Edward BurtynsKy
(in conversation with sophie hackett)

Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada's most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over sixty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.

Burtynsky was born in 1955 of Ukrainian heritage in St. Catharines, Ontario. He received his BAA in Photography/ Media Studies from Ryerson University in 1982, and in 1985 founded Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging and new media computer-training centre catering to all levels of Toronto's art community.

His imagery explores the collective impact we as a species are having on the surface of the planet; an inspection of the human systems we've imposed onto natural landscapes.

Sophie Hackett
Associate Curator, Photography, Art Gallery of Ontario

Sophie Hackett is the Associate Curator, Photography, at the Art Gallery of Ontario and adjunct faculty in Ryerson University’s master’s program in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management.

She has contributed to several Canadian art magazines, international journals and monographs, and she has curated or co-curated several exhibitions and public projects at the AGO, including Barbara Kruger: Untitled (It) (2010); Songs of the Future: Canadian Industrial Photographs, 1858 to Today (2011); Max Dean: Album, A Public Project (2012); Light My Fire: Some Propositions about Portraits and Photography (2013-2014); What It Means To be Seen: Photography and Queer Visibility and Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography (2014); and most recently Introducing Suzy Lake (2014). Hackett was the lead juror for the 2014 AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize, a role she also held in 2010 and 2012.



Judith Marcuse’s 40-year career includes international work as dancer, choreographer, director, producer, teacher and consultant. Through the International Centre of Art for Social Change, created in 2008 in partnership with Simon Fraser University, she has created a global network for art practitioners whose work promotes and catalyzes social change. Judith works with artists, teachers, youth, social activists and policy-makers to better understand how the arts can be used to address issues of concern – and to move from arts-based forms of dialogue to concrete, change-making action.

As the producer of seven large-scale arts festivals, she has created over 100 original works for live performance by dance, theatre and opera companies as well as for film and television. Her repertory dance company toured extensively for 15 years with activities that included innovative residencies and youth programs. Her youth-focused, five-year, issue-based ICEFIRE and EARTH projects involved thousands of youth in workshops, national touring, television production and community collaborations.

A Senior Fellow of Ashoka International, Judith presently leads a unique five-year research study on art for social change in Canada. 

Stephen Duncombe & Steve Lambert
FOUNDERs & DIRECTORs, CenteR for Artistic Activism

Stephen Duncombe has over two decades of experience as both a teacher and an organizer. With a PhD in Sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, he has taught in the City and State University’s of New York and is currently an Associate Professor of Media and Culture at New York University. An activist his entire life, he co-founded a multi-issue community activist group in the mid 1990s, the Lower East Side Collective, which won an award for “Creative Activism” from the Abbie Hoffman foundation. He was also a lead organizer in the international direct action group Reclaim the Streets. He is the author and editor of six books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and the Cultural Resistance Reader, writes on culture and politics for a wide range of scholarly and popular publications, and is the creator of an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia. Duncombe is currently working on a book on the art of propaganda during the New Deal.

For Steve Lambert, art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. In 2008 Lambert worked with hundreds of people on “The New York Times Special Edition,” a utopian version of the paper announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. In 2011 he built a 20 x 9 foot sign that reads CAPITALISM WORKS FOR ME!, allows passers by to vote TRUE or FALSE, and is touring it across the United States. Lambert was a Senior Fellow at New York’s Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology from 2006-2010, developed and leads workshops for Creative Capital Foundation, taught at Parsons/The New School, CUNY Hunter College, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and is currently Associate Professor of New Media at SUNY Purchase.



Open All // Close All

Associate Professor, School of Interior Design, Ryerson University

Lorella Di Cintio has been educated in Canada, United States, and Europe in the fields of Interior Design, Architecture, and Philosophy. Her research and practice focuses primarily on design activism and the social and political positions undertaken by designers. She is the founder of The Design Activism = Change Initiative. She recently received the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award from Ryerson University and the Interior Design Educators Council’s award for Community Service.

Artist & Designer

Sean Martindale is an interdisciplinary artist and designer currently based in Toronto. His interventions activate public spaces to encourage engagement, often focused on ecological and social issues. His playful works question and suggest alternate possibilities for existing spaces, infrastructures and materials found in the urban environment. Frequently, he uses salvaged goods and plants in unexpected ways that prompt conversations and interaction. Martindale was profiled for the first episode of the CBC’s Great Minds of Design, his Hancock Lecture was filmed by TVO for their Big Ideas series, and his work was included in the feature-length documentary This Space Available.

Founder, the Bodhi Collective, Ryerson University

Linh Nguyen, a Ryerson grad, is an individual with drive, creativity, and compassion. She has the capacity to be a leader for social change and sees no bounds in applying her education in non-linear form. As someone who discovered design and design thinking late in the game, she has grown to understand the power of the human-centered design process and its necessity in all realms of education, business and policy. She is the founder of the Bodhi Collective, an interdisciplinary group believing people and place are infinitely related. By using physical space as an agent for change, their philosophy intersects positive psychology, behavioural economics, and socially sustainable practices.

Vice President, Artscape; Director, Creative Placemaking Lab

Pru Robey is a passionate advocate for the transformative impact the arts and culture have on the lives of individuals and communities. As Vice President of Artscape and its Creative Placemaking Lab Director, Pru takes the lead in research and development for new projects. Throughout her career, the development of innovative, multi-sector approaches to support cultural sector development, creative economy activation and sustainable urban regeneration has been a centerpiece of her work. Over more than 25 years Pru has been a consultant, researcher, manager, promoter, funder, policy maker and educator in the arts, culture and creative industries in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Associate Professor, OCAD University; Co-Founding Director, Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab)

Greg Van Alstyne is a designer, teacher and futurist with twenty-five years in communications and experience design, visualization, branding, and strategic design. Greg is co-founding director of Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) at OCAD University, where his research includes emergence in innovation ecosystems, futures of digital media, and design thinking. Among his current projects, Greg is Service Director for DesignJam (OCE), and co-investigator for Digital Governance (SSHRC). Prior to OCADU, Greg led the Institute without Boundaries (IwB), was Creative Director at IconNicholson, NY, and founded the Department of New Media at MoMA, New York.

City Councillor, Ward 27, City of Toronto

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has an extensive career investing in the City of Toronto through the development and support of numerous social planning programs, business ventures, art endeavours and successful community initiatives. Prior to being elected to City Council in 2010, Councillor Wong-Tam has curated art installations for Scotiabank's Nuit Blanche and is the principal of a Toronto-based contemporary fine art gallery. Councillor Wong-Tam continues to be a champion for sustainable living and environmental health and plays a vital role in ensuring the vibrancy of our city and its economic and social development.

Artist; Researcher; Co-Director, Whippersnapper Gallery

Maggie Flynn is an organizer, artist, and curator. Some of the activities that keep her busy involve “figuring it out together”, facilitating exchange between unexpected parties, and encouraging recreational dancing. She has presented solo projects at the Rhubarb Festival and Don Blanche. From 2009-2013 she worked with Tongue & Groove collective, exhibiting at Board of Directors, XPACE, and Land | Slide. Her understanding of critical pedagogy and community organizing has been shaped by her involvement with groups such as the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, the Really Really Free Market, Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (El Salvador), and the Anarchist Free University.

Artist, Educator, Consultant

Farrah-Marie Miranda plays with performance, new media and the law. Her collaborative, socially engaged projects emphasize the power of ordinary people to enact change. Farrah-Marie founded, and co-directed Mass Arrival, a critically acclaimed public intervention and installation that disrupts discourses of illegality surrounding migrant boat arrivals to Canada. Since its opening at Toronto's Whippersnapper Gallery, the project has accepted invitations to exhibit nationally and internationally. Reviews of Farrah-Marie's work have been featured in publications such as Canadian Theatre Review, Canadian Art Magazine, the Toronto Star, the Torontoist, FUSE Magazine, THIS Magazine, and in the anthology, Wildfire: Art as Activism. Currently, a Master of Environmental Studies Candidate at York University, Farrah-Marie's research explores the pedagogical possibilities of performance in unmaking colonial borders, citizenship and illegality. Farrah-Marie's writings have appeared in the book, In the Wake of the Komagata Maru: Transpacific Migration, Race & Contemporary Art, as well as in Border Criminologies, and Rabble.

Associate Professor, RTA School of Media, Ryerson University

Dr. Petrou is an artist, a writer, and associate professor at the RTA School of Media . With a background in fine art, design and fiction, Laurie continues to garner attention for her works in these areas. Her first book, Between, was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and she has recently completed a novel. Laurie's research and creative work focuses on gender, storytelling, and digital culture. In addition to presenting her work at conferences, she has been a TEDx speaker on breaking gender conventions among children, and is continually working on projects that challenge conventions in creative ways.

Principal & Creative Director, The Public; Editorial & Art Director, Shameless magazine

Sheila Sampath is an award-winning artist, educator and activist designer, who's work is rooted in social justice, anti-oppression and decolonization. She is the Principal and Creative Director at The Public. (an activist design studio specializing in changing the world), Editorial and Art Director of Shameless magazine (Canada’s feminist voice for teen girls and trans youth), an instructor at OCAD University, and serves on the board of directors for SAVAC. Sheila has facilitated workshops and given lectures in strategic design, radical art and independent media internationally. Her first book, Letters Lived, was published in Fall 2013 under Three O'Clock Press' Women's Press imprint.

Executive Director, Musagetes

Shawn Van Sluys is the Executive Director of Musagetes, a philanthropic foundation that experiments in small Canadian and European cities with ways to connect communities more deeply with the arts and creativity. Prior to that, he was the first Executive Director of the Canadian Art Museum Directors’ Organization, a national arts-service organization that represents 85 museum directors. Shawn Van Sluys’s research and writing encompasses the relationship between art and the imagination; the role of the arts in transforming society; and the contemplative, poetic, and lyric frames of the arts.

Co-Founder & Research Director, Broken City Lab; Assistant Professor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Justin A. Langlois is an artist, educator, and organizer working across media and social practices. He is the co-founder and research director of Broken City Lab, an artist-led interdisciplinary research collective working to explore the complexities of locality, infrastructures, and participation in relation to civic engagement and social change, and principal of the research studio, Antagonism.Works. His practice explores collaborative structures, critical pedagogy, and custodial frameworks as tools for enacting divergent possibilities for gathering, learning, and making. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.

Music & Arts Service Organizations Officer, Ontario Arts Council

Michael Murray is OAC’s Popular & World Music and Arts Service Organizations Officer. Michael also led the development of ArtsLinkups, an ongoing initiative to support collaborations between the arts and other sectors for the benefit of artists and arts organizations. Prior to working at the OAC, Michael served as the Executive Director of UrbanArts and is the creator of the Youth Challenge Fund-supported beats.mind.movement. Michael also plays trumpet and live electronics and is currently composing an original musical for use in social enterprise spaces.

Producer & Curator

Asad Raza is a producer and curator, with a focus on public art and art festivals. He loves the fabric of cities and experiments with how public art projects interact with the day-to-day lived experience of its people. He has produced public art festivals at the University of Toronto (Scarborough) and directs a long running experimental, public and community art festival in Toronto’s east called Art of the Danforth. In 2013, he managed the monumental public art festival LandSlide: Possible Futures, which explored the future of land, city and history in Markham, ON. He currently works as a Programming Supervisor at the City of Toronto’s Cultural Events unit, where he is one of the programmers of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche.

Executive Director, One Earth; Curator, Cities for People

Vanessa Timmer is the Executive Director of One Earth, a Vancouver‐based “think and do tank” focused on sustainable consumption and production. One Earth is curating the New Economies theme of Cities for People, initiated by The J. W. McConnell Family Foundation – a Canada‐wide experiment in advancing a movement to create more resilient and livable cities through innovation networks. Vanessa is also an Associate with the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University focused on innovation and holds a Doctorate in environmental studies with degrees from Queen’s University, Oxford University and UBC. She teaches sustainability and systems thinking, and co‐hosts the television show, The Sustainable Region. In 2013, Vanessa was named one of Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty under 40. One Earth is also co‐leading a global campaign – Disruptive Imaginings – to create positive and compelling visions of life in sustainable futures.

Young Mammals Director, Mammalian Diving Reflex

Annie Wong is an artist, arts educator, and writer. Her work is conceptually diverse and is imbedded in various practices such as experimental pedagogy, endurance as performance, and relational aesthetics. She is currently the Young Mammals Director of Mammalian Diving Reflex and Broken Pencil Magazine’s Education Coordinator where she collaborates with young people to create socially engaged art. She holds a BA in English Literature and a MA in Communication and Culture from York University.


Open All // Close All

Co-Founder, Adjacent Possibilities

Scott was raised on wind-licked west-coast of Vancouver Island and has since been working at the intersection of climate policy and civic engagement with the Canadian and European Green Parties, Leadnow, and Tides Canada. Currently Scott is a StudioY Fellow at MaRS Discovery District and the co-founder of Adjacent Possibilities.


Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge live and work in Toronto. They have collaborated with various trade union and community organizations in the production of their staged photographic work over the past 40 years. Their work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally in both the trade union movement and art galleries and museums.

Media Artists

Patricio Davila and Dave Colangelo construct empathetic interfaces with public space and information using reactive architecture and projection. Their work and writing has been presented at the 2013-14 Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism in Shenzhen/Hong Kong and the 2011 International Symposium for Electronic Art in Istanbul. They live and work in Toronto.

Project Development, STEPS Initiative

Brent Fairbairn holds a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Toronto. With an interest in how urban design, he has a particular interest in the temporary activation of public spaces.

Artist, Researcher & Associate Professor, Ryerson University

As an artist, researcher and professor, Filiz Klassen uses weather as a vehicle to question ideas of enclosure and shelter, as well to reveal built environments’ impact on climate change and energy consumption. This topic and its diverse creative output, ranging from performances to exhibition/installations, continues to be her long-term creative research umbrella.

Artist, Curator & Festival Director, Mayworks Festival

Nahed Mansour is a Toronto-based artist that works in performance, installation, and video. She draws from personal and historic archives to address representations of gender and racial relationships. Nahed Mansour graduated from Concordia University's MFA program and is the Director of Mayworks Festival-Toronto.

Founding Director, STEPS Initiative

Alexis Kane Speer is the Founding Director of the STEPS Initiative, an award-winning public arts organization. She has over 10 years of product development experience, across leading community and cultural institutions and has won numerous awards for her leadership in city-building initiatives. Alexis holds an MA from the Dept of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.

Field Placement Coordinator, SKETCH

Depending on the day, Naty Tremblay is a mixed blood identical twin ∓ trickster, queer activist and community organizer, cyborg storyteller, arts educator-facilitator, artrepreneur, iconoclast and one-person band. They hail from a wee organic farm on Anishnabek three-fire conferacy & Haudenosaunee territory, Ontario, and uses ‘They’ and ‘Handsome’ as preferred pronouns.

Researcher, Teacher, Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto

Elena Basile’s research and poetic practice focuses on the politics of feminist and queer migrant poetics in the context of translation, multilingualism and the new virtual trans-localities of cultural production and dissemination. She teaches Sexuality Studies at the University of Toronto and literature and translation at York University.

Researcher, Activist, Media Artist

Roberta Buiani is an interdisciplinary artist and media scholar based in Toronto. Her work balances theoretical and applied research at the intersection of technoscience and creative resistance. She is the co-founder of the ArtSci Salon at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences (University of Toronto, http://artscisalon.com). More information at http://www.atomarborea.net.

Manager, Neighbourhood Arts Network

Ella Cooper is an award winning Creative Community Organizer, Holistic Trainer, Photo/Video Artist & Circle Song Leader. She is a frequent guest speaker/facilitator at national and international conferences and is completing a Masters in Arts Education. Ella continues to receive support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council and has been featured in public spaces and galleries across Canada. By day, she is the Manager of the Neighbourhood Arts Network.

Founder & Chief Innovator, Articulate Health; Advisory Chair, North York Arts

Christine Harris is a social change driven creative who produces innovative projects to explore health and help address health issues. Her arts and health practice at Articulate Health is informed by her perspectives as a multidisciplinary artist, marketing and communications professional and as an individual living with a chronic illness.

Project Manager, Black Experience Project, Environics Institute

Suelyn Knight is the Project Manager for the Black Experience Project with the Environics Institute. She is responsible for the implementation of fieldwork and outreach. Suelyn is completing a Master of Education degree. Her research explores the connections between race, marginalization and social and cultural capital, with a community-based focus.

Artistic Director and Founder, SKETCH

A theatre graduate of York University of Ontario, Phyllis Novak is a community arts developer who is the Artistic Director and Founder of SKETCH Working Arts - a community arts enterprise for youth living homeless and on the margins. Phyllis is a fellow of the inaugural Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leaders Lab 2015.

Timeanddesire, Artist Collective

Denise St Marie’s interventive art practice began in Victoria B.C. in 2000. Now currently ½ of the artist collective Timeanddesire she explores concepts relating to social structures and levels of communication within public space. Her collective work has recently been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Windsor, Art Gallery of Mississauga and Toronto’s Nuit Blanche.

Urban Planner, R.E. Millward & Associates

Sara Udow is an urban planner in Toronto at a planning consultancy R.E. Millward & Associates. Prior to becoming an urban planner, she worked in the arts and non-profit sectors. In her planning practice, she has developed an interest in creative approaches to engaging the public in the changes we make to our cities.

Manager of Community Projects, STEPS Initiative

Vera Belazelkoska brings extensive experience in community outreach, project coordination, and field research in parts of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, along with a Masters in Political Science from the University of Toronto to her work leading community art projects. She is passionate to collaborate on projects that address structural inequalities and foster social change.

Founder & Executive Director, Jayu

An artist and activist, Gilad connected to human rights when he visited N.Korea in 2008. Since then, Gilad has been involved in human rights locally and internationally. In 2012, Gilad launched Jayu to share human rights stories through art. Gilad has spoken about human rights on several platforms including the UN Human Rights Council.

Co-Founder, Adjacent Possibilities

Ross is a facilitator, curator and purveyor of purposeful play. Putting these passions to work he’s lead strategic planning retreats for cleantech funds, consulted for government, was a Studio Y Fellow and recently, founded Adjacent Possibilities. When he’s not scheming of creative ways to address big issues, you can find Ross exploring Toronto’s forests with the PINE Project.

Director of Projects & Partnerships, STEPS Initiative

Mojan Jianfar has a passion for city building, community empowerment and youth leadership. She is a cultural anthropologist/urban planner and is working towards bringing social equity back into planning by focusing on how community groups can better engage with and participate in building their city.

Associate Professor, Ryerson University

Dr. Lapum is an Associate Professor at Ryerson University. She employs arts-based and narrative methods of research; these approaches let her critically play with aesthetic form to explore life, death and trauma. The ultimate goal of her work is to ensure that no patient feels like the 7,024th patient when they enter and exit the health care system.

Women's Sexual Health Coordinator, Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention

Suruthi Ragulan is the Women's Sexual Health Coordinator at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention. She is interested in using an intersectional lens to create tailored health education for racialized populations. She recently completed a fellowship with the Asia Foundation, where she created and delivered sexual health programming for women in militarized regions of Sri Lanka.

Multidisciplinary Artist

Jennie Suddick is a multidisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her work deals with issues of identity, place and meditated relationships to nature. She earned her Masters of Fine Arts from York University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University.

Timeanddesire, Artist Collective

Timothy Walker is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, where he specialized in Philosophy, while developing a multidisciplinary art practice that now makes up ½ of the collective Timeanddesire. Much of his work uses playfulness and thoughtfulness to reframe experiences, providing insight into the human condition