Adrienne Harry

On her Medium page, Carey Davis described herself as “intoxicated by curiosity”. It’s a trait her professors and colleagues also recognized.

“Things that always come to mind when describing Carey are how curious, how engaged and how hands-on she was,” says Teresa Kramarz, director of the Munk One program and one of Davis’s professors. “She not only wanted to learn about issues in the world, but wanted to do things in the world.”

Davis passed away a year ago, but she made a lasting impact on her teachers and colleagues. That is why, to honour her memory, Davis’s family, peers and professors created The Carey Projects, an initiative that develops and supports Munk One student interventions. The Carey Projects are a collaboration between Munk One and Audacious Futures, a Toronto-based innovation studio where Davis worked.

“Carey was relentless. She would live in my office! There would be unfinished threads in a seminar discussion and she would come to my office and want to pull at them and continue the conversation. She would not just come to pose questions and get answers, but to disentangle finer points and discover nuances together,” Kramarz remembers.

Don Kingsbury, interim director of the Munk One program and another of Davis’s professors adds that Davis was passionate about many different issues and causes.

“She cared about injustice. She cared about inequality. She cared about climate change and gender issues. She wasn’t a busy body who just wanted to learn ‘everything’, she was driven without being overbearing. She had a clear ethical orientation; she was an organizer.”

The Carey Projects is a way for students like Davis to continue the many conversations she started. The initiative allows students to pick a global issue they’re keen to tackle and gives them the resources to turn their ideas into tangible, actionable solutions. This isn’t done for credit, nor is it a competition. The Carey Projects provides a low-pressure environment for students who are passionate about their world to incubate and nurture their big ideas.

“The time after someone dies is very confusing for everyone. I met Carey’s parents during that time and we started talking about a way to honour her,” says Kramarz. “At the memorial, we noticed common threads – people would talk about Carey’s curiosity, and her desire to connect people. We started to wonder how we could bring people together and continue that conversation?”

Through consultation with Davis’s closest friends, family and professors, the Carey Projects were born. The Munk One program already provides students an opportunity to convene, research global challenges and pitch viable solutions. Initially, the Carey Projects will extend that work, giving select students an opportunity to further implement the ideas they come up with during their time in Munk One. These students will develop their interventions with staff support, resources and guidance from Audacious Futures.

“Carey really embodied the spirit of Audacious Futures. She had an audacity about her and a genuine curiosity,” says Terralynn Forsyth, Davis’s colleague and product lead at Audacious Futures. “We wanted to celebrate and continue her memory in that way – as someone who was not just curious about the world, but who also wanted to make it a better place.”

The Carey Projects initiative is slated to launch in September 2020.

January 9, 2020