Workshop 2: about the speakers

Nick Ashewasega is an Account Manager with a focus on Special Projects for NationTalk.ca, a leading Aboriginal Newswire, Event and Employment listing service operating across Canada. With nearly one million page views per month and a subscription base that includes 600 First Nations; 1000 media contacts (Aboriginal and non-aboriginal); and more than 10,000 personal subscribers including key decision makers from all industries. Nick has used his talents over the years at NationTalk to build relationships and create many partnerships with Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canada. He has advised on partnerships with TD Canada, Marriott Canada, and Noront Resources with NationTalk, amongst others. As well, he has conducted close to 20 interviews with community members, politicians and industry leaders from across Canada such as; National Chief Shawn Atleo, Toronto Mayoral Candidate George Smitherman, award-winning recording artist Crystal Shawanda, and many more. Another endeavour he is collaborating on includes BuyAboriginal.com and TheNativeStore.com, these being platforms for both Aboriginal businesses and product suppliers to connect with the right people.

Sara Roque is a multi-talented Metis filmmaker, writer, arts administrator and activist who has been involved in a number of community-based arts and Aboriginal history projects. Past administrative work includes development coordinator at The Centre for
Indigenous Theatre in Toronto; programmer at Te Waiariki Purea Trust, a Maori arts and cultural organization based in Rotorua, New Zealand; and co-founder of the O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk Collective, which is dedicated to raising the profile of Indigenous artists and training in the Kawarthas region. Roque holds an Honours BA in Indigenous Studies from Trent University. In 2008 she was appointed the Aboriginal Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council. She believes that cultural understanding and sovereignty is fostered through the arts and honors the vision and hard work of the many cultural emancipators before her.

Melanie Fernandez is currently Director of Community and Education Programmes at Harbourfront Centre and Artistic Director of the summer festival season. She is responsible for community cultural development initiatives, the multidisciplinary festival activities, life long learning programmes and volunteer services. During her tenure many new programme initiatives such as the city-wide Planet IndigenUs (an international exploration of contemporary aboriginal arts), Culture Shock: Voices of an Emerging Generation Youth Arts Festival, Learning for Living, Carnivalissima, Masters of World Music, Luminat’eau, What Is Classical?, and many other programmes have been launched. For six years she worked as Community Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council. During this time, Melanie led a comprehensive policy review of community arts in the province that resulted in new definitions, directions and programs. Following this position Melanie was Head of Education at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In addition, she taught a course in community arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design for five years and has written extensively in the areas of cultural diversity and cultural production, aboriginal cultural production and community arts. Melanie has served on numerous Boards and advisory committees including: Cultural Pluralism in the Arts (University of Toronto), Community Arts Ontario, A Space Gallery, Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre, the Canadian Commission of UNESCO, and Canada Council for the Arts Racial Equity Committee, Toronto Arts Council, etc.

Jennifer Green is the General Manager of Soundstreams, an international centre for new directions in music. She serves on the Executive Committee for the Emerging Arts Professional Network and has served on the Dance Committee for the Toronto Arts Council, the Finance Committee for Opera.ca and as a jury member for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards (dance). She was the founding Board President of Fu-Gen Asian Canadian Theatre Company. Jennifer has over 10 years of experience in arts management, including organizational development, strategic planning, financial management, arts marketing, fundraising and tour management. Jennifer has enjoyed working with Kaeja d’Dance, Toronto; Upper Canada Playhouse, Morrisburg; The Regent Theatre, Picton; the Princess Court Theatre, Kingston and the Weave Shed Arts Centre, Cornwall. She holds a B.A in Theatre/English from St. Lawrence University in New York and an M.A. in Theatre from the University of Toronto (with a special interest in the role of volunteer boards in Canadian Theatre and a passion for political theatre).

Andrea Fatona is the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Ontario. She was formerly the Programme Director at Video In, Vancouver, Co-Director of Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, and Artistic Director of Artspace Gallery, Peterborough, Ontario. She is a regular contributing editor to Fuse magazine, Toronto. Fatona holds a master’s degree in Cultural Studies and Critical Pedagogy from the University of Toronto, where she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree. Her areas of specialization are culture, communication and critical education.

Nadia Caidi is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, which she joined in 2000. She holds an MLIS and a Ph.D. from the Department of Information Studies, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She also holds an MST in Communication Studies from the Universite Stendhal Grenoble 3, France. Her primary research interests are information policy and community informatics. She is also involved in cross-cultural and comparative studies, researching the influence of culture on the production, distribution and use of information and its technologies. Recent research has focused on understanding better the ways in which
information fits in the lives of vulnerable communities, specifically newcomers and immigrant groups, and Aboriginal communities in remote and isolated areas of Northern Ontario. She has received numerous grants to examine how groups and individuals seek, use and share information in their everyday lives, and how these information practices in turn enable inclusion, participation and engagement in the broader society. More information about Prof. Caidi’s research is available at: http://www3.fis.utoronto.ca/faculty/caidi/home.html

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