Alejandra Higuera | Photography Assistant & Translator
Alejandra Higuera, originally from Colombia, is a photographer, animator and videographer based in St. James Town. Professionally trained in a 2010 video production internship at Dilema Studio in São Paulo Brazil, she is now studying Integrated Media at OCADU. Over the past five years she has worked as a mentor and contributor to community projects such as conSECUENCIAS, the Salem Visual Arts Festival and Shadeism. Alejandra has also produced works for initiatives across the city including Manifesto’s activation of the Inside Out global arts initiative. She strongly believes in the power of art as tool for empowerment and healing, she is primarily focused on sharing her stories and experiences as well as those of the colorful people that cross her path. As an immigrant woman of colour Alejandra believes in the importance of sharing our stories and encouraging others to do the same.
Che Kothari | Lead Photographer
One of Toronto’s young leaders in the arts, Che is the Founding Executive Director of Manifesto Community Projects and has led the organization to being recognized as one of the leading youth arts organizations in the city. The organization also hosts the Manifesto Festival Of Community & Culture, a seven-day showcase of hip hop culture that is the largest festival of its kind in Canada. Che is an established photographer and leader within his community who is dedicated to fostering other young artists in his city and around the world. In 2008, he was the Executive Director for the Ignite the Americas Youth Arts Policy Forum, bringing together young artists, industry professionals, policy experts and government authorities from 30 countries to explore how arts and culture build social inclusion and economic opportunities. Internationally and locally, he is a regular presenter at a variety of forums.
In 2009, Che became a DiverseCity fellow by the Toronto City Summit Alliance. In 2011, he was named a Vital Person by the Toronto Community Foundation. Che has photographed intimate portraits artists such as Ziggy Marley, Ice Cube of NWA, Zaki Ibrahim, Common, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Afrika Bambaataa, K’naan, Erykah Badu, Nas, and many others. These images have been displayed in over 100 exhibitions from museums to the streets in Toronto, Jamaica, New York, Tokyo, Bombay and many more. Please see: http://www.chekothari.com
Christine Mangosing : cmango design | Graphic Designer
Christine Mangosing is a Manila-born, Toronto-based multi-disciplinary artist. Her work is deeply informed by her sense of personal and cultural history and the practice of powerful storytelling through imagery and words. She is the founder and creative director of CMANGO Design visual communications studio and art director for national music publication, Exclaim! Magazine. Her branding, print + web design work encompass a spectrum of industries, including music, film, fashion, health & beauty, magazine publishing, automotive, hospitality, theatre, art exhibition and the non-profit sector. As a founding member of the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts + Culture, she established the Centre’s visual identity and provides arts-based career mentorship. Also a professional actor and playwright, Christine has co-written and performed in two critically acclaimed ensemble productions, People Power (CBT Collective) and Baggage (Pulang Maleta Collective) and performed in various productions and theatre festivals in both Toronto and Montreal. Please see: http://www.cmangodesign.com
Devon Ostrom | Concept Design and Curator
Devon holds an MA in curating from Goldsmiths, and has graduated from programs in Non-profit as well as HR management from Ryerson. Greatest hits include the HYPE series at the AGO, a mural and research project at Kingston Penitentiary, and Canada’s first major exhibition of street art (held at the ROM). His curatorial record also includes the acclaimed Streetscape programming for Luminato 2008, which simultaneously occurred at Regent Park and the former Tent City. As a community organizer, Devon is a co-founder of them.ca and Manifesto Festival.
Devon’s advocacy work also includes founding BeautifulCity.ca – an alliance of over 60 organizations that put advocated for a tax on billboards for art. This led to Toronto council passing a commitment (unfulfilled) to allot 17.5 million dollars in additional annual arts spending. Devon is a member of the Toronto City Summit Alliance’s ELN, Ryerson’s Top 30 Under 30, and serves on the CARFAC Ontario, Toronto Arts Council and Manifesto boards. Please see: http://www.ostrom.ca
Felicia Mings | Phase 1 Concept Art Designer
Felicia Mings is a cultural curator, artist and educator. Her education and belief in art as a powerful medium to validate voices and experiences unacknowledged in mainstream media has resulted in her co-founding the Community Arts and Media (CAM) Project. The CAM Project is an initiative that aims to support youth outside of urban centres in gaining access to,and organizing around, diverse Black Canadian art and experiences. Felicia strives to create, showcase and be a part of work that promotes the diverse stories of communities of colour. This has led to her 5 years of experience within arts, culture and youth organizations in education, outreach, program development and management roles. In addition, she is as an exhibiting artist dabbling in a mixture of painting, printmaking and design. Felicia holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree and diploma from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College’s Art and Art History program. Felicia aspires to pursue further academic studies and to continue to encourage youth engagement with Afro-diasporic visual and media art in community, academic and art institutions. Please see: http://feliciamings.tumblr.com/
Helena Shimeles | Interviewer
Helena Shimeles is an experienced researcher, project manager, and health promotion specialist with over seven years of community engagement experience. She has worked in the non-profit and public sectors in the areas of community based research, health promotion, youth engagement, and funding. She currently works with Public Health Agency of Canada as a Program Consultant. Prior to this role, she was the Research Coordinator with the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO). Helena holds a Masters of Environmental Studies degree from York University with a public health focus. She also completed her Honors Bachelor of Science degree from University of Toronto, where she majored in Human Biology and African Studies. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) University Without Walls Fellowship, University of Toronto African Studies Prize, Aroni Image Awards for Community Health, and the John Brooks Scholarship. Helena was also the founding Executive Director of Young Diplomats, Canada’s first youth-led non-profit organization empowering Ethiopian-Canadian youth. In her spare time, Helena enjoys writing, blogging, and learning about beautiful interior spaces. Please see: http://youngdiplomats.org/
Jess Duerden | Communications Manager | Institute for Canadian Citizenship
Jess Duerden manages the communications function for the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), a non-profit that engages all Canadians in citizenship and ensures new citizens are welcomed and included. Responsible for collaborating with the ICC team, Jess acts as the voice of the ICC, creating and executing proactive communications to build profile, educate stakeholders and tell the ICC’s stories. Jess began her communications career at Aeroplan Canada. Starting as an intern in 2007, she quickly stepped into a coordinator role supporting communications and Aeroplan’s CSR portfolio. From there, she moved into the specialized role of Internal Communications Manager where she was a catalyst in the function’s formalization and establishing the team’s reputation for delivering sound communications counsel. In this position Jess created opportunities for two-way communication between employees and senior leaders; encouraged employees to become brand ambassadors; and advised senior leaders, including the President & CEO. She also lent global communications support to Aimia, Aeroplan’s parent company. Jess specializes in strategic communications planning, issues management, speech writing, brand management and social media. She holds a Corporate Communications Graduate Certificate from Seneca College and an Honours BBA, Business (Marketing specialization), from Wilfrid Laurier University. Jess is a founding member of New Collection, a young professional association that supports the Toronto Public Library. Please see: http://icc-icc.ca/
Kate Fraser | Production Manager
Kate is a producer, programmer, mentor and advocate for the process of creation. She has established herself as a unique resource in Toronto through four years of video and photography based programming. Kate has fostered a creative community that builds pathways for young artists to share the resources, mentorship, and professional and personal development opportunities they need to recognize their purposes and fulfill their goals. Kate has worked with Schools Without Borders, Manifesto Festival, Artreach Toronto and Ignite the Americas. She has also partnered with dozens of youth led organizations across the city, and internationally in the US and Brazil, to run programs, produce films and curate exhibits. Kate is committed to creating, and supporting others to create, accessible, responsible and professional arts programs. The wealth of talent and creative drive in Toronto inspires Kate to use the arts, and the process of arts programming, as a tool for the understanding of self, relationships, culture, history, and ultimately, a tool for transformation. Please see: http://www.swb.ca
Maureen Mendoza | Graphic Designer
Maureen Mendoza is a 22 year old graphic designer with a Bachelor of Design from OCAD University. On her off time she enjoys collecting rocks and postcards from her travels, dabbling in illustration, and browsing the shelves of her local library. In the summer of 2011, Maureen joined CMANGO Design as an intern, as part of Kapisanan’s design internship program. She has since played a valuable role on the CMANGO Design team as a Junior Designer. You can find her design portfolio at http://cargocollective.com/maureenmendoza.
Nayani Thiyagarajah | Editor
My name is Nayani Thiyagarajah. As a womyn of colour and daughter of the Tamil-Sri Lankan diaspora, I first gives thanks to the ancestors and elders who came before us, building the foundations on which we continue to work for and with each other.
I am a writer, performer and filmmaker. On my own journey, navigating myself and this world simultaneously, each of these mediums has allowed me to personally unearth stories from within, pushing me to delve deeper into the core of matters. Based on the support that each has learnt so far, I continue utilizing film, theatre, and writing, as tools for creation and documentation.
My work, as a whole, focuses on supporting womyn of colour, including myself, in telling our own narratives and sharing our own creative content, recognizing that we’ve long experienced silences and ‘the danger of a single story’ (Chimamanda Adichie). I believe that we must continue carving caring spaces for ourselves to create, and supporting innovative platforms for us to share our works. Please see: http://www.shadeism.com
Ravi Jain | Interviewer
Ravi Jain is a multi award winning actor, director, producer, educator, arts-activist and Artistic Director of Why Not Theatre. Necessary Angel: Hardsell (assistant director). Other: SPENT (Dora Award-Best Ensemble), A Brimful of Asha, which he developed as the Urjo Kareda artist in residence at Tarragon Theatre. Directing Credits: The Prince Hamlet, I’m So Close (Spotlight Award, SummerWorks 2008), Greenland (Best Production, Audience Choice Award SummerWorks 2009), No Entry, A Brimful of Asha and Iceland (SummerWorks 2012). An advocate for the arts Ravi is on the Artistic Advisory board for ArtReach Toronto, on the artistic advisory committee for Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre, on the Board of Directors for the Laidlaw Foundation and is an alumni of the DiverseCity Fellows program with Civic Action. Ravi is the associate artistic director of the Theatre Centre, is currently a Resident artist at the Young Centre and was selected to be on the roster of clowns for Cirque Du Soliel. Please see: http://www.theatrewhynot.org/
Tendisai Cromwell | Interviewer
Tendisai is a freelance journalist, but as well writes creatively and occasionally performs her short narrative works. She was a Ramallah-based reporter for Palestine Monitor, and regularly contributes to Sway Magazine. Tendisai is of mixed Afro-Caribbean heritage, which informs much of her pursuits, and is committed to exploring hybrid identities, diaspora populations, faith and spirituality, and minority rights. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Toronto and is pursuing a Master of Journalism degree from Ryerson University. Please see: http://www.saiwrites.ca
Tiffany Hsiung | Video Director
Tiffany Hsiung is a Toronto based filmmaker and a graduate of Ryerson University’s film production program. She is an award-winning filmmaker whose films have screened at several film festivals that includes, Golden Lion Film Festival (South Africa) The Reel Asian International Film Festival, Austin Asian Film Festival, Reel World Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival. She has been awarded The Norman Jewison award, William F Whites Grant and the Kodak Film Stock Grant. Her short film Binding Borders also went on to win ‘Best Toronto Focus Film Award’ as well as the People’s Choice Award at the 16th annual Cabbage Town Film Festival, as well as the Grand Jury prize for R.C.I/Canadian Broadcasting Channel, Digital Diversity.
Hsiung’s work has taken her from Jamaica, Kenya Nairobi, Brazil and all across Asia in 2009 filming short films for the community to develop and share their stories to the rest of the world. Hsiung’s current project, Within Every Womandelves into the systematical sexual slavery that imprisoned over 200,000 girls between the ages of 9 to 20 years old during World War 2 in Asia. It will explore the invaluable perspective these survivors have on the challenges young girls and women face globally, as they continually bear the brunt of the burden. Resonating with millions of girls and women worldwide, this film will help plant a crucial seed of hope and bring about a movement of change that sees women’s rights acknowledged, advocated for and respected. Please see: http://www.goldennuggetproductions.com