research * the future * culture

My first consulting gig

I had a really interesting meeting today. I talked with Justin Ferrato, a student of the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab, about a project that he and his fellow Media Lab students are working on for Nuit Blanche 2010.

I don’t want to give away the content of the project, but it sounds really interesting and I’m excited to see the final result. I was asked by a Media Lab faculty member, Susan LK Gorbet, (who I know from OCAD’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation program) to talk about SF anime, something that I’ve discussed at length at other blogs. It was one of the first times I’d been asked to share my expertise anywhere outside the contexts of academia or fandom. I realized this halfway through explaining the visual metaphors at play in a specific and beloved film clip. By that point I was really enjoying myself: my meeting felt like all the fun parts of teaching (which I really miss, sometimes) wrapped up with all the best parts of panel discussions at cons (without the sleep deprivation). I always forget how much niche data I have stored until I watch someone taking notes on what I say. It’s a nice feeling, like suddenly realizing that the ground underneath you really is solid after all.

At WorldCon in Montreal, I said that the best part of workshopping is when someone tells you that your suggestion is a helpful one. I hold with that sentiment. There’s something really affirming about alleviating someone else’s creative frustrations so they can go ahead and solve the rest of the puzzle on their own. It means that their own contributions make it into the public eye that much faster, enriching the community as a whole. Being part of that process — or being asked to be part of it — is really special. I hope I get asked again, soon.

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  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

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