Design workshops in North Battleford

I traveled to North Battleford for two design workshops. Driving to these workshops has been an excellent way to reflect on Saskatchewan’s need for new connections between artists and communities that are normally separated by time, money, and distance. 

At the first workshop, I was immediately struck by how knowledgeable the participants were about their city’s art professionals and art patrons. They assembled a group to meet with us that represented theatre, music, galleries, craft, and education. Along with the representation of a wide range of art forms came an excitement for collaboration. The participants quickly saw the flexibility of Shared Spaces and its potential to work in the intersection of theatre, music, galleries, craft, and education. 

We discussed our project and received valuable insights from them about their experiences with art to help us see where it could be improved. They could imagine several ways to enhance their prized collection of Allen Sapp paintings and videos with AR, 3D scanning, or 360° video. Our discussion transformed as we discussed their understanding of art consumption in North Battleford and what brings in crowds to participate in the arts. Some reflected that it would be great to have tools to fuel the excitement for presently less-seen art forms. 

They shared how they experienced a new vigor for the arts in the past when a traveling event came through and taught North Battleford residents about set production for live theatre. Many people became interested in the arts for the first time and were able to learn a lot for their community from outside talent. They felt that similar events were unlikely to happen again because of how expensive it is to travel and host the experts and equipment needed. Knowing these desires and challenges, those participating in the workshop reflected their eagerness to use technology to bring more of these experiences to their community. 

I too feel the potential of Shared Spaces to address these challenges and am glad that we can involve the communities along the way to design for their needs. I feel hopeful that our time spent on the road during these workshops will help our project bring communities closer together through meaningful interactions with art.

Written by Emilie Neudorf, User Engagement Team Member