April 11, 2019
Inspired Spaces an eventful experience
Four programs, seven industry partners showcased
The tabletops were glamorous and the venue decked out. But the recent production of Inspired Spaces — Seneca’s annual tabletop competition — was more than just beautiful tables.
“It has evolved into a huge production that creates a real-life learning experience for all of our students,” said Professor John MacBride, Program Co-ordinator, Event Management – Event & Exhibit Design.
The event, which saw collaboration from four academic programs and seven industry partners, drew more than 200 industry professionals from across Canada to the new Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) at Newnham Campus on March 27.
“The involvement of the other academic areas elevated the sophistication of the event. It was the best turnout we’ve ever had,” MacBride said. “It takes all of us to pull off an event like this and our industry partners helped put it on the national stage.”
Those partners included Event Rental Group for rentals and Presidential Gourmet for catering. The Butler Did It provided professional service staff and OneWest Events helped sponsor the bar. The International Live Events Association Toronto chapter co-produced the event and FMAV provided additional equipment and television support. The event was part of CSE Live, a national event conference produced by Canadian Special Events, which provided marketing, promotion and registration.
Seneca Alumni provided financial support.
In addition to showcasing outstanding tabletop designs from 20 of MacBride’s students, Inspired Spaces treated guests to live musical performances by six students from the Independent Music Production and Independent Songwriting & Performance programs.
“We were asked to provide background entertainment, but the event provided incredible potentials for the students,” said Professor John Switzer, Program Co-ordinator, Independent Music Production. “They were excited by how official the event was and by the positive response from professional event planners who approached them for future opportunities.”
Behind the scenes, about 20 students from the Event & Media Production program handled technical production, content development and event planning for Inspired Spaces, everything from lighting to audio and video systems.
“We were there to up the game, so to speak, and to provide a better user experience,” said Professor Tim Abbott, Program Co-ordinator, Event & Media Production.
In turn, Abbott said the students benefited from cross-disciplinary experiential learning that is crucial to their work.
“Something always goes wrong at events, and the better prepared you are, the more you are able to calmly react,” he said. “It’s not real until the audience is there and people only know we are there if something goes wrong.”
While this year’s Inspired Spaces handed out top three awards to Sakina Li (gold), Riley Wilson (silver) and Han Vo (bronze), the event was a win for all.
Brendan Pilgrim, who made up his mind to come to Seneca after watching Inspired Spaces on YouTube three years ago, received two jobs from industry professionals who attended the event.
“I met with three décor houses and they all gave me great feedback about my unique taste and storytelling,” he said. “Now I’m booked!”
From setting up and booking catering to inspecting rental delivery and tearing everything down after the event, Pilgrim said the hands-on approach of working with other students and industry partners exposed him to the life of an event designer and planner.
“It’s not just the creative aspect, it’s also business planning,” Pilgrim said. “It’s a true reality of what the event industry is all about.”
Check out our photo gallery of the 2019 Inspired Spaces.