This webpage will be updated as the initiative progresses. Last update: October 2022

Arts Service Organizations

Positioning a Future Forward

ASO Convergence Conference: January 22-24 2023

It is time to bring the ASO community together to investigate the challenges our sector faces, and to advance our ideas for addressing such challenges.

Current Phase: Solution Pathways*

How might we develop a shared plan for inclusion?

How might we demonstrate the arts’ value through evidence to reveal the human side?

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

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

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

NOTE: Each topic will also commit to exploring existing resources and 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 will also be addressed. 

* A series of online lead-up sessions before the ASO conference in January 2023.

The Solution Pathway Leads

Sebastian Campos-Möller

Facilitator: 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.

November 10, 3pm to 5pm Eastern

Mapping the 3-Horizon for a shared plan for inclusion Round One | November 17, 3pm to 5pm Eastern

Mapping the 3-Horizon for a shared plan for inclusion Round Two (building off of Round One) | December 1, 3p to 5pm Eastern 

Parul Pandya

Facilitator: 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.

Broad BIPOC | November 2, 2022, 1-3pm Eastern

Indigenous communities | November 9, 2022, 1-3pm

Disabled communities | December 7, 2022, 1-3pm

Potential Methods Used

1) Contextualizing: decolonial approach towards the issue(s) being discussed. Allowing each person to individually feel connected to the discussion and participate.

2) Using a variety of digital tools (as needed, ie. Mentimetre,) to conduct live surveying to key questions and live sharing.

3) Art-based methods, such as creating a visual mapping of ideas generated during the session.

Heather Catherine George

Curator: 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.

Reza Nik

Facilitator: 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.

Friday Dec. 2nd (1-2:30pm Eastern)
What is “Evidence” and what makes it effective or tangible?  

Friday Dec 9th (1-2:30pm Eastern)
Solutionism and its consequence on an art practice

Friday Dec 16th (1-2:30pm Eastern)
Guided Distractions: a tool to maintain creativity and unpredictability

Inga Petri

Facilitator: 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 (digitalartsnation.ca), 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. 

Where lies the pain / need / opportunity for artists? | October 25, 2:30-4pm Eastern

Lifting Up Artists in the Digital World | November 15, 1-2:30pm Eastern

Artists’ Experimentation at the Intersections of the Physical and the Digital | December 6, 2022, 1-2:30pm Eastern

Digital audiences – from digital presence to digital marketplaces | January 10, 2023, 1-2:30pm Eastern

Travel Subsidy

Bring our national community together at the Arts Service Organizations: Positioning a Future Forward Convergence, occurring from January 22-24, 2023 in Toronto.

Mass Culture and an organizing committee of ASOs are dedicated to ensuring that arts professionals from a range of disciplines, backgrounds and locations are able to attend. For this reason, conference attendance is free, but we need your help to ensure a presence that reflects the richness of Canada’s arts and culture sector.

About

We invite you to join a future-oriented exploration – one we believe will lead to better lives for artists and arts workers, and greater access to arts experiences for all, and greater equity for under-represented and marginalized voices. 

We understand that success in this exploration depends on centering under-represented voices, while also recognizing how power, money and status has driven, and continues to drive decision-making and allocations of resources.

Through this work, we commit to prioritizing equity not only as our own challenge we must find solutions for, but for prioritizing the actions we will focus on through an equity-based decision-making process.

As the first step, we invite you to take part in conversations that…

ASOs can work on together to think through solutions;

the arts sector is challenged by; OR

that arts either intersect with or is working through internally; AND

Lead to more equitable outcomes.

This spiral is a visual representation of the various stages of this project. Right now, we are preparing for phase 3: Solution Pathways, which will run from September to January.  

This group works in consultation with many others. This process is an experiment. We encourage you to reach out to us at robin@massculture.ca at any time to discuss this process.

Robin Sokoloski, Mass Culture

Nadine Medawar, Regroupement Québécois de la Danse

Karla Etienne, Canadian Dance Assembly

Christina Loewen, Association for Opera in Canada

Jacoba Knaapen, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts – TAPA

Sandy Crawley, Book and Periodical Council 

Katherine Carleton, C.M., Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada

Frédéric Julien, CAPACOA

Diane Davy, WorkInCulture 

Em Ironstar, Saskatchewan Arts Alliance

 

The Planning Committee gratefully acknowledges the contributions made by the following people:

Tau Bui, Diversité artistique Montréal (Decision-Making Panel)

Kristin Cheung, Community Arts Council of Vancouver (Decision-Making Panel)

Michele Decottignies, Stage Left

Swati Khanna, ELAN – English Language Arts Network, (Decision-Making Panel)

Zainub Verjee, Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries

Made possible through the support of