This project is a collaborative effort between Carleton students (from Industrial Design and Business) and two remote communities (Mayo, Yukon, and Masset, BC). This project focuses on entrepreneurship, community engagement, sustainability, and education. Carleton students are working with these communities to design and develop multiple projects with real-world, sustainable applications in these communities. The interdisciplinary projects focus on leveraging knowledge within the communities with the business, design, and scientific expertise of students at Carleton to focus on initiatives involving housing, food sovereignty and security, youth and community engagement, and mental health and wellness. These projects include an oral history project using cutting-edge technology, developing sustainable food sources in variable weather conditions, an entrepreneurial skateboard-making business, a local youth-run radio station, a community maker space, and several other community-driven, needs-based, and value-added projects.

Students will develop skills beyond technical expertise to cultivate a rich creative thinking process involving risk-taking, fluidity, and idea generation.

The goal of this project is to nurture a meaningful collaborative partnership between Carleton students and a Northern community through the establishment of youth-run entrepreneurial ventures and other projects. The approach to the project includes a process of co-creation in a partnership relationship, two-way dialogue, and geographically distributed teams.  Through participatory activities, the project will strengthen cross-cultural relationships and enable Carleton students and community youth to develop culturally appropriate ventures that will increase engagement and community pride. Carleton students use their business and industrial design backgrounds to leverage already existing ideas and talents within the communities.

These interdisciplinary projects focus on synthesizing knowledge within the communities with the business, design, and scientific expertise of Carleton students.

Funds will be used to pay for expenses related to four field trips (two to Mayo YT and two to Masset, BC), each one about ten days in length. Different groups of Carleton students will participate in each field trip. During these trips, Carleton students will work with local youth participating in various projects. The first trip to each community will focus on engaging with youth in the conception and design process. The second trip will focus on prototype testing and skills development. For example, on one of the trips, Carleton students will be teaching local youth both silk screening and airbrushing skills to apply to their skateboard deck manufacturing business.  Funds will also be used for building product prototypes to be tested in the communities.

Through your contribution, you are supporting opportunities for real-life experiences which can be transferred into students’ future careers as a business and industrial design professionals.

This project will have a positive impact on multiple levels.

At the community level, the project will encourage community youth to:

  • Participate in projects that increase both their business skills and their pride in their communities;
  • have an opportunity to develop and apply their creative skills in the development of these projects;
  • acquire practical skills in entrepreneurship, business, and teamwork.

For Carleton students, it will:

  • Increase their skills in social entrepreneurship, creative thinking, and working in geographically and culturally distributed teams;
  • allow them to establish long-lasting relationships with community members;
  • increase their social and cultural awareness and provide them with experience in working in a cross-cultural environment.

This project provides students and collaborating communities with a unique opportunity to work together in a partnership context. Partners are engaged in meaningful human-centered design processes and sustainable planning based on open communication and mutual respect. We aim to make this a perennial, permanent project by working together to build our relationships with communities and amplify our collective strengths. This project can serve as a framework for ethical working relationships between academic institutions and Indigenous communities and work towards building trust within these partnerships. With its emphasis on collective benefit, the project will also serve as a test laboratory and model for universities and other institutions to use in the formation of partnership initiatives.