Going Digital at Digifest

Digifest is an annual digital festival held in Toronto designed to showcase groundbreaking creations in the digital space in order to spur on innovation in digital media, art, design and technology. This year REAP sponsored three of our REAPsters to present their own project and to make connections among industry, academics and the public. John Meade, a long time REAPster shares his experience below:

After experiencing the 2015 Toronto Digifest event, we were left with a definite feeling of inspiration. From the ground floor, Digifest felt much like an episode of Dragon’s Den. The space was dotted with people excited to share their work and idea with anyone passing by. Many ideas don’t make it past the “huh, wouldn’t that be neat” phase, and it was very uplifting to see the spoils of everyone’s hard work bringing their ideas to the next level.

The event itself was quite busy — a constant stream of presentations forced attendees to quickly shuffle around to visit kiosks when there was a lull in the talks. The talks were actually very interesting, with a mix of art projects and general technology, and they were all digestible — even to technically illiterate people.

Among the projects littered around, a bit of everything could be found — there were interactive art projects, design concepts, robotics, and software projects. The quality of these projects was something that really stood out. Almost all of them felt like they were crafted with care over many weeks or months, and some of them were even concepts that could be ready to evolve into a small business.

What left the greatest impact was the air of inspiration and passion that could only be rivaled by a mother defending her cubs. The student showcase had an unprecedented 15 schools competing against each other with projects spanning many disciplines, such as sustainable transport concepts, video games for education, and kinetic art. Indeed, the true source of inspiration was seeing so many people working together to make a change or to create something they cared about. Whether or not any of these pieces ever make it past the prototype stage is irrelevant. What *is* relevant is the fact that people are taking the initiative to tackle big problems and realizing that they can make a difference.

Digifest might be over for now, but the message is clear. Nobody has to watch their ideas pass them by, and with enough drive anyone can be an agent of change, no matter how few or many resources they command.