The theme behind Interesting Vancouver is that there’s no theme at all. While the speakers might be sharing their stories from a stage, it’s not meant to divide them from the audience. Mark Busse, one of the event’s organizers, explains that the annual event is meant to be inspiring because it’s inclusive.
“People are getting tired of the informed educator taking the stage and the audience quietly sitting on their hands, playing the role of the student,” he says.
The event was founded in the UK seven years ago and has since expanded to multiple cities around the world. (This will be Vancouver’s fifth event.) Its purpose is simply to bring people together to create conversation, with the intention of leading to inspiration. Busse says topics generally include “obsessions and hobbies, unexpected and original things”. Unlike other conferences and talks, there’s no divide between speaker and audience members. Organizers classify it as an “unconference”, if you will.
“We want this to be extremely authentic and accessible,” says Busse. “Someone in the audience should feel just as qualified to be on stage, presenting their story as any of the invited speakers.”
The speakers are “collected” by a committee. This year, they include:
Ron Skewchuck, a PR guru who is also an international BBQ champion.
Roy White, a successful international designer who found an avocation in middle age as a dancer.
Lloyd Bernhardt, a software developer who turned Ethical Bean coffee guru as a result of adopting a child.
Boris Mann, a tech entrepreneur who spent a year on a tall ship.
Aamer Haleem, co-host for CTV Morning Live who has interviewed celebrities such as George Clooney and Madonna, and covered international events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Concert for Diana.
Tori Holmes, the youngest women to row an ocean — as a novice — and live to write about it.
Corinne Lea, an artist turned business woman who successfully fought city hall at the Rio Theatre.
Toby Barazzuol, who spent his childhood in the Stanley Park Teahouse, became an entrepreneur, and then found a vocation restoring buildings and supporting community in the Downtown Eastside.
“The underlining goal is to get fascinating people from all walks of life in Vancouver in the same room,” says Busse.
The event takes place this Friday, September 28, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p,.m. at the Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut Street. It sells out every year, so if you haven’t got your tickets yet, get on it.