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Keynote Speakers

We are thrilled to announce the following Keynote Speakers for the 2019 BC Library Conference!

Opening Keynote – 5:30 pm: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Location: Tynehead Ballroom
Generously Sponsored By: UBC Library

Vanessa Richards

Champions of Imagination – Why Libraries Can Save Life on Earth

VanessaA massive unleashing of imagination can shift our current crisis. We usher this possibility in with the guidance of libraries and the people who work in them. As institutions transforming their design, libraries possess the momentum with which to inspire and equip citizens in creating a just city, a protected Earth and a beloved community. We must transform the story, raise the ancient song, point to that remedy and do it now.

Vanessa Richards examines creativity in common life. Her participatory arts practice invites communities to explore life when we turn more toward each other than away.

She has devised and delivered social arts projects with The Portland Hotel Society (PHS), Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Coastal Health, Public Dreams Society, The Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Capilano University, and Vancouver Park Board, among others.

Verse and music are central to her interests. At Cardiff University she earned an MPhil in Creative Writing with poetry and critical anthologized in the UK, Holland, United States and Canada. She is the founder and choir leader of Van Van Song Society (formerly Woodward’s Community Singers) and director of Creative Together, song based facilitation.

Committed to the unique history and futurity of people of African decent in British Columbia, Richards has been an active member of the City of Vancouver’s Black History Month Citizen’s Advisory Group. As a volunteer board member of the Hogan’s Alley Society, they have been participating in the development of the Northeast Falsecreek Plan which formally acknowledges and redresses the erasure and resurgence of Vancouver’s African diasporic culture in its original Strathcona neighbourhood displaced by the Georgia Viaduct.

At 312 Main in the DTES, she is the Director of Community Engagement helping to
transform the former headquarters of the Vancouver Police into a new coworking centre for social and economic innovation. In 2018, she received the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Achievement Award for her work in the realm of civic imagination.

Photo credit: Amanda Palmer

Hot Topic – 5:00 pm, May 9, 2019
Location: Tynehead Ballroom

Title: Messy Moments: Libraries and Intellectual Freedom

Session description and presenters TBA.

Closing Keynote – 3:30 pm: Friday,May 10, 2019
Location: Guildford Ballroom
Generously Sponsored By: CUPE BC

Emily Pilloton

Emily_Pilloton_SquareCropSmFear Less. Build More.

Emily Pilloton, founder of the youth design initiatives Project H and Girls Garage, wants you to “go big or go home.” With decades of experience building real world projects with youth (a farmers market, tiny homes, and a workshop just for girls!), Emily will challenge you to channel your creativity and curiosity into new ideas for what libraries might be in the future. As a bibliophile (both her grandmothers were librarians!) and diehard maker and builder, she will present hands-on projects she has done with youth along with new mindsets to encourage prototyping, radical partnerships, and brave making in our library spaces. Her background in architecture and design will inspire you to experiment in new ways and envision new futures for the libraries we all know and love.

Emily Pilloton is a designer, builder, educator, and founder of the nonprofit Project H Design and its sister program, Girls Garage. Using architecture and design as a vehicle to transform communities and classroom pedagogy, she works alongside youth ages 9-18 to co-design and build public architecture projects. She has built a farmers market with high school students, a playhouse with girls whose mothers have experienced domestic violence, a school library designed by its own middle school students, and microhomes for a homeless housing agency. Her work seeks to change the authorship of our built environment and cultivate power in underestimated communities, specifically young girls, undocumented youth, and communities of color. With an educational philosophy rooted in creativity, design thinking, and project-based learning, Emily also works with educators and schools to reinvent teaching and learning in more hands-on and community-focused ways. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California Berkeley, and a Master of Fine Arts in Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently a Lecturer in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California Berkeley, and is the author of three books, Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People, Tell Them I Built This: Transforming Schools, Communities, and Lives With Design-Based Education, and a forthcoming book about tools and building for young women. Her work is documented in the full-length film If You Build It, and has been featured on the TED Stage, The New York Times, The Colbert Report and presented to the Obama Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy at The White House.