‘Peo­ple bring the de­signs to life’

Fash­ion-for­ward limb cov­er­ings cre­ated by young change-mak­ers fea­tured by CBC’s ‘We Are The Change’ con­test

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NATIONAL NEWS - KATHRYN McKEN­ZIE

The first time McCauley Wan­ner had a con­ver­sa­tion about pros­thet­ics with an am­putee she re­mem­bers be­ing shocked that there were no op­tions avail­able. When she sug­gested that there could be al­ter­na­tives to the cold, med­i­cal and im­per­sonal na­ture of pros­thetic limbs, “he was shocked that there could be op­tions.”

Along with her co-founder, Ryan Pal­i­broda, Wan­ner set out to cre­ate unique, per­sonal de­signs. Their first pro­to­types were made out of pa­per, wire, car­bon fi­bre; what­ever they could get their hands on to bring their vision to life.

“We made it out of ev­ery­thing un­til we came up with the ma­te­rial and shape and the process that we have now,” said McCauley.

Seven years later they’re well be­yond those early pro­to­types with their com­pany, Al­le­les De­sign Stu­dio, where they are cre­at­ing fash­ion for­ward pros­thetic leg cov­ers for their happy cus­tomers.

“It’s the peo­ple that bring the de­signs to life,” says Wan­ner. “One girl has three cov­ers and they’re all the hip­ster cov­ers and one girl has all the or­nate, in­tri­cate sort of like lacey ones.”

Their­cov­er­sare­designed­toat­tach eas­ily to pros­thet­ics and al­low their cus­tomers to in­ter­change them to match their style and per­son­al­ity.

Now, Wan­ner and Pal­i­broda’s work is start­ing to get no­ticed. The two were se­lected from a long list of young Cana­dian change-mak­ers to be fea­tured in CBC’s “We Are The Change” con­test. The con­test, cur­rently run­ning on­line along­side the tele­vi­sion se­ries We Are Canada, is a part­ner­ship be­tween CBC, White Pine Pic­tures and Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity. The top 10 change­mak­ers worked in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity’s Vir­tual Stu­dio to cre­ate videos and share their sto­ries.

Na­dine Richards, an Al­le­les cus­tomer from Cal­gary, was ec­static to see their video fea­tured in the con­test. “I love my Al­le­les cov­ers be­cause they to­tally change the norm of what peo­ple are used to as­so­ci­at­ing with ‘dis­abil­ity.’ ”

The way that Al­le­les has pos­i­tively in­flu­enced the lives of so many am­putees stood out to Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity stu­dents, Daniel De Medeiros, Rocco Bom­bardieri and Cyrano Sanna, who worked with the duo to make their video.

But with the Al­le­les team based out of Vic­to­ria and the stu­dents lo­cated in Toronto, the pro­duc­tion team had to over­come their own set of ob­sta­cles and be­come change­mak­ers in their own right, em­brac­ing a new type of re­mote pro­duc­tion through the “Vir­tual Stu­dio.”

Their pro­fes­sor, Ra­mona Pringle ex­plains, “the con­cept of the Vir­tual Stu­dio is to em­power a new kind of cre­ation through col­lab­o­ra­tion, across the en­tire coun­try. What’s so in­cred­i­ble about the net­worked age we’re liv­ing in is that you don’t need to fly across time zones for this kind of pro­duc­tion. If you’re cre­ative and re­source­ful, you can cre­ate great con­tent, re­motely.”

So what was it like to be in­ter­viewed three time zones away? “It was a re­fresh­ing change,” says Pal­i­broda, who pro­vided the team with con­tent to help build the story. “They’restu­dentsright,an­dit­makes me kinda ex­cited for the future of sto­ry­telling and jour­nal­ism.”

For the stu­dents, the ex­pe­ri­ence was an ex­cit­ing one, too. In ad­di­tion to learn­ing about edit­ing and in­ter­view­ing, “cre­at­ing this piece opened our eyes to the fact that there are great peo­ple out there do­ing great things,” says De Medeiros.

“What feels so in­no­va­tive about this form of col­lab­o­ra­tive sto­ry­telling is the way that the cre­ators work with their sub­jects to tell their story in an au­then­tic way. Suc­cess means rep­re­sent­ing your sub­ject in a way that they are proud of, while put­ting your own cre­ative spin on it,” says Pringle.

In many ways this ap­proach to co-cre­ation echoes the type of dig­nity and col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tion­ship Wan­ner and Pal­i­broda aim to build with their clients.

As Wan­ner puts it, “You start work­ing with some­one and the thing you end up pro­duc­ing in the end isn’t what ei­ther one of you thought it was go­ing to be but it’s ac­tu­ally bet­ter.”

With 6,000 views of their video in four days, it seems many Cana­di­ans agree.

You can view the Vir­tual Stu­dio’s video of Wan­ner & Pal­i­broda along with the other top ten change­mak­ers from all across Canada at www.cbc.ca/wearethechange and vote for your favourite un­til April 24.

I love my Al­le­les cov­ers be­cause they to­tally change the norm of what peo­ple are used to as­so­ci­at­ing with ‘dis­abil­ity.’ ” Na­dine Richards

DRYDEN PRINGLE PHOTO

McCauley Wan­ner and Na­dine Richards, an Al­le­les De­sign Stu­dio cus­tomer from Cal­gary.

Ryan Pal­i­broda, McCauley Wan­ner.

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