A few years ago Asad received a postcard which, among other things, said: The best way to get a chair at the table is to build one yourself.
At the same time, The Chairs Are Where the People Go by Sheila Heti was one of his favourite reads and Tables and Chairs by Andrew Bird was one of his favourite listens. Chairs and Tables became a metaphor upon which we layered our understanding of how the world already operated and how, in some ways if we helped, it might. We’ve been building mostly metaphorical furniture ever since. (There have been a few stints building, assembling, and rearranging furniture, too.)
Asad Chishti is the table+bricoleur and Jonathon Reed is the chair+inventor. Born a few years and several thousand kilometers apart, following their twin sisters, they ended up at the same post-secondary institution. They’ve been collaborating ever since, but finally in the same place, on the same project, at the same time.
Asad has extensive experience interviewing people, analyzing behaviour and building bridges between different communities. He’s worked extensively in collecting stories and interviewing people through his six-year photo-a-day project; and his involvement in shaping projects and organizations such as TEDxQueensU, Awesome Kingston, Humans of Kingston, Serendipity Hall and Open Journalism. His background is in chemical engineering. He is a first-generation immigrant who speaks a handful of languages. He has years of experience operating out of student newsrooms, campus and community radio stations, and freelancing with organizations such as MaRS Discovery District where he was a Provincial Fellow, Samara Canada, Jack.org, and more. He currently writes a poem a day.
Jonathon has extensive adventure-based experience, having organized and documented dozens of backcountry trips in three continents in the last several years, both individually and in collaboration with others. His award-winning work has been featured in adventure- and photojournalism-focused media such as Maptia, Exposure, The Outbound, Ello and Visual Supply Co. His academic background is in history and education. He’s bilingual. He’s involved in climate activism in western Canada and the United States, as well as in his local community. He has years of experience working with youth in various contexts.