Life in the Fish Bowl

A group of foundation executive directors visited Fort McMurray at some point last year. They came from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver-the big cities-on a fact-finding excursion to Fort McMurray. And while many of us were convinced that they had embedded negative associations with Fort McMurray and the oil sands, the fact is that they were more curious than anything else.

The country, the continent, the world, is intently curious about life in the fish bowl, otherwise known as the urban centre in the heart of one of the richest deposits of oil on planet Earth. As a community of interest, we have been studied, observed, judged, filmed, photographed, recorded, poked, prodded, flipped, tripped, framed, re-framed, defamed, clustered, aligned, misaligned, read about, raved about and researched about from tip to toe and back again. Focus groups, surveys, studies, and interviews have produced a vast uncatalogued compendium of data that is lurking just below the surface ready to bubble up and be seen.

I'm very excited about the Unwrap the Research Conference happening in Fort McMurray from October 22 to 24 at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre and the Suncor Community Leisure Centre. A partnership effort of Keyano College, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the City-Region Studies Centre at the University of Alberta, this three day event will expose us to a bevy of research that has been done on and about us.

The conference will start with a series of workshops-meaningful sessions designed to increase our capacity to both understand and engage in actionable research. In the evening, a keynote will be delivered followed by a panel discussion about our life in the fish bowl and how to capitalize on findings that will be presented over the next day and a half.

Who should attend? Anyone who is interested in better understanding ourselves, our community, our challenges and our opportunities. Register today and get ready to Discover Life in the Fish Bowl as we Unwrap the Research.

August 17, 2010 - 196 pounds, 28.5% body fat


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