EMERGENCE takes place in the York Quay Centre at Harbourfront, 235 Queens Quay West (map: http://g.co/maps/ngnrt).

Please note: Check-in and coffee will be available from 8:00am; the event will begin at 9:00am sharp!

This event is SOLD OUT!


Evolution, Aesthetics & Ethics in Community Arts: A discussion of how aesthetics are articulated and negotiated, and how these choices are shaping community-engaged arts practices.

This panel examines how community-engaged arts is evolving. Questions explored include:  What are the cultural roots of community-engaged arts? Are there dominant aesthetics in the field that establish the meaning and validity of critical judgments concerning works of community art?  How have these changed over time? How do artists and participants negotiate aesthetics? How do cultural representation and terms of engagement figure into the ethical landscape of community arts?

Panelists: Gein Wong, Kim Crosby, Sylvat Aziz, Gilda Monreal, Gabriella Caruso

Facilitator: Andrew Suri

Memory, History and Cultural Identity: Defining the processes and outcomes of community arts practice.
The panel explores how cultural identity, memory and history influence community-engaged arts practices.  How do people integrate these elements into contemporary cultural practice and community arts projects?  What are the implications for community-engaged arts practices and for the definition of community arts itself?

Panelists: Caroline Mangosing, Sara Sniderhan, Moira Wong,  Alejandra Higuera, Enrique Castro

Facilitator: Bushra Junaid

Creating effective partnerships: Negotiating collaborations, and working within progressive funding models.
For artists working in community-engaged contexts, the importance of partnerships can’t be overstated. This panel explores the reasons for, benefits, responsibilities and changing approaches of partnership development, and how to build meaningful relationships. Partnership and process-collaboration are about relationship building, being clear about what is needed from an artistic and community perspective, recognizing strengths, inviting excellence, and addressing difference.  The panel aims to move beyond theoretical frameworks, and into examples of actual partnership implementation, role allocation, communication systems, and organizational cultures and structures – including corporate culture and  social and micro enterprise – with the aim to build trust and credibility. How can we secure more public funding and private donations? How will new funding sources change the field?

Panelists: Seema Jethalal, Neil Donaldson, Kehinde Bah, Yasser Pervaiz, Donovan Dill

Facilitator: Anna Camilleri

Art-making in the inner suburbs: A discussion about the links between community arts and community development initiatives.
This panel explores how to move beyond the stereotypes of the suburbs as bland spaces that lack creativity or are impaired by urban planning.  How can creative projects contribute to the development of more connected and vibrant communities?  Why do some artists and arts groups choose to live and work in the suburbs?

Natasha Daniel, Ruth Howard, Tamika Johnson, Pablo Vivanco

Facilitator: Margo Charlton

Digital Communities:  A discussion of how new technologies are shaping the field.

The panel will examine how new technologies are making an impact on community arts practices and changing the way we think and relate to the idea of community. How are on-line projects different and in what way do they share the same values with traditional community arts projects? How can digital technologies help us share our stories with wider communities?

Panelists: Robin Sokoloski, Dwayne Holness, Marlene McKintosh, Ryan Paterson
Facilitator:  Loree Lawrence

Networking Session 1 – Working conditions for community engaged artists
Facilitators:  Anna Camilleri, multi-disciplinary artist and Artistic Co-Director of Red Dress Productions, and Florencia Berinstein, Festival Director of Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts.

This networking session focuses on community arts and labour issues, and is in response to the reality that community engaged artists do not currently have a formalized labour-framework. The session will involve an interactive installation designed by the co-facilitators, with discussion on disciplinary fee scales, salaries, cultural worker protections, disparity between sectors, education, copyright and intellectual property.  This session is an opportunity to share your thoughts and experiences, and discuss ways for artists and organizations to negotiate working conditions.

Networking Session 2 – Building arts centres & community arts hubs
Facilitators: Lila Karim, Managing Director of Arts North York, and Michael Murray, Popular and World Music Officer at the Ontario Arts Council

Are you involved in creating, running, or interacting with arts centres or hubs for the arts? This session provides opportunities to share ideas about how to build and interact with arts centres, and to discuss difficulties, challenges, and opportunities of centralized practice and platforms.

Networking Session 3 – Youth arts engagement    
Facilitators: Golshan Abdmoulaie (Neighbourhood Youth Alliance) and Skye Louis (Neighbourhood Arts Network)

What connects us? Session Three is a creative, collective exploration of how we relate to one another. Focused on youth artists and the cultural and community workers who support them, this is a chance to meet new people and be inspired by the work that is happening across Toronto.

Networking Session 4 – Community arts training opportunities
Facilitator: Deborah Barndt, Professor and Community Arts Practice Certificate Coordinator at York University

What kind of training is needed to be a community arts practitioner? This session will explore the growing number of courses, classes and certificates available to practitioners, and provide an opportunity to share your learning experiences.  What do you consider to be the essential skills of community arts practice and community-based cultural production?

Networking Session 5 – Working in neighbourhoods
Facilitator: Margo Charlton, Theatre Officer at the Toronto Arts Council and Research Manager at the Toronto Arts Foundation.

Connect with artists and community workers dedicated to working in specific neighbourhoods. How does place-based community arts practice reflect the needs, aspirations and history of each area? How are partnerships and resources negotiated and found? Session five provides opportunities to share your ideas about connecting arts to community development and making arts accessible at a neighbourhood level.

All Networking Sessions will open with an incredible networking engagement called Negotiation, facilitated and performed by the Anandam Dancetheatre.

Negotiation is an improvised site activation performance facilitated and performed by the Anandam Dancetheatre and audience-participants.  It asks a number of questions around the topic of audience/performer relationship, performance interface and public space as performance space and explores these lines of inquiry in an active experiment of continual and collaborative performance research from the point of view of a participatory arts practice.

Choreographic Initiator: Brandy Leary
Performed by:  Brandy Leary, Amy Hampton, Ryan Lee, Jennifer Robichaud, Lucy Rupert, Natasha Danchenko and youth performers Holly D’Cuna, Tessa Stephens


A globally connected wrap-up discussion on the role, value and direction of community arts practice in Toronto and in other parts of the world, highlighting themes of the day and connecting them to practice happening globally.  The conversation involves a fusion of stories, methodologies, and projects of a collective of artists and organizers who have been working together across borders to bring about dialogue, connect people, spur change and spread love through the arts.

In Conversation:

donisha prendergast | in person

chetan ‘che’ kothari | live streaming

mriga kapadiya | live streaming

doctor saab  | live streaming

Facilitator: Andrew Suri

Event day program is subject to change. Visit our website regularly for more exciting details!

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