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Interesting Vancouver: Q&A with Mark Busse and Brett Macfarlane

Interesting Vancouver is an annual speaker event which invites Vancouverites to listen to inspiring ideas and stories. For their 9th year, a paranormal investigator, a grief counselor and a competitive kite flyer are on the speaker panel. We interviewed IV producer Mark Busse, and founder Brett Macfarlane, on the story behind the event.

Q: What is “Interesting Vancouver”?

Brett: Interesting Vancouver is an annual cross-disciplinary gathering of fascinating people sharing their hobbies, obsessions, and passions. The aim is to connect and cross-pollinate curious minds across any and all disciplines. The belief is great ideas come from the unexpected connections we make in life.

Mark: In addition to giving a stage to new stories, we annually award the IV Prize to enable the creation of an interesting project or person. While the night is a unique one off performance we aim to extend the reach of IV with our podcasts, previously featured on CBC radio. Throughout the year we offer hands on learning by hosting “DoShops“, together with our friends at Creative Mornings Vancouver. Interesting people teach others how to engage in their fascinating obsessions or pastime.


Q: What inspired you to start the event?

Brett: The purpose of Interesting Vancouver is to expand the collective vision of what is possible in Vancouver and done by Vancouverites.
Mark: We were tired of “sage on the stage” conferences and speaker events that seemed more about impressive presentations and self promotion than authentic stories and human connections. We were tired of the word “community” becoming meaningless rhetoric and wanted to find a way to tap into the collective genius of this unique city and region, and help build connections and capacity. Our belief is that great ideas, inspiration, and perspectives come from unexpected connections, and that by celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things in our community we can expand the collective vision of uniquely possibility and give people an opportunity to discover new creative pursuits they can apply in their own lives.
Interesting Vancouver
Mark Busse and Brett Macfarlane amidst the Interesting Vancouver speakers 2015

Q: How are speakers for IV selected? 

Brett: We work hard to search far and wide for people who deserve a stage and our team of “IV Catalysts”, known and notable Vancouverites, humbly and quietly support our mission.
Mark: We do a call for nominations and throughout the year a committee continues searching for optimists and activists who get on with doing things rather than sitting around wishing for things. We try to find people with unexpected personal stories they’re willing to share with an eager audience. As we gather prospects, we then try to create a diverse selection of speakers. We look for speakers who are multidisciplinary—art practitioners and cultural performers are balanced with other creative innovators and change makers. Settlers, immigrants, and indigenous voices—this diversity is the beauty in our event, and a a reflection of the Vancouver we’re proud of.

Q: Can anyone apply? How can a Modo member become a speaker next year?

Mark: Yes of course! If members come to the event they’ll experience a terrific sense of community and better understand what it takes to be a speaker, or they can watch videos from the past eight years on our website Anyone is qualified to be an IV speaker if they express themselves through an interesting passion, hobby or obsession!

Q: Mark, you are a long term Modo member, what’s the most “interesting” experience you had in a Modo?

Mark: I once had a van loaded to bring stuff to a work event. I stopped by our office to pick up some other supplies and used the back elevator, but something broke and it got stuck between floors for two and half hours. Needless to say, I, and all the stuff in the van, were very late for the event and I’ll not soon forget that day!

Get tickets for the Interesting Vancouver event on November 10th at SFU Woodwards on Eventbrite.

Modo Co-operative
Toll free1.877.226.2277
Modo Co-operative
Toll free1.877.226.2277
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