TAC Leaders Lab Fellows: 2018 Cohort

This exciting program has been created by TAC and The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity to enhance leadership capacity in Toronto’s arts and culture sectors. The program is designed for mid- to senior-level arts professionals who have demonstrated the potential to lead change in their organizations, communities or arts sectors.

April Aliermo is a musician, documentarian and educator. She plays bass and writes lyrics and music in rock band Hooded Fang and electronic beats-based duo Phèdre. For the last 8 years, she has been touring extensively with both projects in North America, Europe and Asia. She also collaborates on a wide range of art projects from community-based to critical-subversive to educational and fun. Her latest collaboration was with her collective called Hijinks. They gathered stories about food from the Brentwood Library community and made recordings and an art book with patrons, workers and local restauranteurs. April occasionally writes for arts-based publications and has a column at CBC Arts called Finding My Place where she discusses her experiences as an artist living and working in Toronto. Her writing has also been published in Exclaim! Magazine and Broken Pencil. April makes short documentaries for CBC Arts that highlight happenings on the margins of Canadian art and music. Her most up-to-date documentaries feature women and non-binary artist breaking status quo in electronic music, emerging artists running their own art spaces, and First Nations dancers combining traditional and contemporary styles. April is an educator in various settings, giving lectures and talks related to music, art and inclusion. Her recent work includes teaching a course at Ryerson University about creating inclusive art spaces, mentoring young women at the Kapisanan Philippine Art Centre, coaching children at Girls Rock Camp and guest speaking at The Art Gallery of Ontario about the importance of small music venues. April is a strong believer in building conscious communities while having the time of her life.

Parmela Attariwala—Toronto-based violinist/composer, academic (ethnomusicology and public policy), and pedagogue—is a passionate advocate for understanding and nurturing a healthy ecosystem for music-making in Canada.

As a performer, Attariwala has been described as “one of Canada’s most original and compelling artists”, traversing genres from Mozart to the avant-garde, from fiddle to rock, from free improvisation to non-Western crossovers with virtuousic fluidity, and being equally comfortable performing acoustically in a concert hall or plugged-in in a club. She has been deeply influenced by dance—working extensively with choreographers as composer, musician and movement artist—and by small-scale works for instruments and voices. In 1995, Attariwala created the Attar Project as a vehicle to perform and create with musicians and artists from non-Western and non-classical forms. She has released three critically acclaimed Attar Project recordings featuring violin and tabla.

As an academic, Attariwala has undertaken research on: multiculturalism, democracy and arts funding; improvisation in music pedagogy; and devotional music of medieval India. She frequently participates on panels devoted to equity in Canadian musical institutions; sought after for her multi-layered understanding of the challenges facing heritage organizations in the post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission era.

Attariwala is currently affiliated with York University, where she teaches violin and viola, and with Brandon University’s Institute for Research in Music and Community. Attariwala also works with younger students at the Regent Park School of Music in downtown Toronto, and is currently conducting research on the intersection of music pedagogy, student engagement, racism and socio-economic marginalization.  

Britta Badour, better known as Britta B., is a spoken word poet, writer, public speaker and arts educator. Born and raised in Kingston, ON, she began residing in Toronto shortly after graduating Wilfrid Laurier University. Britta was a member of the 2012 Toronto Poetry Slam Team and from that point garnered invitations to perform on stages throughout North America. As an educator, she has taught in more than 300 schools and community centres across Canada. Her focus on community resilience in her art is what aligns frequent collaborations with organizations such as UNITY Charity, Leave Out Violence Ontario and The Stephen Lewis Foundation. Her works have been featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Star’s The Kit: Compact Magazine, CBC Radio’s Day 6, The Walrus Talks, and TEDx. Britta is a former youth mentor for The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and junior artist mentor for the Art Gallery of York University. In April 2017, Britta was an artist-in-residence for the spoken word program at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. When not writing or teaching, Britta emcees break-dance battles, hip-hop jams and community appreciation events.  

S. Bear Bergman is a writer, storyteller, educator, activist and the founder and publisher of children’s book publisher Flamingo Rampant, which makes feminist, culturally-diverse children’s picture books about LGBT2Q+ kids and families. He writes creative non-fiction for grown ups, fiction for children, resolutely factual features for various publications, the advice column Asking Bear and was the co-editor along with Kate Bornstein of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation. These days he spends most of his time making trans cultural competency interventions any way he can and trying to avoid stepping on Lego. 

David Carey is a park person, a film-lover, and a Toronto-phile. As Director of Development at The Bentway, Dave is helping to re-imagine the forgotten lands under the Gardiner as a new artist canvas and community commons. In this new role, he’s building a family of advocates and partners for this unparalleled new public space. Before joining The Bentway, Dave worked at TIFF for 11 years (most recently he served as Director of Government Relations & Philanthropy). There, he led a team of storytellers and fundraisers; helped acquire over 1,000 archival 35mm prints for TIFF’s film collection; launched TIFF in the Park; transformed King St into a pedestrian promenade during the annual Festival; supported the opening of TIFF Bell Lightbox; and much more. It was a busy 11 years. Dave currently sits on the Board of East End Arts, and has previously volunteered at The 519 and World Pride. He holds an M.A. in Communication & Culture from Ryerson and is a proud resident of the East Danforth. 

Shamina Chherawala is an experienced advisor and educator in the fields of equity and human rights.  Since 2010, Shamina has worked at OCAD University where she serves as a human rights specialist providing subject matter expertise on preventing and responding to human rights issues in education and employment, leads arts-based public education initiatives to advance understanding and promote social change, and develops equity-driven organisational change strategies designed to acknowledge and redress structural discrimination in employment and educational policy and practice. Most recently, Shamina co-edited a publication titled Handbook: Supporting Queer and Trans Students in Art and Design Education – a student-authored resource for art and design educators. Shamina holds a Master of Education degree in Social Justice Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. Prior to joining OCAD U, Shamina worked as a teacher in the Toronto District School Board and as a counsellor at a settlement agency serving Asian and South Asian women and their families.

Alison Curcio is an arts administration professional passionate about accessible music education. As Regent Park School of Music’s Program Manager, Alison manages subsidized community music programs for over 1,000 kids across Toronto, collaborating with an incredible team of staff and volunteers to help kids succeed in music and in life. Her previous roles include work with the Toronto Summer Music Festival, and several volunteer roles in Canada and abroad leading community arts and social service projects. Alison holds a diploma in Not-for-profit Management and a degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Western Ontario, where she studied under Omar Daniel and Leslie Kinton. 

Kim Dayman is a community arts leader with 15 years experience in the field. Currently the Program Manager at Lakeshore Arts, she works to bring engagement and innovative arts to her home community of Etobicoke. Previously having worked for organizations such as the award-wining Art Starts, Living Arts Centre and The Boys and Girls Club she has diversified her professional experience working across teaching, programming, administration and management. A life-long learner she is in the process of completing her Non-profit Management Certificate through Ryerson University. Volunteering Dayman sits as the chair of the Program Advisory Committee for the Art Foundations Program at Humber College. Committed to advocacy she has sat on committees with TAPA at Arts Day at the City and will be continuing in 2018 as part of ArtsVote Toronto. As a trained visual artist with her BFA from OCADU Kim had been pursuing her professional arts practice for the past 8 years with the feminist printmakers the inPrint Collective. Currently a participating members as well as Chair of the Board of Directors they have spearheaded community arts projects funded by the TAC, OAC and the Cultural Hot Spot as well as exhibitions at Nuit Blanche, Gladstone Hotel, Living Art Centre, Beaux-Arts Brampton and Graven Feather Gallery. With a strong lens on leadership and the value of peer-to-peer learning she currently works to find intersectional ways to incorporate mentorship in all her projects to support sustainable leadership development in the arts. 

Lauren Gould has worked in a variety of roles within the arts and higher education sectors with a focus on promoting public engagement, implementing organizational improvements, and working in collaboration with a range of partners.  She began her career at Concordia University and Centennial Academy managing a variety of fundraising and engagement programs.  Lauren managed the education department at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, part of National Museums Liverpool in the UK, for four years successfully increasing participation by 44% and leading on the development its learning centre. From 2010-2013, Lauren was General Manager for The School of Toronto Dance Theatre where she developed the organization’s first strategic plan, established the Toronto Dance Foundation as the parent organization for the Winchester Street Theatre, and raised $500,000 for necessary capital improvements to the heritage building in collaboration with Toronto Dance Theatre.  Lauren joined the Gardiner Museum in 2013 as their Audience Development Manager before being promoted to Senior Manager of Development and Programs in early 2014. In 2016 Lauren coordinated the Gardiner’s first Community Arts Space, which used the Museum's exhibition hall for community-engaged arts programming. In January 2017 Lauren was promoted to Chief Operating Officer as well as serving as Treasurer. She completed her BA at Concordia University in Creative Writing, Art History, and Studio Art and her MA in Cultural Leadership at Liverpool John Moores University. 

Alex Iorgu is an internationally, rigorously trained multi-media artist with an eclectic artistic background. While her private studio practice is extremely important, her belief in the power of making and creating is often executed in the context of community where she has received multiple grants to support projects across many diverse neighbourhoods.

She has received an award of excellence for her illustrations, had her work published in national magazines and created posters to honour Black History Month, which were unveiled by Toronto’s mayor at City Hall. She has worked on a documentary film screened at Hot Docs, made bronze sculptures, illustrated a book about the environment titled Back to Nature, and co-founded BPC Art School.

After completing her undergraduate degree at OCAD U, she earned her Bachelor of Education and has taught at schools in the GTA including the Bishop Strachan School. She is currently a member of the teaching staff at Bayview Glen Independent School where her energy and enthusiasm was rewarded with the creation of a position as the school’s travelling artist, moving from class to class, enhancing students’ learning experience.

Alex worked with clay and drew before she could read or write. In a world where the benefits of artistic development and creative endeavours are seen as dispensable, Alex is passionate about instilling kids with an appreciation for the value, wonder and joy that comes from engaging in the making of work. Her mission is to provide her students with the tools they need to speak and understand the language of art.  

Lila Karim is the founding Executive Director of North York Arts (NYA), a charitable local arts organization that provides multidisciplinary arts programming and services to eleven city wards in Toronto. Prior to NYA, Lila worked for several non-profit arts organizations including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, ReelWorld Film Festival and The Harold Greenberg Fund. She has 18 years experience in Toronto’s cultural sector as an artistic producer and digital photographer, programmer and administrator. Partnering and developing a community of artists, musicians, curators, has resulted in over 500,000+ audience attendees to events and programs Lila has produced. Engagement with business, funders, and neighbourhood organizations has created opportunities for artists and cultural producers to develop, grow and thrive in areas of the city previously underserved. Lila received her B.A.A. in photographic arts from Ryerson University, her work has been exhibited in Toronto, and she regularly serves on visual arts and film juries.

Originally from Spain, Marta Keller-Hernandez is an arts administrator who moved to Toronto in 2012. She holds Degrees in Tourism and Humanities, a Masters in Social Media Marketing from the University of Alicante (Spain), and became an international student of the Culture and Heritage Site Management program at Centennial College in 2013. In Toronto, Marta has worked with a wide range of arts and culture organizations such as Black Artists’ Networks Dialogue, Latin American Canadian Art Projects and Sur Gallery, Heritage Toronto, and Art Starts. Currently, she is Program Manager at Mural Routes. Marta is the co-founder and Director of Programming of Paralia Newcomer Arts Network, a Toronto-based non-profit that supports and promotes newcomer artists by providing them with the skills and resources needed in order to establish an artistic presence in Canada. She is also the recipient of the Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant from the Toronto Arts Council in the capacity of mentor.   www.martakellerh.com;  www.twitter.com/martakellerh;  www.linkedin.com/in/martakellerh/en

Nidhi Khanna brings fifteen years of experience as a cultural producer in the realms of theatre, event management and podcasting.  A member of the leadership team at Artscape, she joined the organization in 2016 as Managing Director of Daniels Spectrum, a 60,000 square foot community cultural hub in the heart of Regent Park.  In her current role as Director, Artscape Performance and Event Venues and Programs, Nidhi leads the sales, event operations, and special programming teams for Artscape's community hubs. Previous positions include Manager of Mississauga Celebration Square and Supervisor of Theatre Client Services for the City of Mississauga’s Culture Division. Nidhi has worked in community and children’s theatre and a variety of other non-profit organizations in Toronto and her hometown of Montreal. An actor by training, she holds a M.A. in Text and Performance Studies from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business.  As co-host and producer of The Insomnia Project, a podcast with an international following on iTunes and Soundcloud, Nidhi helps insomniacs find restful sleep through light conversation. Nidhi is an avid lover of strong coffee, decadent food, Boston Terriers and the art of good conversation.

Owais Lightwala is a theatre producer, and currently the Managing Director of Why Not Theatre. Over the last 6 years working for Why Not, he has produced sold-out runs of award-winning new works, national and international tours, presentations from around the world, and co-helmed the creation of innovative new producing models like the RISER Project. He advises many arts organizations (including theatre and dance companies, music presenters, film festivals and more) as a strategic consultant, particularly on finding better ways of doing things, changing who’s on stage and in the audience, and anything to do with numbers.  He also dabbles in theatre making as an artist, and is a prolific web and graphic designer. A lifelong learner, he was selected for the Impact Program for Arts Leaders (Stanford Graduate School of Business), has completed the CORe program (Harvard Business School), is a 2018 DiverseCity Fellow (CivicAction), and a graduate of York University’s Theatre program.   

Renata Mohamed is a filmmaker and arts administrator based in Toronto. She is graduate of the Integrated Media program at the Ontario College of Art & Design (now OCADU). Her first short film “Coolie Gyal” has screened at more than 50 international festivals. Renata has worked with numerous arts organizations in Toronto and has served on juries for the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. She has worked at the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) in various roles since 2002, and currently holds the position of Deputy Director. Born in the British Virgin Islands to Indo-Guyanese parents, her work aims to explore the intersectionality of Caribbean, immigrant and queer identities through a documentary and experimental lens.   www.linkedin.com/in/renatamohamed

Christine Pellerin is a fundraiser, arts administrator, and researcher with over 10 years’ experience in the performing arts industry having worked with some of the country’s leading cultural institutions including The Theatre Centre, Soulpepper Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, TIFF, the National Ballet of Canada, and Cirque du Soleil. She is currently the Development Officer, Foundations at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra where she is responsible for the institutional giving and corporate philanthropy portfolios.

A passionate advocate for the non-profit sector, Christine’s research has focused on the power of social finance to catalyze new ways of funding arts initiatives. As a result, her work as an Innovation Fellow with the Metcalf Foundation has resulted in the recently released, co-authored report entitled More than Money: How social finance can build resilience in the arts sector.  In 2016, she was invited to participate in the Banff Centre’s Getting to Maybe: A Social Innovation Residency program to further her understanding of systems-thinking as it relates to her research on social finance and the arts.

A lifelong learner, Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Theatre from York University, a post-graduate certificate in Arts Administration from Humber College, and is a first-cohort graduate of Carleton University’s Masters of Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership program. She is proud to serve as a board member for Cahoots Theatre and the CANVAS Foundation. 

Evelyn Tauben is a curator, producer and writer based in Toronto and originally from Montreal. She is a recognized expert in contemporary Jewish art and culture with over 15 years of experience in museums, galleries and arts organizations including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Renwick Gallery, the National Museum of American History, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Koffler Centre of the Arts. Tauben’s range of curatorial experience includes developing exhibitions for non-traditional and multi-use spaces. Most recently, she launched the artist-run window gallery, FENTSTER, which features site-specific installations connected to the Jewish experience, extending her deep interest in democratizing art and animating the urban landscape with contemporary art. In addition to producing exhibitions, theatre, world-music concerts, literary events and cultural conversations featuring Canadian artists and internationally acclaimed luminaries, Tauben has curated content for festivals and has presented at conferences in Poland, New York, Montreal, Indianapolis, Toronto, and England. She is devoted to catalyzing nuanced conversations through art on the vital issues of our day. Tauben’s writing has been published in the award-winning book Graphic Details (McFarland, 2014), The Forward, and The Canadian Jewish News where she wrote a regular arts column. In 2015, she completed a writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts. In the summer of 2012, Tauben participated in the Handshouse Studio Synagogue Recreation Project in South-Eastern Poland. She is featured in the celebrated full-length documentary film about that project, Raise the Roof (Trillium Studios), which premiered in Warsaw in October 2014.  

Sagan Yee is the executive director of the Hand Eye Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring videogames as an art form and means of creative expression. She first became involved with HES in 2011 through a TIFF.nexus program called the Difference Engine Initiative, a 6-week game-making workshop for women. She went on to spearhead the Game Curious program, which brought the art of play to public libraries and under-served neighbourhoods around the GTA through an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. She has spoken about inclusivity, community-building and game-making in Toronto, Montreal, Austin, San Francisco, New York, Detroit and Johannesburg, while continuing to oversee initiatives promoting digital media outreach and literacy. She believes game creators deserve more non-commercial infrastructure to create, showcase, and make a living from their work, and seeks to find new ways of engaging with the system to accommodate emerging disciplines and perspectives. Her personal practice includes classical animation, experimental screen-based digital games, and alternative controller collaborations.   
Hand Eye Society;   @handeyesociety