By contributor Gordon Hak

On March 18, members of the Arts and Humanities faculty at the Cowichan campus, as well as a contingent of staff and students, will travel to the Malaspina Theatre to strut their stuff. The presentation is part of the Arts and Humanities Colloquium, the popular lecture series that for the past six years has highlighted the provocative, intellectually stimulating, and exciting work being done by faculty members at VIU. This presentation is entitled “Stories and Raspberry Pi’s: An Innovational Approach to Experiential Learning” and will highlight  the activities of the VIU@Cowichan Innovation Lab, an interdisciplinary space that lives at the Duncan campus.

Sally Carpentier, from VIU’s English Department, is organizing the event, and she has been the manager on many projects sponsored by the Innovation Lab. Diversity is one of the main features of the Lab, and this will be evident in the Colloquium presentation, which, Carpentier says, “will bring together an Inuit storyteller; a jazz enthusiast and scholar; an anti-neoliberal; postmodern feminist; an unretired artist and graphic designer; a social activist practising the Theatre of the Oppressed; an information technologist and open source advocate; and a cross-dressing robot called Poppy.”

Another important aspect of the Innovation Lab is the involvement of students and a commitment to experiential learning. And so, Carpentier says, it was crucial to include “six brilliant work-op students” in the multimedia mini-presentations. This mix of students, faculty, and staff involved in a range of activities shows that collaboration is another important characteristic of the VIU@Cowichan Innovation Lab.

This group of creative, interdisciplinary thinkers and artists will “collectively attempt to answer the larger institutional question of what is an Innovation Lab.” Moreover, says Carpentier, “in the process, they will give a decidedly eclectic but ultimately inspiring response to another institutional question: What in the name of scholarship and community engagement is going on down at Cowichan?”

The free Colloquium presentation is from 10 to 11:30 a.m.. It is open to all, and students are especially welcome. There will be refreshments.