Creating Community Through Technology and The Arts


November 16, 2023
Event 8:00 AM TO 5:30 PM
Registration 7:30 AM – 8 AM
Reception 5:00 – 5:30 PM


The Cotton Factory
270 Sherman Avenue North
Hamilton, Ontario
L8N 6N4


$75 +HST per person includes access to all PIVOT Tech events, morning refreshments, lunch and closing reception. A limited number of tickets are available for students at $25 + HST
EVENT DAY PHONE: 905-572-0363

The PIVOT Symposium will provide a unique opportunity for people from a range of fields to come together to share experiences, learn, and acquire skills in creative problem-solving.

The daylong, in-person event will take place at the Historic Cotton Factory, a hub for creative industries.

The program will focus on three big challenges facing Hamilton and similar midsize cities worldwide, and identified through discussions with community stakeholders:

  • Housing: Unleashing New Technologies in Sustainable Housing
  • Mobility: Accelerating Smart Mobility Infrastructure in Communities
  • Culture: Using Digital Technology to Widen Access to Cultural Experiences

“The goal is to promote new ways of creating desirable communities for the 21st century,” said Rob Zeidler, Managing Partner of the Cotton Factory. “That means combining the best in technology, creativity, and artistic expression.”

This symposium will be of particular interest to leaders, practitioners, and scholars in technology, engineering, science, arts and entertainment, design, and community building. The program will be delivered by experts with experience in collaborative projects that have had a positive impact in Hamilton and beyond.

Program highlights include an exercise in the use of design thinking in the creative process, a talk on the role of technology in developing bonds of human belonging, stories from changemakers at the forefront community-building, and a luncheon address on the topic of strategic management applied to success across societies.

Featured Presenters:

  • David Adames, CEO, Niagara Parks Commission
  • David Bobier, Founder, Director and Curator of Vibra Fusion
  • Dr. Robert Fleisig, PEng., Professor of Engineering Design, McMaster University
  • Gail Lord, President, Lord Cultural Resources Inc.
  • Ryan Moran, Entrepreneur and Creative Brand Specialist
  • Sean Nix, Associate Dean of Technology, Mohawk College
  • “Parkside” Mike Renaud, Creative Director, Hidden Pony Records
  • Jim Ruxton, Electronics Engineer and Media Artist
  • Dr. Deborah Sloboda, PhD., Project Lead, Art of Creation Study
  • John Summers, Manager of Heritage Resources, City of Hamilton
  • Mark John Stewart, Managing Director, Wentworth Strategy Group
  • Cyrus Tehrani, Director of Innovation, City of Hamilton

PIVOT is designed and delivered in partnership with McMaster University, Mohawk College, City of Hamilton, McMaster Innovation Park and The Cotton Factory.


7:30 am – Registration

8:00 am – Welcome 
Changemakers Madi Fuller and Khadija Hamidu, co-hosts for the inaugural PIVOT Symposium, will welcome attendees, provide background and context, and share an outline of the event program.

8:15 am – Search for Models in Creativity
Ryan Moran, Manager of Programs and Partnerships at Innovation Factory, will open the day with a reflection on the meaning of creativity and the challenge of making it come alive in organizations large and small.

8:30 am – Creative Problem-Solving Through Design Thinking
Dr. Robert Fleisig, P.Eng., lead for the Master of Engineering Design Program at McMaster University’s W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, will facilitate an interactive segment focused on models to help changemakers tackle complex challenges facing communities worldwide. He will be joined by Avani Mehta, a McMaster Design Thinking Fellow.

10:00 am – BREAK — Networking in PIVOT Exhibit Space

10:15 am – Quest for Belonging in a Digital World
Team Members from the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) and special guests will lead a presentation and panel discussion devoted to understanding the human need for belonging and ways that technology and the arts inspired by creativity can build communities that are more inclusive and resilient.
Introductory Speaker: Audrey Patocs, Research Manager, MIRA
Moderator: Dr. Allison Dube, Project Manager, MIRA
Dr. Nicole Dalmer, MIRA Researcher
Dr. Brian Detlor, MIRA Reseacher
Dr. Lea Ravensbergen, MIRA Researcher

11:00 am – The Art of Creation
Dr. Deborah Sloboda, PhD., a researcher and specialist in perinatal programming, will talk about her experience in leading “The Art of Creation,” a novel example of how to share scientific concepts with the public, specifically through art.

11:15 am – Story Spotlight
Jim Ruxton, Electronics Engineer and Media Artist and David Bobier, Founder, Director and Curator Vibra Fusion Lab in London, Ontario will share their experiences in using digital technologies to connect and empower vulnerable communities.

11:30 am – Housing: Unleashing New Technologies in Sustainable Housing
Sean Nix, Associate Dean, School of Engineering Technology and Aviation at Mohawk College, will facilitate an interdisciplinary panel on creative solutions to sustainable housing that are affordable, just, and climate-resilient.
Sean Botham, Manager of Development, CityHousing Hamilton
Michelle Diplock, Manager of Planning and Government Relations, West End Home Builders’ Association
Petra Matar, Principal Architect, DPAI Architecture Inc.

12:30 pm – LUNCH

1:00 pm – Keynote Talk
The Big Picture — Strategic Management Applied to Success Across Societies
Mark John Stewart, Managing Director, Wentworth Strategy Group

1:30 pm – Mobility Challenge: Accelerating Smart Mobility Infrastructure in Communities
Introductory Speaker and Moderator: Cyrus Tehrani, Director of Innovation, City of Hamilton
Maureen Cosyn Heath, Director of Transit, City of Hamilton
Haseeb Malik, VP Data Operations, IRIS Inc.

2:30 pm – BREAK — Networking in PIVOT Exhibit Space

2:45 pm – Story Spotlight 
“Parkside” Mike Renaud, Executive Creative Director at Hidden Pony Records and Management, will share his experience of using blockchain technologies, NFTs, and artificial intelligence to raise awareness and funds for charitable causes in developing economies.

3:00 pm – Culture Challenge: Using Digital Technology to Widen Access to Cultural Experiences
Team Members from the City of Hamilton and guests will convene a segment that dives into the use of augmented reality, mixed media and other technologies that enable communities to understand and celebrate arts, heritage and culture.
Introductory Speaker: John Summers, Manager, Heritage Resource Management, City of Hamilton
Experiencing Wonder – Fresh Insights from Niagara Parks:
David Adames, CEO, Niagara Parks Commission
Gail Lord, President and Co-Founder, Lord Cultural Resources
Question and Answer Session.

4:30 pm – Wrap-Up and Closing Remarks

5:00 pm – Reception and Pivot Tech Networking Event