• A Festival of Ideas
  • May 2 - 5, 2024
  • Guelph


The fundamental focus of DodoLab is simple: What are the barriers to adaptation and change? In order to address this, we work to uncover underlying—and often unperceived—ideas, beliefs and assumptions that affect (or even govern) what we do or don’t do. We want to reveal these ideas so that we can examine and discuss them openly, and so become more aware, purposeful and ultimately more resilient. DodolLab is convinced that being open to change is critical and that we desperately need to develop richer, generous and creative adaptation strategies if we do not want to go the way of the dodo. We want to repopulate the world with a new species of dodos that are more than just sustainable—they are also robust, resilient and capable of surviving in an unstable, fluid environment.

DodoLab focuses on a core conviction that we are severely burdened by established ways of doing things and by the maintenance of the infrastructure of dated models on a variety of scales. We need to embrace the potential for informed risk-taking and sacrifice. We need to be willing to stop and go back beyond what we think are the foundations. We believe that youth and emerging ideas don’t get the respect and attention that they deserve. We believe that out of simple interactions and dialogue, innovative thinking will emerge. We believe that we cannot solve the complex problems we face if we don’t work together with openness and respect. We promote through content. We bridge critical thought to the everyday. We learn by doing. We engage the public in public.

Who is DodoLab?

DodoLab is a collaborative project of Musagetes and Waterloo Architecture. Led by Andrew Hunter with Lisa Hirmer, DodoLab involves an expanding and changing team of creative researchers with knowledge, experience and a commitment to engaging environmental and social issues and who see design and meaningful innovation as central to their work.

DodoLab: On Being Canadian

In response to John Ralston Saul’s latest book A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada, DodoLab is presenting a series of projects designed to engage the audience at the 2009 Guelph Lecture in a playful yet critical consideration of evolving concepts of Canada. These projects have been developed with contributions from Farid Noufaily, Dan Henhawk, Lisa Hirmer, Andrew Hunter, Crystal Mowry, Dennis Reid, Jeff Thomas and Anu Radha Verma. Included in this program is a “What are the Icons of Canada?” ballot. Please follow the instructions on the ballot and drop it off at the intermission in one of the DodoLab ballot boxes in the lobby or you can also give it to a DodoLab researcher (you’ll see us around in our handsome T-shirts featuring Guelph cartoonist Seth’s original dodo logo). We’d also like you to visit us at our lab in the lobby throughout the evening. We’ll be running other projects for you to participate in and also giving out sets of Jeff Thomas’ Home/land & Security postcards.

Concrete slabs, road dividers, and safety railings partially block access to a street. Flags from various Indigenous communities wave on either side of the blockade.

Jeff Thomas, “View of the Douglas Creek Estates site, Argyle Street S., Caledonia”, 2008. GPS: N43 03.428 W79 57.949, Alt: 200m

A wooden carving on an Indigenous elder appears to look out over a river.

Jeff Thomas, “The Delegate posed along the Grand River, Waterloo, Ontario” 2009. GPS: N43 21.452 W80 19.002