Samantha Lefort's blog

The power of letter writing in the digital age


Letter writing. When was the last time you wrote one? Hand-writing a letter is one of the most useful and informative ways to pass on information. But in this age of typing 40wpm the art of a handwritten letter has become somewhat of a novelty. Time, energy, and producing large quantities of communication information have been main deterrents from the age-old method, but what about their efficacy? Is having all this information effective? Or are we too quick to dismiss and disseminate information? How much of it are we actually absorbing, and what parts of this information is actually producing positive change? 

With the online social-media activism community all a-Twitter about efficient and meaningful change-making activism, it leads us to wonder if the most meaningful changes will occur on or off-screen. A project spearheaded by ECUAD Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Culture + Community, Duane Elverum, intends to gather the strength of the masses, and produce letters for social change. Duane writes:



The latest and great from the SIM Centre's Show + Tech

In case you missed it, here are some of the latest, greatest and craziest digital art, design and software projects showcased at the Emily Carr's Social + Interactive Media Centre's show + tech!

Held on the Emily Carr Campus on Thursday October 28th, 2010 in Room 247A, these presentations had five minutes to share their work, in traditional show + tell format: one object, or one slide, to illustrate their topics - all relating to social + interactive media.


Lez Renovate - With their own YouTube channel, blog, and unique style - this Vancouver couple is renovating their house in EastVan, and invites you to follow along through all their trials and tribulations! 

Vancouver Sun names SIM Centre Director as one of BC's 100 Women of Influence

The SIM Centre's own Dr. Alexandra Samuel has been named as one of British Columbia's 100 Women of Influence. The Vancouver Sun writes:

It wasn't an easy task to come up with just 100 women of influence in B.C., as so many women are accomplishing so many amazing things. But these women, from seven distinct fields, deserve to be recognized.

Here is what the Sun had to say about Alexandra and the SIM Centre:

Alexandra Samuel and her husband Rob Cottingham launched Social Signal, Vancouver's first social media firm. Samuel quickly earned a reputation for her writing about the impact of social media on work and personal lives. In 2009, Samuel (whose PhD dissertation at Harvard was on computer hacking) was hired as director of the new Social and Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr, created to further the university's research role and foster its connection with B.C.'s tech sector.

Read the full article here.


New design and creative thinking from MAA students at Emily Carr

Designing a compelling report on company's research achievements.

Writing a white paper on industry trends.

Brainstorming possibilities for transmedia gaming.

These are just a few of the ways that MAA students at Emily Carr have helped to drive the SIM Centre's applied research. And we're excited that this year's incoming MAA class has brought a fresh group of talented designers and artists into Emily Carr, and to the SIM Centre.

Here are some of the MAA students who recently presented their research interests, and who you will likely meet at future SIM events and presentations:

Katherine Soucie - Katherine continuously works towards developing new ways to modernize traditional textile techniques by producing textiles and clothing that are new and functional. Katherine believe that reinventing pre-existing materials raises our sense of awareness, appreciation, and expresses our need for individuality. Katherine looks forward to continuing the dialogue between garment & wearer, and between art and fashion during her MAA.

Engaging Companies in the Design Conversation

Design can be a powerful driver of business innovation and growth, but design language can take years to learn fluently. So how do you engage companies in the design conversations that can help them make their next leap forward?


That's the challenge that a number of Emily Carr students have tackled through their real-world immersion at PowerTech, a division of BC Hydro. PowerTech made Canadian history by creating Canada's first and only Level III Electric Vehicle Charging Station, the fastest way to charge electric cars.


But it takes continuous innovation to stay on the forefront of alternative fuel-source technologies and initiatives. Emily Carr's Social + Interactive Media Centre, funded by a 5-year grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, supports innovation through applied research.


Using technology for sustainable design: An interview with Emily Carr MAA student Karen Whistler

Karen Whistler is a currently completing her MAA at Emily Carr. She has a particular interest in systems, sustainability, and getting to know Vancouver. In an interview for the SIM Centre, Communications Intern Samantha Lefort sits down with Karen to talk design, SIM, and the future.

Samantha: What brought you to Emily Carr?

Karen: I am from Seattle and grew up in the northwest. My husband and I enjoyed  Vancouver every time we visited and were delighted to find out about Emily Carr. I was drawn to the emphasis on research in design, focus on sustainability and resources on campus. 

Samantha: Have you had a chance to explore the SIM Centre, and if so, how/why? What was your initial reaction?

Karen: I have worked in digital agencies and helped build social media strategies for clients and I can say that work was very flat. It was driven by technology as an end and sought to capture how people were currently engaging with media instead of pushing the concepts further. So, I think the SIM Centre is a working on a much deeper level.