Library
  • Remote “pop-up” locations in the external community

What: An evolving slate of cross-pollinating creative events, programs and happenings

The initiative is designed to support an evolving slate of cross-pollinating activities:
  • Concerts
  • Art exhibits
  • Theatrical productions
  • Film screenings
  • Author events
  • Networking sessions for creatives
  • Workshops on art making
  • Colloquia and unconferences
  • Food events led by prominent chefs

Who: broad and deep networks of people who produce, enable and consume creative work

Our approach is to focus not on the individual artist in isolation, but on the broad and deep networks of people who participate in the production and consumption of art – on the “world” that makes art possible. It is such a network that we are seeking to create and nurture, with a focus on building connections between many different participants in Laurier’s “art world,” such as the following:

  • Artists and audiences
  • Artists and supporters/funders
  • Creative entrepreneurs and startups across different media and industries
  • Local arts organizations and members of the Laurier family
  • Art world participants from different groups within Laurier: students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community
  • Art world participants from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds identities
  • Groups at the university with and arts and culture component, such as the Faculty of Music, Social Innovation and Venture Creation, the Beckett School, the Faculties of Arts and Liberal Arts, and many others
  • Junior artists and mentors
  • Community leaders in the sector

These are early days, but the response of our community to date has made us think we are onto something. Stay tuned!