FLOW: Connecting the Dots Photos

FLOW: Connecting the Dots (2024)


Send some love to our photographers! 

A huge shout-out to all of our event photographers who so magnificently captured the spirit of the day... please take time to visit our photo and A/V team page. They'd love to hear from you!

Reflections on "FLOW"

As we put the wrap on "FLOW: Connecting the Dots", we have some post-event thoughts to share and celebrate!

First and foremost, a HUGE thank you to everyone who made the event possible. All of our events are a community effort, and we want to recognize each in turn...

Speakers and Performers. We start with our speakers and performers, whose talks are the core of the event. All of them put their best heart and soul efforts into preparing and refining their talks in the months and weeks leading to the event, and they delivered the talks of a lifetime on our stage.

Volunteers. Behind the speakers and the event were the efforts of more than 35 volunteers, who collectively contributed more than 5,000 hours of effort over the course of the year in planning and executing all aspects of the event. We truly are a volunteer-powered effort, and our team this year introduced innovations such as special sensory accommodations for neuro-diverse participants, closed captioning, and a series of local food vendors.

Interactions Partners. In the event itself, we had more than 15 interactions partners who brought intriguing displays and experiences to the event, ranging from finding your poetic voice to live art to print-making to ground water simulators. Also as part of our interactions, we took a different approach to our refreshments by inviting smaller local businesses to provide samples of their amazing wares, including ice cream, honey, Brazilian dishes, locally-produced coffee, and much more!

Our Visionary Partners. Behind all of our efforts were this year's visionary partners. Aspen Properties has been an exceptional supporter of our efforts, providing both the amazing space of The Ampersand venue and facilitating our efforts with their exceptional team (a very special shout-out to Aimsley, who was our main contact this year and handled the event with consumate skill and grace). The University of Calgary was instrumental in bringing together a number of the interactions, and in promoting the event to University alumni and students, and also provided special speakers from the University's Three Minute Thesis Competition within the Faculty of Gradute Studies. We had additional finalists in the event interacting with our participants, and also valued members of the Univerity of Calgary Graduate College available to talk about their research.

The Photo and A/V Team. When we hold an event, the talks are being recorded "live to tape". That means we have to have an exceptional crew of creatives to record, photograph, and edit the talks and all that goes on around them. We recognize our main videographer, Chris Hsiung and Hidden Story Productions, who have been partners for most of the last decade. Alberta Bass was new to our event this year as our A/V supplier, and their efforts were outstanding. Last but certainly not least, our photographers brought their professional skills to immortalizing so many amazing moments throughout the day (see their work on our Flickr site and check out their individual sites at Photographers.TEDxCalgary.ca)

Special Remarks by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, The Honourable Salma Lakhani, AOE B.Sc., LLD (Hon). As this was our 15th Anniversary as an organizing team, it was a very special honour to have the Lieutenant Governor provide opening remarks. Her focus on the valuable role of volunteering and building community was heartening to us, as both of these underpin our ongoing efforts to bring ideas to our local community.

An insight that we had with the event this year is that "flow" doesn't always occur in the ways that we expect. As always, there were highs and lows in the organizing effort, and we surmounted each challenge in turn with the energy and passion of our all-volunteer team.

It was a special time for us to be able to talk about the overall concept of "flow" at a time when we face the prospect of water scarcity this coming summer season. It is all too easy to take our friend and teacher, the Bow River, for granted as it passes serenely through the city and makes its way to Hudson Bay through various connected systems. We hope that all of our participants and you who are reading this take time to celebrate our life-giving river in your own ways this coming year, including joining in the celebrations of our water with RiverFestYYC as they launch their 2024 season.

Keep tuned for the release of the event talks in the coming months, and join our e-news bulletin or social channels for more!




RiverFestYYC - Performing in Flow

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We're very pleased to be featuring performance elements from three of the amazing artistic talents of RiverFestYYC. Welcome Nicole Korenda-Tritter, Adora Nwofer, and Morag Northey to our speaker and performer line-up.

RiverFestYYC is a vibrant and inclusive cultural festival that recognizes the Bow and Elbow Rivers as a unifying presence and acknowledges their life-giving gift of water. Through extraordinary arts installations and performances, engaging workshops and creative adventures, the festival invites Calgarians of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate our connections with the Rivers. By promoting collaboration, innovation, and shared purpose, RiverFestYYC aims to build a more cohesive city and foster a sense of connection between diverse communities and traditions.


S.K. Wellington - Singer, Songwriter, Musician

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S.K. Wellington is led by dynamic singer-songwriter Sarah Kemmers, known for crafting compelling melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. She was joined for our event by performers Talia Beckie and Clayton Dell.

A true aficionado of the creative process, Wellington often finds themselves in a state of “flow” while composing music. This profound state of immersive absorption and deep focus is where Wellington’s songwriting thrives. It is in these moments of flow that the distractions fade away, the overthinking dissolves, time stands still, and S.K’s songs truly come to life.

Kemmers has been writing and performing music for well over a decade with different bands. Her debut solo EP as S.K. Wellington, "Where the Earth Meets the Sea" was released in 2018 and met with positive reviews all the way from her Calgary hometown to the UK. She followed the successful EP with a steady series of singles and is set to finally release her next EP in late 2024. Sitting in the “perfect pocket of folk, pop, indie, and rock”, her music has been described as “Fleetwood Mac meets Deathcab for Cutie”.

S.K.’s songs have made the Regional Top Ten in the CBC Searchlight competition four times, and she was nominated for “folk recording of the year” at the YYC Music Awards in both 2019 and 2020. She’s had the honour of opening for other fantastic singer-songwriters such as Dan Mangan and Donovan Woods.

At TEDxCalgary, S.K. Wellington will not only perform a couple of selections from their repertoire but Sarah Kemmers also shares insights around how entering a flow state can transform the ordinary act of writing music into an extraordinary experience of discovery and wonder.


What does flow mean to you?

Flow to me means complete immersion — a loss of the sense of separateness between the myself and the "task". Just one, flowing activity that typically results in feelings of joy, inspiration and creativity.


Frank Frigo - Bow River Interpreter

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Frank is a water resources engineer and applied hydrologist with the City of Calgary, focused on water supply, dam and reservoir design and operations, floodplain management, flood forecasting, stormwater, water quality and riparian management.

For the last 16 of his 26 years environmental and water resources career Frank has gotten to "really know the Bow" studying the Bow River and its watershed, tributaries, water quality and habitat. The Bow has taught Frank about flood, drought, climate shift and ultimately about resilience.


What does flow mean to you?

Flow is about energy passing across space and time in streamlined form — flow is connection


Dr. Rachel Lauer - Geoscientist

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Rachel's journey in earth science began with a profound curiosity about the inner workings of our planet. Her career has carved a unique niche, delving into the fascinating intersection of the seafloor and Earth's mysteries—an area we know less about than the surface of Mars.

Her research is a testament to her curiosity, particularly focusing on the dynamic relationship between life and the ocean/earth interface. Rachel's work primarily centers on terrestrial and submarine hydrogeology, where she diligently unravels the planet's mysteries beneath the ocean's depths. Her ground-breaking research in submarine hydrogeology, specifically the movement of fluids beneath the oceanic crust, has led her to explore the ocean's depths aboard Alvin, a deep-water submersible, reaching depths of 4.5 kilometers. This unique perspective has granted her profound insights into the intricate connections between geoscience and biology in the Deep Ocean. Most recently, she played a pivotal role in an international collaboration, working alongside biologists, policy researchers, artists, and others, focused on understanding fluid exchange and it’s support of life at depths of 3.5 kilometers.

Beyond her research, Rachel is an inspiring educator. She doesn't simply teach; she mentors and guides, passionately committed to shaping the future of her students. Her unwavering dedication to preparing undergraduates and graduates for global challenges is evident in her creation of innovative courses, her mentorship beyond the classroom, and her active involvement in curriculum development. Her mission is to ensure that students not only secure jobs after graduation but also embark on fulfilling careers that continue to evolve. She actively participates in various department, faculty, and university committees, recognizing that collaboration and shared responsibility are essential for a thriving academic community.

Rachel is a scientist who relentlessly pursues knowledge, endeavours to make the world safer, and is devoted to inspiring and supporting the next generation of scientists.


What does "flow" mean to you?

Flow is the process that connects us to each other and the planet...


Dr. Belinda Heyne - Photochemist, Head of Chemistry at University of Calgary

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Dr. Belinda Heyne is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Calgary. She is a Photochemist, bringing molecules to life with light! Dr. Heyne's research harnesses visible light to energize the oxygen we breathe, creating singlet oxygen. She leverages this potent molecule to successfully combat the escalating global challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

Her impact reaches well beyond her lab. As a passionate advocate for women in science, Dr. Heyne captivates audiences in numerous ways, from chemistry magic shows to the Women's Global Breakfast in Calgary (an event she helped organize). Her dedication to science and advocacy has earned her numerous awards, including the Immigrant of Distinction Award, which holds a special place in her heart as it celebrates her contributions to her field and community.

Dr. Belinda Heyne was born and raised in Belgium where she earned her Ph.D. in Science from the University of Liège in 2004. Her passion for photochemistry led her to Canada, where she worked alongside the renowned Prof. J.C. Scaiano, known as the Godfather of Photochemistry, at the University of Ottawa. In 2007, she embarked on her independent career at the University of Calgary and now proudly leads the Department of Chemistry as Head.


What does "flow" mean to you?

 Flow is the energy that connect all of us.


Dr. Sanaa Ahmed - Expert in Illicit Financial Flows

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Dr. Ahmed is an assistant professor of law at the University of Calgary, where she teaches courses on criminal law and addressing money laundering.

Her interdisciplinary approach to studying the intersection of law, public policy, and economics has earned her recognition as a Killam Laureate. With a Ph.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School York University, an LLM from the University of Warwick, and a BA LLB from the University of Karachi, Dr. Ahmed’s work examines the regulatory, constitutional, and governance issues at the heart of global regulation.

Author of peer-reviewed articles in top academic journals & book chapters in prestigious publishers.


What does "flow" mean to you?

 "Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die." E.M. Foster


Michael Wernick - Government Expert, 23rd Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada

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Michael Wernick is an expert, teacher and influencer on how government and politics work in practice.

Author of Governing Canada: a Guide to the Tradecraft of Politics (UBC Press 2021), he is currently the Jarislowsky Chair in Public Sector Management at the University of Ottawa.

His 38 year career with the federal public service included 28 years as an executive and culminated in the top job, serving as the

23rd Clerk of the Privy Council from 2016 to 2019. He is an advisor to MNP Digital and a frequent contributor of articles, interviews and podcasts.


What does "flow" mean to you?


Periods of mindfulness and focus and shutting out chatter and background noise.


Meredith Preston McGhie - Peacemaker, Secretary General for the Global Centre for Pluralism

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Meredith Preston McGhie is a peacemaker and pluralism ambassador working to build societies that recognize, respect, and value diversity.

Meredith Preston McGhie has devoted nearly 30 years to addressing conflict and instability in Africa and Asia in some of the most troubled situations. From working with the Naga in Northeast India and Indigenous communities on the Thai-Myanmar border, to supporting UN efforts in Kosovo, Northern Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Kenya, her work has straddled frontline negotiation, policy and diplomacy.

She became the Global Centre for Pluralism’s Secretary General in October 2019. In this position, Ms. Preston McGhie provides strategic leadership for the Centre and represents the Centre externally as an ambassador of pluralism to develop strong relationships with diplomatic communities, governments and other institutions.

Prior to working at the Centre, Ms. Preston McGhie worked as Africa Regional Director with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue overseeing the HD Centre’s complex mediation and dialogue efforts in the region. In the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process in 2007-08, she advised the Panel of Eminent African Personalities led by the late Kofi Annan. She has contributed annually to the Oslo Forum, a gathering of the world’s leading experts and policymakers in conflict resolution, and teaches mediation practice internationally.