Lulu Speaker Series


Lulu Series hero bannerThe Lulu Series is an annual spring series of talks about Art in the City and its importance to establishing connections between citizens and their communities.

Since 2003, the City of Richmond has presented regional, national and international speakers including acclaimed artists, architects, urban planners and other cultural leaders. Previous lecture topics have included planning and placemaking, public and environmental art, art as community development, art as urban revitalization, architecture, artists’ live/work spaces and sculpture parks.

Free with registration required. Lectures are preceded by a short performance or presentation by a local artist.

About the Lulu Series: Art in the City

From urban planning and place-making to art as community development and urban revitalization, the relationship between art and our urban environment is a rich and lively topic for guest speakers and audiences alike.

The objectives of The Lulu Series are:

  • to educate participants on the importance of art as a means for citizens to establish connections with their communities;
  • establish evidence that as people connect with their communities and the spaces and businesses in them, there will be an enhancement in commerce;
  • create benefits for business leaders and design professionals to proactively incorporate artistic expressions into their places of business and building designs and for politicians to promote and support this; and
  • lay challenges and establish goals for the growth of art in Richmond and other Lower Mainland communities.

2023 Speaker Series

Milena Droumeva Cityscape: Creating urban sonic solutions

Thu, Sep 21 - 7:00pm

How do we stop to listen, reflect, and perhaps invent new models for thinking about urban sound? What is a “sonic identity” and how can it foster sustainable livability? Milena Droumeva’s newest project, Cityscape, is a first-of-its-kind attempt to bridge acoustic ecology with city planning in a game format, offering the wider public the chance to learn about acoustic ecology and practice possibilities for repairing some of the health and community damage that urban noise incurs. The game asks the player to assume the identity of an interest group and create an infrastructure with a soundscape, unlike current initiatives that engage communities in listening, recording, and composing existing city sound. Droumeva’s practice aspires to acoustic balance in the modern city, and ultimately a meaningful process for incorporating sonic considerations in architecture, city planning and policy.

Milena Droumeva is an Associate Professor of Communication and Glenfraser Endowed professor in Sound Studies at Simon Fraser University specializing in mobile technologies, sound studies and multimodal ethnography, with a long-standing interest in game cultures and gender. Their current project explores best practices for soundscape design in cities and civic participation approaches to storytelling with sound.

This talk will be preceded by a short performance by Konstantin Bozhinov.

Register for Milena Droumeva Cityscape

Barbara Cole, Lorna Brown, Colin Griffiths, Sunshine Frère and Marko Simcic // Other Sights Exploring spaces of contestation and sites of unclear jurisdiction

Thu, Oct 19 - 7:00pm

Over the past seven years, Other Sights has been exploring water as public space through a range of programs that engage with the complex jurisdictions and grey areas of the shoreline, the historical and cultural contexts of our local waterways, and the metaphorical richness of “floating” as a critical position and starting point for artistic exploration. Join the producers of Other Sights as they share a range of recent projects that include a FLEET of Mobile Artist studios, a floating artist residency, a public art performance exploring care recipient autonomy and creative systems of access, and a trio of public artworks that further important dialogues about public spaces on unceded territories. Other Sights is an artist-run organization in Vancouver active since 2005 and specializing in commissioning temporary, often large-scale, projects for the public realm. They work in a variety of media, contexts and venues and their audiences have ranged from intimate engagements to those reaching hundreds of thousands.

Other Sights' projects build close relationships with artists and collaboratively explore the regulatory conditions of public life, engaging actively with multiple stakeholders in the production of works that have occupied pedestrian thoroughfares, digital screens, billboards, waterfronts, school classrooms, and vacant lots on the street. Other Sights producers have worked with hundreds of artists producing a variety of public artworks in and around Vancouver and celebrated 15 years of operations in 2020.

This talk will be preceded by a short performance by members from the CANADIAN YC CHINESE ORCHESTRA.

Register for Other Sights

Joseph Fry // HAPA Collaborative On Commemoration

Thu, Nov 23 - 7:00pm

Over his 25 years as a landscape architect, Joseph (Joe) Fry has explored a long and deep-seated interest in commemorative sites as the intersection between culture and tradition, community and ethnicity, private stories and public history. The landscape is a powerful medium to reveal these themes, offering overlappings of meaning, and ultimately, a deeply personal connection to place. As a sansei, or third-generation Japanese Canadian, Fry is particularly fascinated by the impact of the Japanese internment over generations as he invites a new Japanese Canadian audience to understand the lingering implications of that event on their personal histories.

Through his studio’s work for the Steveston Nikkei Internment Memorial, Canadian Navy Monument in Ottawa, Yi Fao Park in New Westminster and various design competitions and unrealized works, Fry will review some of the lessons he has learned in pursuing commemorative design work through his career, and shed some light on how public art and memorialization in the public sphere is changing in the age of Reconciliation.

Joseph Fry is a principal at Hapa Collaborative, a landscape architecture and urban design practice that is deeply committed to the creation of connected and livable communities. Hapa inspires attachments between people and their environments by revitalizing forgotten spaces into ones buzzing with social energy, as dynamic and intricate parts of a larger, connected whole.

This talk will be preceded by a short performance by SAM DAVIDSON.

Register for Joseph Fry HAPA Collaborative on Commemoration

Previous Speakers

  • Michael Audain, BC developer, art collector, foundation founder, public art supporter and benefactor
  • Fred Kent, President, Project for Public Spaces, New York
  • William Cleveland, founder and director, Centre for the Study of Art and Community, Washington
  • Erling O. Mork, former CAO, City of Tacoma and urban revitalization expert, Washington
  • Architects Johanna Hurme (5468796 architecture, Winnipeg) William Browne (Ratio Architects, Indiana), Arthur Andersson (Adersson-Wise Architects, Texas) and Chris Doray (Bing Thom, Vancouver), Mark West (Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology (C.A.S.T.), University of Manitoba) and Bing Thom.
  • Milenko Matanovic, executive director of the Pomegranate Centre, Washington
  • Lister Sinclair and Mavor Moore, Canadian cultural icons
  • Artists Patrick Dougherty (North Carolina), Konstantin Dimopoulos (Melbourne), Buster Simpson (Seattle), Stephanie Robb and Bill Pechet (Vancouver), Dennis Oppenheim (New York), Hema Upadhyay (Mumbai), Instant Coffee Collective (Vancouver) and Connie Watts (Port Alberni)
  • Joanna Sykes, project manager, Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Washington
  • Tim Jones, CEO, Artscape, Toronto
  • Chris Rogers, project manager, Olympic Sculpture Park and Director of Capital Projects and Government Affairs, Seattle Art Museum
  • Barbara Lueke, 4Culture and Sound Transit, Seattle
  • Max Wyman, chair, Metro Vancouver Regional Cultural Task Force
  • Jan Gehl, urban planning expert, Gehl Architects, Copenhagen
  • Cameron Cartiere, Dean of Graduate Studies, Emily Carr University of Art+Design
  • Leanne Prain, yard bombing guru, Vancouver
  • Charles Blanc and Tristan Surtees, Sans facon, Calgary/U.K.
  • Paula Jardine, Community Artist, Victoria
  • Andrew Pask, Vancouver Public Space Network founder, Vancouver
  • Cath Brunner, Director of 4Culture, King County, WA
  • Richard Tetrault, muralist, Vancouver
  • Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City: Transforming our Lives Through Urban Design
  • Norman Armour, artistic and executive director, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
  • Brian Wakelin, PUBLIC Architecture + Communication
  • Michael Rohd, Center for Performance and Civic Practice
  • Norie Sato, Visual Artist
  • David Vertesi, Founding Executive Director, Vancouver Mural Festival
  • John Patkau, Patkau Architects, Vancouver
  • Eric and Mia, Interdisciplinary Community Artists
  • Michael Henderson, Architect at HCMA Architecture + Design
  • Darren O'Donnell, Mammalian Diving Reflex (Toronto)
  • Germaine Koh, Visual Artist
  • Debra Sparrow, Indigenous knowledge keeper and weaver
  • Justin Langlois, artist, educator and writer
  • Vance Harris, Principal, Architecture, DIALOG

What's in a name? The Lulu Story

Richmond is comprised of 17 separate islands located in the mouth of the mighty Fraser River on the traditional lands of the hǝn̓q̓ǝmin̓ǝm̓ speaking peoples, who fished the river ways and gathered plants and berries from its fertile shores. While Richmond’s physical landscape is shaped by its location in the river estuary, the city’s cultural landscape continues to be shaped by its inhabitants.


In the early years of European settlement, Royal Engineers surveying British Columbia’s wilderness erected a theatre in the New Westminster district. The playhouse hosted a variety of visiting entertainers, none of whom was more beloved than Miss Lulu Sweet of San Francisco, California, whose dancing, singing and acting were revered by newspapers of the day as “chaste and beautiful.” One of her most ardent admirers was Head Engineer, Colonel Richard Moody, who accompanied the young actress on her departure voyage from New Westminster to Victoria.

The story goes that, as the two stood on deck, gazing at passing landmarks, Miss Sweet inquired as to the name of one large island. After replying absent-mindedly that the island, as yet, had no name, Moody—seized by a flash of inspiration—suddenly exclaimed, “By Jove! I’ll name it after you!”

Today, Richmond is celebrated as a cosmopolitan, “edge city” with a vibrant, ethnically diverse population and a rich mix of residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial areas.

The Lulu Series, a collection of dialogues initiated by leading artists, architects and economic developers, hopes to spark conversations about the nature of our changing physical, social and cultural landscape.