Unveiled: A brand new mural in Mount Royal University’s Slate Innovation Lab.


By Emily Knight

Photos by Aaron Reimer @aaronreimertv

Named for the blank slate that all entrepreneurs face before creativity fills it with good ideas, the Slate Innovation Lab is the heart of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Mount Royal University. This February, a brand new mural was unveiled in the space.

Commissioned from local Calgary artist, Nicole Wolf, the mural is a testament to the diverse and inspirational Mount Royal students and alumni who have called the Slate Innovation Lab (Slate) home. Slate is home to the minds, projects, and startups of Mount Royal University's brightest entrepreneurial students. Through thoughtful design and an engaged student community, Slate has become the best spot on campus for brainstorming, innovation, and collaboration. By offering whiteboards, shared office space, reconfigurable furniture, and a comfortable atmosphere to students, faculty, and entrepreneurs, Slate is seen as both a catalyst and incubator for innovation and entrepreneurship in Calgary. The new mural builds on this design to showcase the diversity of students and ideas that make use of the space and will act as creative inspiration for new ideas and projects.

Wolf’s creative process was inspired by students and alumni who attended a LaunchPad Circle Meetup in the space in September 2019. These monthly Meetups, which have since been transitioned to digital gatherings, bring together Mount Royal student and alumni innovators and entrepreneurs for casual connection and conversation.


Wolf says, “ the images in this mural were inspired by a series of interviews with Mount Royal University students. Poised to be Canada's up-and-coming entrepreneurs, they shared their anticipations and dreams about post-graduation and some of the things they've learned in the process of launching their ventures.”


Elements of the mural include American Sign Language spelling the word "innovate"; the Rockies, the City of Calgary and the Bow River - the place where this innovation happens; the faces of diverse innovators and the "starting point" where all this innovation begins. The mural also includes aspects of the Mount Royal University and Trico Changemakers Studio logos, symbolizing the innovation network at Mount Royal that Slate is a part of. Wolf says. “I designed this mural to act like a brainstorming tool. As students look at it, they can let their minds wander and dream up their next big ideas.".


Nicole has created public art in collaboration with The City of Calgary, the Calgary Zoo, Parks Canada and the Recycling Council of Alberta.

Slate was created in 2012 on the third floor of the Bissett School of Business as recognition of the RBC Foundation’s generous gift of $1.1 million to the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


Director of the Institute, Ray DePaul says, "Whenever you create anything new - a space, a company, a project - success isn't always certain. We are thrilled that over the last eight years, the student and alumni community have embraced and influenced Slate to become a place for creativity and innovation.". Since 2012, the Institute has supported thousands of student innovators and entrepreneurs through transformational learning experiences. Slate has acted as a home base, a safe space and a place of collisions that have supported these transformational learning experiences.

For now, the space is empty, but it patiently awaits students to return to campus and fill it with their energetic spirit of innovation once again. The Slate Innovation Lab is on the third floor of the Bissett School of Business (EB3121) and is open to ALL students from across campus - however, it is currently closed.