Introducing the Shift Lab: Fren Mah
Curious about the folks who are participating in the Shift Lab? Wonder no more! Over the next three weeks, we will feature each of the Core lab team members (12 in all) as they tell us their thoughts about social innovation, racism and poverty in Edmonton, and why they joined the Shift Lab. Yesterday, we met Pieter. Today, meet Fren Mah. You can also check out Fren’s bio here.
I am very excited to work with the Shift Lab Core Team, and I look forward to getting to know them better over the next four months. They are a diverse group of people in many ways, including culture, careers, experiences and skill sets, and I know that our exchange of ideas will benefit us both individually and as a problem-solving group. I am excited that Shift Lab will be discovering new and innovative solutions to help alleviate racism and poverty through social innovation over the next four months.
I first learned about social innovation in design school, where we discussed new ideas such as micro-grants in Africa (e.g. Spark MicroGrants), which was a new concept at the time. Micro-grants empower the community by providing sustainable growth through local ownership of their projects.
Shift Lab aims to find solutions to racism and poverty, because systemic racism and poverty are interconnected in Edmonton. Racism and poverty are important issues to me because I have met people who feel marginalized that want to live in a more inclusive society. I personally feel that those who are marginalized want to have their voices heard, and do not always have a platform or the power to start a dialogue. The lack of dialogue creates a misunderstanding between different social groups, causing problems such as frustration, ignorance, and discrimination. As an artist and designer, one of my goals is to help facilitate dialogue and foster a community understanding of one another, no matter the race nor income of individuals. I look forward to working with the Shift Lab Team to develop a solution that will work for those in need that is community driven and empowering.