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CPAMO's News

Welcome to the 25th Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario  (CPAMO) newsletter. This is a regular digest that will introduce you to, and keep you updated on CPAMO’s initiatives, and act as a portal to relevant research in the field of pluralism in the arts, innovative artists, and links to interesting talks about pluralism in the arts. The newsletter is intended to be your go-to resource for information on cultural pluralism in the arts.
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What is CPAMO?

Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) is a movement of Indigenous and ethno-racial artists working with presenters to empower the arts communities of Ontario. CPAMO seeks to open opportunities for Indigenous and ethno-racial artists to engage with presenters - in theatre, music, dance, visual arts - across Ontario and to enable presenters to develop constructive relationships with Indigenous and ethno-racial artists.
CPAMO is supported by Indigenous and ethno-racial artists who are involved in theatre, music, dance and literary arts. They are members of CPAMO’s Roundtable and include representatives of Sampradaya Dance, Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Little Pear Garden Theatre Collective, Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Kaha:wi Dance, Sparrow in the Room, b-current, why not theatre, urban arts and backforward collective, TeyyaPeya Productions, Culture Days, Sheyanne Productions, Obsidian Theatre, the Collective of Black Artists, CanAsian Dance and others.
With the involvement of artists from these organizations, CPAMO is working with Community Cultural Impresarios (CCI), Canadian Dance Assembly and their members to build their capacities, cultural competencies and understanding of pluralism in the arts so that these members engage artists from these communities and, thereby, enable audiences across Ontario to access artistic expressions from diverse communities on a regular basis.
CPAMO gratefully acknowledges the funding support it has received for its activities from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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Grant Success!!!

Well, we’ve been busy and our efforts have resulted in success!  CPAMO has now received its first operating grant.  We are now the recipient of an Ontario Arts Council Art Services Organization Operating Grant.  While this is a one-year opportunity, it will give us a chance to stabilize our work as we move forward into our ongoing work. 
Further, to enhance our work on collaborative project development, CPAMO has also received an Arts Services Project Grant to further develop collaborative practices.  With the funding CPAMO has received from the Canada Council for the Arts Cultivate Grants Program, these funds will enable CPAMO to convene a series of 7 workshops over the next year to support artists who wish to develop collaborative practices.  As for what such practices are or might be, read on!!

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Collaborative Project Development – A Series Of Workshops

Over the few years, several performing arts companies in the Greater Toronto Area have developed collaborative projects to promote and stage their works.  For example:
  • Aluna Theatre has partnered with Native Earth Performing Arts in February 2014 on the “PanAmerican Routes” which staged work by Indigenous and Latino artists and in workshops explored the intersections and connections between the work of the two companies.  Aluna is now pursuing a similar program with Modern Times Theatre;     
  • KasheDance and the Collective of Black Artists (COBA) have been engaged in dialogue regarding how best to share the limited resources each has and is in the process of identifying how best to share resources; and
  • Oakville Centre for the Arts and Flato Markham Theatre have engaged with several CPAMO Roundtable members and other artists on collaborative work in community engagement, public education and audience development.
These projects are important new developments arising out of the work of Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations.  They present evidence-based models that can be replicated andthere are many benefits to such an approach.  These include:
i.    sharing project and administrative resources to support common outcomes;
ii.    sharing the stage and, by doing so, expanding performance opportunities and engaging in cross-cultural audience development; 
iii.    sharing fundraising activities as well as use of volunteers; and
iv.    achieving economies of scale in sharing administrative functions.

This CPAMO project will provide opportunities to both explore these models and, based on them, assist Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations in developing collaborative projects in the performing arts applicable to small- and medium-sized performing arts organizations and independent artists and will:
  • promote the development, recognition and understanding of the artistic practices of the designated communities;
  • enhance public access to diverse art forms and cultivate audiences from the designated communities;
  • advance professional development, networking, dialogue and knowledge-sharingamongst arts professionals from the designated communities;
  • strengthen connections between the designated and broader arts communities;
  • nurture potential for partnerships, collaborations and resource-sharing;
  • deepen intercultural understanding between members of the designated arts communities and beyond; and 
  • incorporate innovative strategies and toolstoachieve these objectives.
To achieve these objectives, CPAMO will provide eight (8) full day workshops that will engage in peer-to-peer sharing, connections with performing arts venues (presenters) and collaborative learning circles.  The resources CPAMO will engage are:

i)      Beatriz Pisano, Artistic Director, Aluna Theatre
ii)     Ronnie Brown, Program Director, Oakville Centre for the Arts
iii)    Eric Lariviere, General Manager, Flato Markham Theatre
iv)    Kevin A. Ormsby, Artistic Director, KasheDance and Charmaine Headley, Co-Artistic Director, Collective of Black Artists (COBA)

This CPAMO project will provide opportunities to explore collaborative practice models and, based on them, assist Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations in developing collaborative projects in the performing arts applicable to small- and medium-sized performing arts organizations and independent artists. These activities will take place in the Greater Toronto Area and in Ottawa.
These sessions will focus on the strategies needed to develop collaborative partnerships in the arts and will address such issues as:
  • how to start the dialogue and set parameters
  • when to listen and when to speak
  • key terms to develop a shared language and understanding, particularly as it comes to resources
  • considering what can be shared, its pros and cons
  • acknowldeging and addressing concerns about identity and fear of loss
  • exploring potentialities and what they might be
  • setting up networks for practice and planning a project
These sessions will be developed in a 'safe space' where sharing of knowledge is done in trust and where participants have clearly accepted this.

CPAMO will also coordinate three full-day sessions in the Ottawa community to further discussion on collaborative projects and develop agreed upon actions for implementation in 2016-17, including strategies for securing support for such implementation.

The partners CPAMO will be working with in Ottawa are:  

i)     Victoria Steele, Arts Ottawa East
ii)    Alicia Borisonik, World Folk Music Ottawa
iii)   Melissa Gruber, CARFAC National
iv)   Eric Coates, Great Canadian Theatre Company
v)    Lyn McGuigan, Ottawa Little Theatre
vi)   Audrey Churgin, MASC (Multicultural Arts in Schools and Communities)

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Why This Project Is Needed Now

There are several factors impacting on Indigenous, ethno-racial and other marginalized arts organizations in the arts ecology today that pose significant challenges, including:

1)  demographic changes in Canadian society and the arts, particularly the growth of Indigenous, ethno-racial, deaf and disability, youth and others artists in the Greater Toronto Area;
2)  the challenges of funding to support this growth in the arts;
3)  the limited capacities of small- and medium-sized Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations to develop their administration, communications (promotion and marketing), audience engagement activities, and creation and staging of work; 
4)  the interest of, and challenges faced by, presenters in working with artists from diverse communities and engaging diverse communities; and
5)  closures of small arts organizations or reduction in their creative activities.

Given the challenges faced by arts funding bodies and those posed by other methods of raising funds (e.g., crowd-sourcing, corporate sponsorships, etc.), it is likely that these challenges will not only continue but may well be exacerbated in the immediate future and, thereby, have a spiraling impact detrimental to creative activities in the arts.  There is evidence already about this as some arts organizations have closed their doors or cut back on their programming, e.g., FUSE Magazine, Toronto Free Gallery, Coalition of New Canadians for Arts and Culture.

These challenges limit the creative potential of small- and medium-sized Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations as well as that of independent artists.  However, CPAMO has both discovered and supported collaborations between artists that provide meaningful support to these artists and arts organizations.  

Since 2009, CPAMO has developed partnerships with a number of organizations to promote pluralism in the arts. CPAMO has convened forums, curated showcases, and supported collaborations between diverse artists and presenters in its work with Ontario Presents/Community Cultural Impresarios, CAPACOA and the Canadian Dance Assembly.  As well, in partnership with such organizations as the former Creative Trust, Neighbourhood Arts Network, Theatre Ontario and the Maytree Foundation, CPAMO has provided professional development forums focusing on building organizational capacities, volunteer engagement, promotion, marketing and fundraising.  

Further,CPAMO surveyed Indigenous and ethno-racial/culturally diverse artists in December 2012 and conducted interviews with these artists in the spring 2013 and over the summer of 2014.  These artists expressed that their most urgent needs included: 
  • Devising promotional/marketing, community engagement and audience development strategies aimed at connecting with diverse communities, particularly Indigenous and ethno-racial communities interested in the arts;
  • Enhancing understanding of how to attract private sector foundations and corporate sponsors interested in the arts; and
  • Accessing organiztional support to enhance the effectiveness of financial and administrative systems, including data base management.
As well, CPAMO’s consultations with arts presenters and arts services organizations strongly suggests that there is a significant opportunity to create reciprocal approaches to create a more sustainable environment for creative development, promotion and the staging of performances. To provide a mutually beneficial exchange, the survey and interviews indicated that these arts organizations from Indigenous and ethno-racial communities can offer the following to large arts organizations:
  • Information on how to connect with diverse communities through community engagement, programming and media; 
  • Standards of excellence and artistic practices stemming from diverse communities; and
  • Access to volunteers from diverse communities.
Through its research, CPAMO has also become aware of several innovative approaches to addressing these issues. This project will take lessons from initiatives currently in the field and provide forums to share the knowledge, skills, methods and benefits to developing collaborative programs between Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations, and, between such arts organizations and presenters.  These forums will be full-day sessions led by individuals who have developed and implemented successful collaborative projects. Each will describe and summarize the challenges and benefits of collaboration, and how they contribute to the creativity of small- and medium-sized Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations and support sustainable change in the arts.

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The CPAMO Approach

CPAMO has worked with many Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations across Ontario to provide: (a) peer-to-peer networking as well as organizational and professional development activities; and (b) forums and showcases to build relationships between these arts organizations and presenters.  This project will build on these approaches, providing opportunities to continue peer-to-peer development and forums that engage presenters and artists in building collaborative projects between them.  

In this context, the forums will address strategies and approaches to build reciprocal, mutually beneficial projects related to: (i) community engagement/audience development; (ii) program development, promotion, staging; (iii) enhancing public awareness and developing educational programs; (iv) project management; and (v) funding required for success.  

The agenda for each of these sessions will be based on the past success of each of the presenters - the morning will focus on evidence-based practices and the afternoon will be in small groups to work on knowledge and skills-exchange in terms of collaborative project development.

At the end of the year, there will be a two (2) full-day learning circles so all participants can share their knowledge and experience and the steps they will take to implement a collaborative project.  The learning circles will be facilitated by CPAMO’s Project Lead and will involve all resources engaged in this project.

The project will be promoted in August and September. Enrolment will be limited to 16 per session and some may enroll in either one, several or all sessions.  CPAMO will undertake to conduct outreach to promote the program and to recruit registrants.  An application form will be developed to assist those interested in determining their needs and interest in the session(s) they wish to attend.

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The Workshops

This project will provide a series of workshops beginning in the spring and ending in the fall of 2015.  The focus of the workshops will be to engage Indigenous, ethno-racial/culturally diverse, and other marginalized arts organizations and artists in learning how to develop collaborative practices to support their artistic growth and development.  To do this, the workshops will focus on collaborative work involving:
  • Artist-to-Artist: Aluna Theatre PanAmerican Routes; and COBA/KasheDance;
  • Working with Presenters:  Flato Markham Theatre; Oakville Centre for the Arts; 
  • Learning Circle: CPAMO Project Lead.
CPAMO will begin this project with peer-to-peer learning to demonstrate work already underway by Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations.  It is essential to start with these to illustrate what is already underway within these communities as models of evidence-based success stories with resource expertise that have much to share.

CPAMO has invited two presenters to participate to illustrate the differences presenters take in approaching their projects and in connecting with their very different communities.

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KasheDance and COBA – September 2015

KasheDance and COBA have been in dialogue about collaborative initiatives since COBA acquired its space at the Daniel’s Spectrum and KasheDance has been using the space for its rehearsals.  To participate in and provide information on these explorations in strategic partnerships, both companies have much to offer to Indigenous and ethno-racial arts organizations.  COBA is an older organization, KasheDance an emerging one, and the potential of their exploration of mutual collaborative support goes beyond the urgency of the need and originates in the continuity and sustainability of ethno-racial arts organizations in Canada by documenting sectoral developments already working and having conversations on possible collaborative models.

For COBA this means further solidifying the organization’s sustainability; for KasheDance,it means providing aide in its growth. Further, KasheDance’s Artistic Director is passionate about creating toolkits for use by others and this process offers the potential for collaborative exploration that would be beneficial to all CPAMO’s members and other Indigenous, ethno-racial and marginalized arts organizations.

There will be one full day workshop offered by the Artistic Director of KasheDance and the co-Artistic Director of COBA.  These will focus on:
a)  the explorations both organizations are navigating regarding shared use of spacewhere COBA would provide space to KasheDance which in exchange would help by volunteering at COBA events or sharing the artistic expertise of the dancers over the year;
b)  KasheDance’s offer of an Artistic Associate as a teacher in COBA’s dance training program in exchange for office space/studio space. Hours worked would/could be used in COBA’s facility in the form of Studio space or Office Hot desk since KasheDance has no physical space for its small operations and this would be a resource that could benefit it’s organizational development.  

The dialogue between KasheDance and COBA will illustrate the importance of negotiating between peers and the time needed to arrive at mutually beneficial results.

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Aluna Theatre/PanAmerican Routes – October 2015

Each year since 2012, Aluna Theatre has developed a collaborative theatre program involving performances, exhibits and workshops.  In 2013, Aluna Theatre worked in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts for the second edition of panamerican ROUTES | RUTAS panamericanas: an International Festival of Performing Arts that was held from February 27 to March 9, 2014. This theatre event brought together Canadian, Indigenous and Latin American artists from across the Americas including Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, the United States and Canada. For the winter of 2015, Aluna Theatre will be working in partnership with Modern Times Theatre.

The series of activities during this festival included main stage performances, gallery exhibits, installations, concerts, and master classes with international artists and an engaging four-day conference on performance and human rights where artists, academics and activists met with the public to discuss how art can mobilize social change.

This project is highly successful in its engagement with artists from Indigenous and diverse backgrounds, bringing in diverse audiences and providing opportunities for critical dialogue on contemporary issues in the arts and society that promote pluralism and social justice.

CPAMO supported the 2014 program and has now invited Aluna Theatre’s Artistic Director, Beatriz Pisano, to conduct two full day workshops that will unpack how Aluna Theatre developed, promoted, staged and received the funding for panamerican ROUTES | RUTAS panamericanas.This one day session will focus on:   (i) negotiating the space and developing common themes;  (ii) program development and program promotion; (iii) audience development and engagement;  (iv) funding, including fundraising; and (v) follow-up and evaluation.

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Oakville Centre for the Arts – November 2015

Oakville Centre for the Arts has engaged several CPAMO Roundtable artists including  Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Sampradaya Dance Creations, KasheDance and the wind in the leaves collective.  Similar to Flato Markham Theatre, the Oakville Centre for the Arts has collaborated with artists and local organizations to develop and implement community engagement activities and artist workshops.  This is the kind of collaboration that this full day session will focus on and it will address themes related to:  (i) negotiating the space and building a reciprocal relationship; (ii) program development, promotion and education on artists’ practice; and (iii) outreach and community engagement.

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Flato Markham Theatre – January 2016

At the conclusion of its 2011-12 season, Flato Markham Theatre partnered with CPAMO and local arts organizations to discuss the various dance programs and initiatives in Markham.  Based on this, it discovered that the Markham region has a growing and rich community of diverse dance ensembles and schools, representing the area’s demographic trends; however much of this work happens silos.  

As such, the General Manager of Flato Markham Theatre, Eric Lariviere, invited CPAMO to work together on a forum aimed at building future success for dance in Markham and address the key question on how to engage with the various dance sectors in the region with the goal of a cohesiveand comprehensive plan in making the discipline more vibrant, increasing participation and growing audiences. 

This gathering received presentations by several active in the field of dance as artists, presenters and educators, includingseveral CPAMO Roundtable artists, e.g., Emily Cheung, Artistic Director of Little Pear Garden Collective; Vivine Scarlett, Artistic Director of Dance Immersion; Menaka Thakkar, Artistic Director of Menaka Thakker Dance.  As well,Soraya Peerbaye, former Dance Officer for the Toronto Arts Council, spoke about herwork on a dance mapping project in Markham.

The panel presentations were then followed by small group discussions.  Following this gathering, Flato Markham Theatre has booked a number of CPAMO Roundtable members such as Little Pear Garden Collective, Sampradaya Dance Creations and Menaka Thakker Dance.  

The increasing diversity of performances in Markham has been supported by the Theatre with various outreach, public education and community engagement activities.  For example, in 2013 before the Sampradaya Dance Creations performance of the Luminato-commissioned work TAJ, Flato Markham Theatre and CPAMO collaborated on an educational forum that attracted over 300 people to learn from the performers – actors, dancers, choreographers and musicians – about the story and how it was created.  

This is the kind of collaboration that this full day session will focus on and it will address themes related to:  (i) negotiating the space and building a reciprocal relationship; (ii) program development, promotion and education on artists’ practice; and (iii) outreach and community engagement.

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The Learning Circles – February, March and April 2016

As a sectoral initiative, it is essential that those participating in the workshops have an opportunity to share with and learn from each other.  This will be done over three  (3) days starting in February 2016.

Each project participant will be invited to present their ideas for developing collaborative projects and these will be reviewed by all and critiqued to assist participants in further development of their initiative(s).  Given the potential range of collaborative projects that may be explored in the previous workshops, the facilitator – CPAMO’s Project Lead – will determine categories/themes for the participant presentations, e.g., those interested in community engagement, programming, promotion, fundraising, public education and audience development.  

The presentations would then take place in these clusters so that there can a direct focus by all participants on these themes and the project plans related to them.  To assist in this, all participants will be invited to submit their plans in advance so the learning circles can be properly prepared and structured.

Anticipated Outcomes:

Based on the activities summarized above, this project aims to develop:
  • A series of collaborative project proposals involving artists and arts organizations from Indigenous and ethno-racial communities;
  • A number of collaborative project proposals involving artists and arts organizations from Indigenous and ethno-racial communities and presenters; and
  • A series of collaborative project proposals involving artists and arts organizations from Indigenous and ethno-racial communities and other diverse communities.
To support our workshops on collaborative practices, we will be conducting research on models of such activities in the arts.  This research will explore, summarize and articulate the range of collaborative practice models in the arts and outline how they have been or are being developed, what the processes are for these, the outcomes, benefits and learning from these exercises.

This material will first be shared with participants in the workshops on collaborative practices. We will then seek to circulate it to others who are interested in these approaches to the arts

As we reported in our last newsletter, Jane Marsland will soon be done her report for CPAMO regarding our interest to develop a shared platform.  While Jane has conducted a rather exhaustive literature review, we have also had a number of focus groups to discuss ideas that artists want to see in a shared platform.  Jane has also met with the CPAMO Board and Advisory Committee on more than one occasion to report and receive feedback.

At this stage, we anticipate that Jane will be done her report by the end of August.  We will then hold a public meeting to release the report, discuss its findings and recommendation and how CPAMO will address them.  We would also like to hear from you when the report is done.

So,  stay tuned on this one!!!

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Some Words From CPAMO Board And Staff

" I have worked in culture most of my life and am committed to breaking barriers and excited by the evolving nature of Canadian culture. CPAMO gives me the opportunity to do what I believe in  - to break down barriers for equality and be part of a new paradigm for cultural creativity." 
- John Ryerson
  Board Chair
"As an artist who has witnessed and experienced cultural pluralism in action, I believe it is essential to practice pluralism in our communities, conversations and collaborations. Having experienced discrimination and barriers to participation firsthand, I know we need to have a more honest dialogue about the challenges that ethno-racial artists and presenters face.  CPAMO seeks to encourage this dialogue by creating safe space to address questions of inclusion, accessibility and equity as well as provide opportunities for resource sharing, skill exchange and artistic partnership.  This is why I passionate about and committed to CPAMO's vision for a more equitable, pluralistic approach to the arts in Canada." 
- Sheniz Janmohamed, MFA
  Author, Artist Educator and Spoken Word Artist
  Board Treasurer
"Arts and culture are creative expressions that represent and communicate our values and our worldviews. As Lucinda Furlong suggests, "how we experience the landscape is shaped not only by factors such as class, gender, race, age, and politics, but by the cultural forms employed to represent it." For me then, the significance of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) as it works to enable a broader spectrum of ethno-racial and Aboriginal artistic voices, is the impact this increased visibility has on how we as both the public and as cultural producers, come to understand our identities, our geographical context and how we might become enabled to envision a collective future."
- Tina Chu
  Board Secretary
"I situate relevance in a society like Canada by grounding significance in the historical and it’s present socio-political landscape. The fact that Canada will be a minority - majority country in the next 3-5 years, places CPAMO as an important connector, incubator and instigator of this potential in the creative imagination for many. Pluralism affords the organization a based in which everyone can understand historical inequity to ethno-racial persons in the Arts yet change the future realities based on common potential of everyone. I have experienced, facilitated and benefited from CPMAO’s processes of organizational and artistic development; insurmountable to harnessing and honing potential creative / collaborative and administrative approaches. The fact that CPAMO grounds artists and arts organizations in strategic development, conversation and practice will afford for a more true representation, presentation and acknowledgement of ethno-racial realities in the Arts in Ontario and eventually across Canada." 
- Kevin Ormsby
  Program Manager

"CPAMO has a unique role in connecting people and creating new collaborations. As an artist and arts administrator I believe in inclusiveness, cultural diversity, resource sharing and community-focused practice. CPAMO encompasses all these beliefs and much more, it’s been a great experience being involved with CPAMO."
- Victoria Glizer
  Program Assistant

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Equity In Theatre

Over the past year, CPAMO's Executive Director has been part of the steering committee for the Playwrights Guild of Canada's 'Equity in Theatre' Project.  This initiative convened a conference in the spring to look at and make recommendations for the inclusion of women in all aspects of Canadian theatre.  Here are some of the  outcomes of this work.        

For more information, check out their website:

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Cultural Leaders Lab Update 

After an intensive learning and development process at The Banff Centre in May, the TAC Cultural Leaders Lab has now embarked on the Toronto component of the program.  One of the more profound impacts of the program to date has been the valuable connections made between participants, who have been sharing advice, support and opportunities since the retreat.  A number of participants are collaborating on larger projects that emerged in Banff, in addition to the group’s monthly learning workshops.  

Menon Dwarka, Managing Director of 918 Bathurst Cultural Space, shares his thoughts on the impact the program has had on his career and life.  Menon had recently moved back to Toronto to care for his widowed father after working in the arts in New York City for 18 years, when he was accepted into the inaugural program. 

He says, “Not only has the Cultural Leaders Lab prompted several collaborations as a curator and a composer, the program has vaulted 918 Bathurst in the mainstream of Toronto's arts and culture sector, a feat which proved impossible prior to our involvement with the TAC and Banff Centre Leadership program. And while we only officially meet once a month or so, my peers have become dear friends, whose artistry and support have been instrumental in making Toronto feel like home, again. 

The deadline for applications for the second year of the TAC Cultural Leaders Lab is October 15, 2015. 

For more information visit:
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Toronto Arts Council Strategic Plan: Have Your Say

Building on the work done in recent years with TAC's Visioning Document and Priorities for New Funding, Peter and Jane are conducting comparative research, interviewing arts community members and hosting workshops to arrive at a strategy to guide the organization into the next decade:

Solidarity, Access, Diversity, Economic development, excellence, innovation, vibrancy and heritage

We want your input. 

Please give us your ideas for what should come next.  If you have any questions about TAC's strategic plan, don't hesitate to contact

Online form on TAC website. 

CPAMO's Program Manager, Kevin A. Ormsby, was one of the proud and active participants at this first gathering.

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Mentoring Program Open Call For Submissions by Diaspora Dialogues

Diaspora Dialogues is excited to announce an open call for our mentoring program, focusing on the creation of long-form manuscripts and offering emerging writers an in-depth opportunity to hone their craft and prepare a book-length project for publication.

Diaspora Dialogues invites submissions from emerging writers who currently have a full or near-full draft of an original full-length novel, or collection of short stories, or collection of poems. Please note that we do not accept works intended for children or young adults. Full or near-full draft means that the writer has up to 85,000 words or 300 double-spaced pages of prose; or up to 25 poems (50 pages maximum).

Note: for the application, you do not need to submit the full draft of your novel, short story collection or poetry collection. We only require a sample (see Guidelines).

Through an adjudicated process, the most promising emerging writers will be chosen for the opportunity to work over a six-month period with a mentor via correspondence (either email or post).

Diaspora Dialogues is committed to supporting a literature of Toronto that is as diverse as the city itself. Writers are encouraged to keep this mandate in mind, but addressing this theme directly is not essential in the submission.

For further information and to read about the experiences of writers who have participated in the program, please visit

Deadline: Wednesday September 30, 2015 (postmark). Notifications will be made in November.

Submission Guidelines
  • The Greater Toronto Region must exist in the novel or collection, either in a literal sense, or otherwise. How you interpret this is up to you!
  • Work from which the excerpt is submitted must be in a full draft or near-full draft stage.
  • We do not accept works intended for children or young adults.
  • Samples submitted can be one chapter from the novel or one short story from the collection (up to but not exceeding 5,000 words); poetry can include up to 10 poems but not exceed 15 pages.
  • Submissions must include a one-page description of the novel, short story or poetry collection.
  • Submissions must include a short biography in paragraph form (no more than 250 words.)
  • The work must be original and not previously published.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Each writer may submit only one manuscript.
  • A completed submission form must be included.
  • Submissions will not be accepted electronically or by fax.
  • Commentary/feedback is not available on submissions.
Formatting Your Submission
  • All submissions should be on standard, white, 8.5x11’’ pages.
  • All submissions should be double-spaced, Times New Roman font size 12.
  • Please do not double-side print your submission—print on one side of each page.
  • Please do not staple or bind your submission (paper and binder clips are acceptable.)
  • Writers must not have a previously published full-length manuscript in the category in which they wish to apply, although appearances in magazines and/or anthologies are acceptable.
  • Any writer of any age can apply—alumni of Diaspora Dialogues’ short-form mentoring program, as well as past unsuccessful applicants, are eligible.
  • Writers must be living in the greater Toronto region, which includes York, Halton, Peel and Durham.
The application form and mailing information are on our website:

Please read carefully all above Guidelines and the FAQs which are available on our website.

If you have further questions, email

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Pan American Photo Exhibition
July 23 – August 14, 2015
Presented by: The Hispanic Canadian Arts & Cultural Association
Assembly Hall 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Toronto ON M8V 4B6

This international juried photo exhibition, organized by the Hispanic Canadian Arts and Cultural Association, presents a celebration of the diversity and vibrancy of the cultures in the Pan Am countries through the lens of photography.

Jury: Stuart Keeler, Former Director | Curator, Art Gallery of Mississauga and Kendra Ainsworth, Assistant Curator, Art Gallery of Mississauga. 

Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 12pm – 5pm and Saturdays 10am – 1pm.
For more information:

York-Eglinton International Street Festival
August 15, 2015, 11:00am 10:30pm and August 16, 2015, 11:00am  7:00pm 
Eglinton Avenue West from Marlee to Dufferin
1660 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto ON 

The 8th Annual York-Eglinton International Street Festival is one of Toronto’s must-see events. Created to showcase Toronto’s diverse community, the International Street Festival features live musical performances from local talent, salsa dance demonstrations and instruction, a street-level carnival, countless food vendors, an exotic animal petting zoo, and amazing sales offered by community businesses. This is a free festival and is open to everyone, including families with small children and pets. As an added bonus, Elmo, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby characters will walk-around and available for photo opportunities during the festival. The event features one-kilometer full-street-closure along Eglinton Ave. W. from Marlee Ave. to Dufferin St. with an expected attendance of over 25,000 and is now the largest summer event in the North York Community. The festival will take place August 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and August 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 416-789-1835. 

Admission:  Free

JCCC Kiri-e Workshop FULL
Sunday, August 16, 2015 | 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre 
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, ON M3C 1Z5

The workshop will be taught by Mark Yungblut, an award-winning artist who has been doing paper cutting for over ten years. His artwork has been displayed in Japan, China and several locations throughout Southern Ontario.

Participants will learn the basics of paper cutting in this hands on workshop by creating their own works of art. Knives, cutting mats, stencils and paper will be provided, along with step by step instruction, no experience necessary. Different styles and techniques will also be discussed to provide students with ideas to use for future projects.

Fee: $20 (+HST) and $5 materials fee payable to instructor
To register please call the JCCC Reception at 416-441-2345.
For more information please e-mail

Moko Jumbie Dancing Spirits of Africa
Saturday, August 15, 2015 | 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday, August 16, 2015 | 1:00pm – 4:00pm
North Orchard
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto ON

The Moko Jumbie is a "diviner" figure, rooted in African heritage and adapted in Trinidad, who wears colourful garb and a carnival mask, watching over his village and able to foresee danger and evil. 
This hands-on workshop is an elementary introduction to the traditions of Moko Jumbie, a stilt-dancing spirit of the forest. Originating as a secret society of village guardians, Moko Jumbies are now featured in carnival and cultural presentations around the world, still inspiring awe and wonder. Using specially designed short training stilts sized for children, two senior instructors will lead a stilt-dancing workshop. 

Robert Faulkner has been involved in a variety of theatre projects since 1990 and first appeared on stilts in the Shadowl and Mas band Star Tribes at Caribana 1996. He has been a featured performer in all of SwizzleStick Theatre's major productions, including Ancestral Spirits, Harvest and DALI GALA, as well as many collaborations with other organizations.  As SwizzleStick Theatre's managing director, he organized and administered the Ontario Arts Council supported project at Dundas Public School, which brought 45 students in Grades 4 and 5 into performance on stilts. He has taught stilts to children and adults at public and private schools (Shaugnessy, Queen Alexandra, Island Public, Toronto Waldorf, Upper Canada College, York University) and in collaboration with other arts organizations (Shadowland Theatre, ArtStarts, Participate Community Arts Program, and many others) and for the City of Toronto (Parks and Recreation). For more information:

Admission: Free

“Celebrate Diversity” at the 4th Annual Scarborough Afro-Carib Fest
Presented by Heritage Skills Development Center 
August 22 August 23, 2015 | 12:00pm – 9:00pm
Inside the Albert Campbell Square at the Scarborough Civic Centre
150 Borough Drive, Scarborough ON 

The 2015 Scarborough Afro-Carib Fest is a free two-day fun filled event for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the richness of the cultural fabric that makes up our wonderful city. Organized by the non-profit organization, Heritage Skills Development Centre (HSDC) and with the support of Canadian Heritage and Ontario Arts Council, the festival offers its guests live musical performances and activities that highlight African and Caribbean culture. This year’s event promises more exciting activities and entertainment including a show case of elaborate Afro-Caribbean cultural costumes. Through this dynamic festival HSDC celebrates diversity, fosters civic pride, and pursues its mandate to bridge social, cultural, and economic differences with integrative learning opportunities and creative engagement. Join us to enjoy tasty cultural cuisine, live musical performances, dance competitions, the Mr. and Ms. Afro-Carib Fest Pageant, art exhibitions, drum workshops and dancing, face painting for kids, games and much more! Come out and Experience Africa and the Caribbean all in the same place! 
For more information: 416-345-1613 | |

Admission:  Free

Ancient Echoes, New Beats
Thursday, August 27, 2015 | 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Toronto Music Garden
475 Queens Quay West, Toronto ON

A Music Garden favourite, Nagata Shachu takes listeners on an exhilarating musical journey to Japan, where the taiko drum has been used for 1400 years during times of prayer, celebration and war.

Nagata Shachu  has enthralled audiences with mesmerizing and heart-pounding performances of the Japanese drum (taiko) since its formation in Toronto in 1998. The group has toured widely throughout North America and Italy, performing in theatres, concert halls and at major music festivals. While rooted in the folk drumming traditions of Japan, the ensemble’s principal aim is to rejuvenate this ancient art form by producing innovative and exciting music that seeks to create a new voice for the taiko. Taking its name from founder Kiyoshi Nagata and the Japanese word shachu meaning group, Nagata Shachu has become renowned for its exacting, straightforward yet physically demanding performances as well as for its diverse repertoire. Featuring an array of taiko (including the massive O-Daiko drum), bamboo flutes, the three-stringed shamisen and an array of gongs, cymbals, shakers and wood blocks, Nagata Shachu will take you on a musical journey beyond all borders. For more information:

Admission: Free

A Thirst for Riches: Carpets from the East in Paintings from the West
East Meets West in an Exclusive Canadian Showing at the Aga Khan Museum
June 06  October 18, 2015 
Aga Khan Museum
77 Wynford Drive, Toronto ON

Telling a powerful story of trade between Europe and Muslim civilizations, the exhibition explores how beautiful objects take on new meanings when they are exchanged. The exhibition draws from the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and is supplemented by loans from other institutions and collections. For more information and to purchase tickets online visit 

Admission: 15 for students, seniors and children, and $20 for adults

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Ted Talks

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A visual history of inequality in industrial America
For the last 12 years, LaToya Ruby Frazier has photographed friends, neighbors and family in Braddock, Pennsylvania. But though the steel town has lately been hailed as a posterchild of "rustbelt revitalization," Frazier's pictures tell a different story, of the real impact of inequality and environmental toxicity. In this short, powerful talk, the TED Fellow shares a deeply personal glimpse of an often-unseen world.

About the speaker: LaToya Ruby Frazier focuses her camera lens on her family and her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, to explore themes of family, inequality, health care and environmental racism.


Suki Kim: This is what it's like to teach in North Korea
For six months, Suki Kim worked as an English teacher at an elite school for North Korea's future leaders — while writing a book on one of the world's most repressive regimes. As she helped her students grapple with concepts like "truth" and "critical thinking," she came to wonder: Was teaching these students to seek the truth putting them in peril? (This talk was part of a session at TED2015 guest-curated by Pop-Up Magazine: or @popupmag on Twitter.)

About the speaker: Suki Kim's investigative memoir, "Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite," chronicles her six months undercover in Pyongyang during Kim Jong-Il's final six months. She posed as a teacher and a missionary in a university for future leaders — all while secretly writing her book.


eL Seed: Street art with a message of hope and peace
What does this gorgeous street art say? It's Arabic poetry, inspired by bold graffiti and placed where a message of hope and peace can do the most good. In this quietly passionate talk, artist and TED Fellow eL Seed describes his ambition: to create art so beautiful it needs no translation.

About the speaker: eL Seed combines calligraphy and graffiti to beautiful, arresting effect.


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Contact Us

charles c. smith, Executive Director
Lecturer, Cultural Pluralism and the Arts/University of Toronto Scarborough
Victoria Glizer, Project Assistant
Mailing Address:32 Costain Avenue, Toronto, ON M4E 2G6
Phone: 416-686-3039

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Copyright © 2015 Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), All rights reserved.

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