Story Café designed to capture changemaking in Simcoe County

Virginia Barlow and Connor Minielly were hired by the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre to oversee the Peter B. Moore Maker Space at the Barrie Campus as part of their co-op. The space is home to students from across the college who collaborate on changemaking projects and start-up initiatives – a place to imagine, tinker and create.

Furnished with high-tech equipment and gadgets, it’s a beehive of activity and often at capacity. The space is also home to the popular Maker Nights – a workshop series on topics as wide ranging and timely as 3D printing, making mini bots and Blockchain 101. ​

Virgina and Conner were busy this semester working on a project of their own. They teamed up with the Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation to design a Story Café – Georgian’s version of a speakers’ corner. Participants visiting the booth are encouraged to answer compelling questions around social innovation and changemaking.

The front side of the café captures video. The back is interactive with a place for participants to share handwritten ideas and answers to various questions on sticky notes.

The goal of the café is to inspire a changemaking spirit throughout our region through dialogue and storytelling. It made its first appearance when Georgian and its partners launched an exciting new Changemaker Challenge on Oct. 24. The café was at Open House, Mental Health and Well-being Awareness Week, and can be booked for any student, employee or community event.

It will also tour each of Georgian’s campuses before heading out to local high school and elementary schools, to encourage younger students to tell their stories.

“One of the neat aspects of the café is a compelling questions series,” says Virginia. “Participants are encouraged to answer some pretty big questions that challenge their perceptions and beliefs. It’s our hope these questions will spark ideas, start conversations and encourage people to share their stories.”

Did you know? Georgian is Canada’s first – and only – designated changemaker college. Learn about what our students are up to at


Posted on

November 20, 2018