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Annual event introduces scholarship for Canadian students

Photo: Anchal Sharma

Comic book lovers, whovians, potterheads, and trekkies alike came together Oct. 3–4 at the Nepean Sportsplex for the semi-annual Ottawa Geek Market. The event, which was co-founded by University of Ottawa alumna Stacey Young, began as a type of flea market for fan paraphernalia in October 2012 and has expanded to include the Capital Gaming Expo, formerly known as the Game Summit, as well as a scholarship fund for post-secondary students.

“We have tried to create an environment where people from all walks of life, fandoms, geekery can come together and just sort of celebrate what it is that they’re passionate about when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy, anime, horror, steampunk, and gaming,” said Young.

Keeping with the theme of the festival, students were able to apply for a $1,000 scholarship by submitting pieces of self-made art in one of three categories—visual art, sculptures, and costuming. Although it was not required, most of the art centered around fandom and geek related content, allowing applicants to share their love for the things they are passionate about through art.

The finalists for the first scholarship competition were invited to attend the event and were then judged by a team of experts in the fields of the chosen category. The winner of the visual art category was Steve Woolley, who is studying animation at Algonquin College.

Although the categories for this year were more related to visual art, the scholarship categories will be changing for each festival in order to allow as many students as possible to participate. Future categories that are currently being considered include writing, performing arts, and graphic design.

The idea for the scholarship fund came during the process of selecting a theme for the event as well as choosing a charity, something that they do every year.

“When we were thinking of what we were going to do for this event it occurred to us that in October 2015, in the second Back to the Future movie, that’s when they go to the future,” said Young. “We were into October 2015, so we thought ‘hey, let’s do something to do with the future.’”

The Back to the Future theme inspired them to choose a charitable effort that was related to the future. Young believes that the students of today are the minds shaping our future and that “it’s important to support local artists,” so a scholarship for Canadian students was a natural choice.

For Young, the Ottawa Geek Market weekend is an exciting part of the year because it allows the geek community to come together and celebrate the things that they are passionate about.