Mass Culture is an arts support organization that strives to harness the power of research to learn and generate new insights, enabling the arts community to be strategic, focused and adaptive.

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Solution Pathways

ASOs: Positioning a Future Forward

Solution Pathways were a series of online lead-up sessions that preceded the ASO Convergence Conference in January 2023, as part of the ASOs: Positioning a Future Forward project. Each topic explored existing resources as well as the development of new ones, with specific attention to tools that are affordable and accessible to the arts sector. Additionally, Human Resources and strategies for building better working conditions within the sector were also addressed. 

Topics and leads

Solution Pathway: How might we assist in the permanence and present nature of the arts?

Heather is a mother, gardener, beader, curator and PhD Candidate of Euro-Canadian and Kanien’kehá:ka descent. Heather’s home community is Akwesasne, most of her professional career has been spent working in Six Nations of the Grand River. Much of Heather’s personal and professional work has been directed at gaining a better understanding of the culture and history of her nation. Her thesis work examines the historical and philosophical underpinnings of contemporary museum practices across Haudenosaunee communities. Heather’s curatorial practice combines historical documents, storytelling, material culture and contemporary art with the understanding that there is no one way to tell a story, she seeks to engage audiences through a wide variety of engaging, immersive and gently disruptive approaches. Heather is currently on leave from her position as Curator of Indigenous Histories at the Canadian Museum of History, working as a Guest Curator at Woodland Cultural Centre. Additionally she recently took on the role of president of the Canadian Museums Association at an exciting time as work begins on a new national museum policy and implementation of UNDRIP.

There is no Permanence 

Cyclical ellipsis of thought, 

shared across and between the generations. 

Carried in the intangible, 

expressed in the tangible, 

It is fleeting only held in solid form for just a moment.

Repetition of form, of pattern, of song, of dance, of word, 

Repetition, upon repetition, upon repetition. 

Communities of knowledge, 

Communities of care, 

Communities grounded in place and space.  

Indigenous expressions 

Used not as a symbol of a colonial nation 

Rather as expressions of self-determination. 

Common ethics and values become our focus, 

no longer needing a singular national identity. 

A new commission, a new story, a new cycle?  

Building on my curatorial approach grounded self-decolonization this solution pathway will approach the topic of Permanence and Present Nature of The Arts through facilitated conversations and artistic works that seek to enact a process of permanence through intergenerational knowledge sharing, present-ness of story and a critical deconstructing of the last major report on the state of the Arts in Canada (the Massey Commission). 

Four topics will guide four conversations alongside the creation of four artistic pieces. The topics for investigation will include Intergenerational Knowledge Transfer; Holistic and Interdisciplinary Approaches; Art as Healing; and Grounding Art in Place and Identity.  Conversations will present both challenging and hopeful thoughts around the structures and systems of support needed across the sector.

Solution Pathway: How might we develop a shared plan for inclusion?

Sebastian is an artist, strategic designer, futurist, system thinker, and facilitator of co-creative spaces and design implementation. He works in service of futures where our culture values relationships — relationships with each other, nature’s systems and more-than-human stakeholders. Sebastian is a trained industrial designer and product designer, and has extensive experience with human-centred-design and user experience research. Sebastian has been working with different organizations to develop cultures of care. He is one of the founders of Ayudog, a not-for-profit organization that helps street dogs and cats through affordable spaying and neutering campaigns and facilitating adoption in Valle de Bravo, Mexico. He is a newcomer to Canada, has painted murals on the streets of Toronto and looks forward to facilitating the co-design of better businesses.

Solution Pathway: How might we demonstrate the arts' value through evidence to reveal the human side?

Reza Nik is a Toronto-based licensed architect, artist and educator.  He is the founding director of SHEEEP, an experimental studio working at the intersection of community, culture and architecture.  Reza has a background in Art History and he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Teaching Stream at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. His research is focused on a deeper dialogue between the socio-political nuances of the urban context and playful experimentation. Disrupting the traditional architectural processes and institutions is at the forefront of his pedagogy and practice.  Reza has worked and studied in various cities around the world including Vienna, Dusseldorf, Barcelona, Buenos Aires & Halifax and these experiences have dramatically shaped his outlook on city-building and art-making.  Reza is also one of the founding members and the co-steward of the Toronto chapter of the Architecture Lobby, an organization advocating for labor rights for architectural workers and encouraging more critical discourse within the profession.

Solution Pathway: How might we continue to build the infrastructure and knowledge bases needed to meaningfully work with different communities?

Parul Pandya (she/her) has been skillfully working in non-profit in various roles through the past two decades, including as a community builder, consultant, programmer and producer.  After managing in community grants for the largest government funder in Canada, she received much interest for continued collective impact by being asked to serve organizations in a variety of capacities. 

Her attraction to advocacy emerged with her work as a Queer South Asian freelance writer/poet, over two decades ago.  She has a deep passion for social justice and its intersectionality with the arts, which she teaches about at both Centennial College and Humber College. 

Her approach to exchange is a high-engagement, encouraging participation through self-reflection, empathy, creativity and common understanding. Parul has a deep appreciation for plants, playing plant mom to over 80 in her urban jungle. She also loves watching the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays, as well as a lot of true crime.

Solution Pathway: How might we support artists from getting lost in the digital world?

Inga Petri, Strategic Moves, has been putting digital conversations in the arts sector on the agenda since 2011, when she led the seminal Value of Presenting: A Study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada (© 2013, CAPACOA). She has a long record of collaboration with our sector including co-writing Digitizing the Performing Arts: An Assessment of Issues, Opportunities and Challenges (© 2017, CAPACOA). From 2019 to 2021 she led Making Tomorrow Better: Taking Digital Action in the Performing Arts (, a national digital literacy and intelligence initiative that reached more than 3,000 participants with 84 workshops and conference sessions over 3 years. 

With experience in diverse sectors – from the performing arts, festivals, museums and arts services organization to government, international trade promotion and technology companies – Inga ha become a sought-after speaker and facilitator at conferences and events across the country.

Inga crosses the arts and technology divide easily:  beginning in 1997, she has managed the development of web site applications, designed online marketing campaigns, and helped organizations forge closer connections with audiences in the digital and physical realms.

She founded Strategic Moves in 2007 in Ottawa, and since 2015 has been operating her nation-wide consulting practice from Whitehorse, Yukon. 

This initiative is made possible through the support of the following

Canada Council for the Arts logo