Focus Groups: Anti-black Racism in the Arts

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 (2-4pm)
Thursday, January 23, 2020 

Regent Park Community Centre
402 Shuter St, Toronto, ON M5A 1X6

CPAMO is convening these focus groups in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit (CABR) and the Nia Centre for the Arts.  The purpose of these focus groups is to explore the situation of Black artists and arts organizations in the City of Toronto.  This exploration will open up discussion on:

1. The scope and contributions of Black arts activities in Toronto
2. The challenges, obstacles, barriers Black artists/arts organizations face in Toronto
3. The current capacities and needs of Black artists/arts organizations
4. Strategies and actions needed to address anti-Black racism in the arts and to build a healthy Black arts communities in Toronto

As we’re aware, there are several challenges to Black arts practices in Toronto some of which may relate to funding inequities, lack of appreciation for Black arts practices and their inherent diversity, the homogenization of such artists/arts organizations within the ‘racialized’ groups category, and the ongoing societal challenges of Black presence in North American urban centres.

To address these and other related issues, CPAMO, CABR and the Nia Centre are working in partnership to prepare a discussion paper that will form the basis for the 2020 Toronto Mayor’s Roundtable on Anti-Black Racism which we aim to convene in early May 2020. Your participation in this focus group will be critical to shaping the issues addressed in this discussion paper and will presented along with preliminary research on Black artists/arts organizations in the U.S. and U.K. The discussion paper will also include recommendations on ways to move forward to address these issues.

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CPAMO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and English Testing Canada.

Digital Arts Strategy: Survey and New Dates for Consultations

Digital Arts Strategy for IBPOC Artists and Arts Organizations

Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) is working on the development of the Digital Arts Strategy for IBPOC Artists and Arts Organizations. CPAMO will engage in research specific to the Indigenous, Black, People of Colour (IBPOC) arts community focusing on digital literacy and readiness. This is the first step to CPAMO’s ultimate goal to develop a digital platform complementing administrative support systems with audience engagement, data sharing, collaborative projects and creation opportunities via digital platforms specific for the needs of IBPOC Arts.

The Research phase of this project will identify and share evidence-based practices relevant to the artists/arts organizations, particularly focusing on how IBPOC arts organizations using digital technology, the development, scope and results of such uses.


This survey is part of the Research phase and will only take them 15-20 minutes to complete. Data will be included in our report and other material/publications, personal information will not be disclosed. You will also have a chance to enter into a draw to win a pair of tickets for The Gathering in 2020.  Please feel free to share the survey with your friends and colleagues.

Extended deadline is January 10, 2020:

New Consultation Dates: 

The consultations for Winter 2020 are rescheduled with new dates as follows:
Thursday, February 13, 2020 | 1pm – 5pm
Thursday, February 20, 2020 | 1pm – 5pm

ASL will be provided for the focus group on February 20, 2020. If you require ASL, you must register by February 13 to ensure the service is available.

Location: CSI Regent Park
585 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7

Participation in these sessions are free and refreshments will be provided. Due to limited space RSVP online

If you have any questions please contact: Kevin A. Ormsby, Program Manager,

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CPAMO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and English Testing Canada.

The Gathering: meet our performing artists!

The Gathering 
IBPOC Women and the Arts:
Thinking and exploring the ways towards increased inclusion in the Arts Sector 

Opening Reception for Art Exhibition
Opening: December 4, 2019 | 6pm-8pm
Exhibition: December 2 – December 8, 2019
918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education
918 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5R 3G5

Panels and Performances
December 5, 2019 | 9:30am – 5pm 
Tranzac Club
292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2

The Gathering Fall 2019 IBPOC Women and the Arts will explore frameworks for understanding the potential of working toward with the further inclusion of IBPOC women in the Arts sector. Held over a day, the convening will feature showcase performances, plenary sessions and networking with artists and organizations asking the same questions about IBPOC visibility, inclusion and their intersections with artistic/organizational practices. Aimed at providing professional development, building organizational and artistic capacity, we aspire to enliven the many ways in which IBPOC women in positions of leadership can speak to many perspectives in the arts, and how these intersect with and provide public impact.

This convening features showcase performance by South Asian dance artist Mushtari Afroz and a music performance by an Indigenous musician Cheri Maracle. Black poet Andrea Thompson and Asian writer, Vicki Zhang will offer literary writings and poetry, while an exhibition of visual artists from Asian to Indigenous backgrounds exhibit their work for a week at Bathurst 918, one of the Pluralism for Organization Change (CPAMOPOC) participating organizations. Emily Jung, Vero Diaz, Diane Montreuil and Florence Yee work come from a diverse set of practices rooted in their identity as women IBPOC artists.

Performers Bios: 

Mushtari Afroz was introduced to Bengali folk dance at a young age in Bangladesh as part of her school’s extracurricular activities. She started her training in North Indian Classical dance form ‘Kathak’ after immigrating to Canada in 2000. She has been advancing her training in Lucknow gharana of Kathak with Ms. Saveeta Sharma and in Jaipur gharana of Kathak with Mr. Hemant Panwar. In 2016 Mushtari along with two Kathak dancers founded Kathak Bandi Dance Collective that aims to celebrate human stories and experience through classical, contemporary and experimental work rooted in the vocabulary of Kathak and its innovations. Since its inception the collective has created original work inspired by visual art, poetry and contemporary events that speak to the ‘Now’. ‘Silence Is..’ ‘Resist/Co-exist’, ‘Sunset in Fall’ ‘Emerged’, ‘Past & Present’, ‘The Broken Dream of a Stream’, and ‘Bold Expressions’ are some of Kathak Bandi’s recent creations.

Cheri Maracle is a multi-award nominated singer and actress of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She and piano player Brendan Peltier of the Wikwemikong Unceded Territory have been performing together for over 15 years as a jazz duo and also with the Cheri Maracle Jazz Quartet. Together they’ve travelled all over Turtle Island performing jazz originals and standards to high acclaim. Maracle’s sultry, dramatic style of jazz has got them invited to festivals and awards shows from coast to coast and as far as India to perform in New Dehli. Maracle’s three albums can be found on iTunes.

Andrea Thompson has been publishing and performing her work for over twenty-five years. In 1995 she was featured in the documentary, Slamnationand in 2005 her spoken word CD, One,was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. She was the 2009 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word’s Poet of Honour, was host of the television series, Heart of a Poet, and is author of the novel Over Our Heads. Thompson has written numerous critical essays on spoken word and is currently teaching through the University of Toronto’s continuing studies. In 2019, she released her CD, Soulorationsand later that year won the League of Canadian Poets’ Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award for Excellence.

Vicki Zhang’s ten-minute play The Male Root won the 8th InspiraTO Festival’s juried playwriting competition. Her play Oracle Jane was selected for production at Toronto Alumnae Theatre’s 30th New Ideas Festival and received a public staged reading at Winnipeg’s 16th FemFest. Her play How I Became a Tramp is a runner-up of 2019 Hamilton Fringe Festival New Play Contest, and one of the winners of the 2019 Toronto Ergo Pink Fest. Her plays have also received staged readings at InspiraTO festival, Festival of Original Theatre (FOOT), Asper Center for Theatre and Film, and University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama. She is the author of Uncalculated Risks (Canadian Scholar’s Press, 2014), which was nominated for a Myrdal Prize. She has also written essays and short fiction about the Chinese diaspora for Rookie Magazine and Theread.

RSVP online:
Tickets: General Admission $20 | Students/Seniors/Under-employed $15 .
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