Where is Here: Mapping and growing the knowledge economy

The Comox Valley Art Gallery hosts a symposium in downtown Courtenay July 20-22.

The Comox Valley Art Gallery team is eager to host a symposium on cultural mapping

by Hans Peter Meyer, team lead for #WeareYQQ

Where is Here is a cultural mapping project. It’s also the name of a symposium that the Comox Valley Art Gallery is hosting in downtown Courtenay July 20-22.

The #WeAreYQQ / LIFT Project just came on as a sponsor. Why are we interested in “cultural mapping?” Because I see a good fit.  Where is Here is doing an inventory of our talent resources. We’re interested in leading, inspiring, and fueling Comox Valley talent to think bigger, to act collaboratively, to grow our economy.

CVAG’s Sharon Karsten says cultural mapping is a key piece in the larger community economic development puzzle.

“One of the first questions you have to ask is, What do we have to work with? What kinds of people do we have? What are their talents? How can we leverage these to grow a bigger knowledge or creative economy?”

Several years ago Qualicum Beach did a similar project. The Town faced similar economic challenges to the Comox Valley – including a dependence on the 3Rs of retirement, retail, and recreation. The QB inventory led to a number of initiatives. Some are now fueling growth in the Town’s knowledge sector economy. I can see the same thing happening here.

Karsten says mapping is a way to get the ball rolling.

“Maps are notorious for how they connect people. Where is Here is going to bring people out of the woodwork. It’s going to help them connect and build on each others’ strengths.”

The symposium becomes a focal point for this work. It’s an opportunity for our community to learn more about how cultural mapping can benefit our community. The organizers have attracted a number of key thinkers in the field, including the people who helped Qualicum.

Downtown Courtenay is a specific focus for Where is Here, but Karsten says the project is really about the whole Valley.

“If you’re interested in cultural or economic development and the future of the region, we want to see you here,” she says. To register go to bit.ly/29eijuc

Even if you can’t make the symposium you can still play an important role. Search for the #whereishereCV and #WeAreYQQ tags on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Use the tags and for your own observations about the value of a talent-driven economy.

Every time you “engage” with these tags you’re raising the visibility of our Comox Valley talent economy. By being part of the online conversation, you are part of the solution.

I’m thrilled about Where is Here. I strongly believe that our cultural assets – our innovators, entrepreneurs, artists – are the future of our economy here in the Comox Valley. It’s good to see Karsten and CVAG making this shift happen.

 

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