Photo by Brent Calver.

Innovation, creativity, industriousness, innovation – Ben Reed has a lot going on. The co-founder of Maker Faire and former director at Protospace will be speaking as a part of One Book, One Calgary, about some of the amazing initiatives and projects he’s discovered happening in Calgary at the Central Library’s John Dutton Theatre, November 27, 7:00 p.m.

According to Ben, this degree of innovation and hard work is unique to Calgary. He cited that’s it’s a city with “the most engineers per capita” of any city in North America. The mixtures of technical knowledge and desire to build and create means that the city has “more people hungry for knowledge, and sharing knowledge” than anywhere else. Protospace, a community prototyping lab in north east Calgary that Ben is a member of, has “initiatives springing out” of it almost constantly.

Ben says that the key to this kind of innovation is cooperation. “When you cooperate with others with no selfish expectations, results are beneficial to more parties involved. ”

His involvement with the library is one of those collaborations. After holding Calgary’s first annual Maker Faire, a community building showcase this summer, Ben was invited to hold a a “robo-showcase” at the library. He brought in robots, and acted as a mentor to bring people through the process of building their own, spending Saturdays building robots and coding. “The library should be a resource for learning,” Ben says. “Not just books – but a hub for discovery.” Now, Ben is returning to highlight some other innovate projects he’s discovered around the city.

One such innovative new project that has sprung up in Calgary is the MakeFashion initiative. The initiative is a selection of events, workshops, and projects, all striving to demonstrate the convergence of technology and art. Some of the projects include work with e-textiles, sewing LEDs into fabric, and 3D printed jewellery. “Everything is programmable. People take that, and new technology, and apply it to the fashion world.”

When asked what makes Calgary awesome, Ben had this to say: “There is so much discovery. The passion to learn, be curious, and share knowledge is incredibly strong here. The community is hell-bent on getting involved in something bigger than themselves.”



Upcoming One Book, One Calgary Events:

1. Oldest Newest, Warmest Coolest

Join architect Carmel Gatt and Special Projects Librarian Rosemary Griebel to discuss how new libraries are becoming gateways to the future, and the great potential for the new Central Library which is planned for Calgary’s East Village.

Wednesday, Nov. 21, 12 to 1 p.m., Central Library, John Dutton Theatre.

2. 3 Things for Calgary

What can each of us do to make Calgary better? Learn about some of the ideas and actions stemming from the “3 Things for Calgary” initiative created by the Mayor’s Civic Engagement Committee. Develop your own “3 things” with others through networking and brainstorming activities.

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Central Library, John Dutton Theatre.

3. The Book of Awesome – Calgary Foodie Edition

Discover more about the awesome food available in Calgary while learning three simple recipes inspired by The Book of Awesome. Presented by Calgary is Awesome Food Editor and registered dietitian Vincci Tsui.

Wednesday, Nov. 21, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Crowfoot Library.
Sunday, Nov. 18, 1 to 3 p.m., Signal Hill Library.

4. Awesome Calgary: Thousand Dollar Thursday

Join us as the top four finalists for November make their 90-second pitches to the Awesome Team in quest of a $1,000 grant to make their ideas a reality. For more information on making a submission, visit Deadline is Nov. 10. Presented in partnership with the Awesome Foundation Calgary.

Thursday, Nov. 22, 6 to 8 p.m., Central Library, Main Floor South.

5. The Science of Happiness and You

Get happy! Join expert Dr. Patrick Finn in a discussion about what we know
about the science of happiness and what it means for your life.

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Fish Creek Library.


  Calgary is Awesome is a proud supporter of One Book, One Calgary.