The Gathering Divergence May 20th videos are available for viewing!

The Gathering Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference |  What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies towards Anti Black Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Digital Support in the Arts

The video recordings from The Gathering Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference |  What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies towards Anti Black Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Digital Support in the Arts on May 20, 2021 are now available:

Festival Planning / COVID19 Implications: IBPOC / Equity Seeking Artists / Arts Programming Perspective

Keynote by Mark Campbell

Strategies Towards Achieving Financial Health in the Arts

CPAMO Publication Draft Review

Stay tuned for videos from May 21 in the upcoming weeks!

The Gathering Divergence May 19th videos are available for viewing!

The Gathering Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference |  What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies towards Anti Black Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Digital Support in the Arts

The video recordings from The Gathering Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference |  What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies towards Anti Black Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Digital Support in the Arts on May 19, 2021 are now available:

Land acknowledgement by Aria Evans and keynote by Dori Tunstall

Taking the Reins: Organizations Doing The Work in Developing Policies for Conflict Mitigation / Crisis towards Change.

Mass Culture – State of Emergence: Artists Influencing Equitable Diverse Cultural Policy and Funding

Stay tuned for videos from May 20 and 21 in the upcoming weeks!

Meet our panellists for May 19, 2021!

Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts
Festival & Conference Spring 2021

 May 19 – 21, 2021 via Zoom

The Gathering Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference |  What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies towards Anti Black Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Digital Support in the Arts is envisioned as a space to gather, diverge with diversity and intersect on the many aspects of the performing arts and the  Arts sector. The festival and conference invites participants from across the world and the Canadian arts sector investigating intersections of artistic / organizational practices grounded in EDIP (Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity towards Pluralism) Divergence is a critical manifestation in critical thinking.  We encourage attendees to think together.

Register today on Eventbrite!

The Gathering’s schedule is available:

DAY 1 – May 19, 2021:
Rethinking the  Arts Ecology Through Sectoral Change and Support for IBPOC  Creatives

Key Note by Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall

Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is a design anthropologist, public intellectual, and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture, and design. As Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University, she is the first black and black female dean of a faculty of design. She leads the Cultures-Based Innovation Initiative focused on using old ways of knowing to drive innovation processes that directly benefit communities.

With a global career, Dori served as Associate Professor of Design Anthropology and Associate Dean at Swinburne University in Australia. She wrote the biweekly column Un-Design for The Conversation Australia. In the U.S., she taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She organized the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and served as a director of Design for Democracy. Industry positions included UX strategists for Sapient Corporation and Arc Worldwide. Dori holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University and a BA in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.

Morning Session:

Taking the Reins: Organizations Doing The Work in Developing Policies for Conflict Mitigation / Crisis towards Change. 
This session involves a panel and workshop involving speakers from organizations CPAMO has been working with in their efforts to embed anti-racism, equity and pluralism values and practices. The panel will include representatives from Workman Arts, Luminato, Fall for Dance North, National Ballet of Canada, Socan and others. Responding frantically to a conflict can further complicate the nature of conflicts themselves  sometimes  influencing a  desired  outcome. Often artists and arts organizations arrive in conflict and in many cases it leads to further harm of artists, organization and ultimately the sector. The panel will be followed by breakout workshops featuring CPAMO’s staff engaging participants in exploring the methodologies of working  to bring about comprehensive anti-racism, equity, pluralism changes to arts organizations governance, practices, programming and Human Resources.

– Nathaniel Hanula-James
– Kelly Straughan
– Celia Smith
– Ilter Ibrahimof
– Barry Hughson


Nathaniel Hanula-James (he/him) is a queer, mixed-race, settler artist. He holds a B.A. in drama studies from McGill University, and graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada’s acting program. Recent performance credits include The First Day Project (Talk is Free Theatre), Tiny Treasures (Manitoba Theatre for Young People), and A (Musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood Theatre). Nathaniel is also a creator and a producer. His object theatre piece Untitled Flamingo Play was featured as part of the Centaur Theatre’s 2019 Queer Reading Series and has received support for further development. He has studied podcasting with Fixt Point Arts and Media, producing at the Paprika Festival, and arts administration at Humber College. The program at Humber led him to participate in Mass Culture’s Woven Histories project with some amazing collaborators. He is so excited that their findings will be presented at CPAMO’s ‘Gathering Divergence’.

Kelly Straughan is currently the Executive Artistic Director of Workman Arts- a multidisciplinary arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through creation and presentation. She is also the Vice President of the board for the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). Kelly is the former Executive Director of the Toronto Fringe Festival and President of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals. She previously held the position of Associate Artistic Director at Nightwood Theatre and was the Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre for three seasons.  She holds a Masters in Theatre Directing from the University of British Columbia.

Celia Smith is the CEO of Luminato Festival Toronto. She is a strategic leader in the Toronto arts and  culture community with proven expertise in directing significant organizational growth, social enterprise  and charitable expansion, and executive management of complex, multi-stakeholder environments. Her  entire career has been in the arts & culture sector, leading significant non-profit organizations, or in the  private sector creating social enterprises.

Ms. Smith has more than two decades in leadership roles across the Toronto arts and culture sector,  including President of Artscape, General Manager of The Canadian Stage Company and interim roles at  the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony and Opera Atelier. She is a past Board Member for  Luminato, past Board Chair for TAPA (Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts) and Work in Culture, and  currently sits on the board of Toronto Arts Council and Musical Stage Company. Recently, she co founded LEAN (Leadership Emergency Arts Network) – a grassroots pro bono response network to help  Canadian professional non-profit arts organizations deal with the COVID-19 crisis

Ilter Ibrahimof is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Fall for Dance North, Toronto’s Premier International Dance Festival.  Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Ilter moved to North America in 1998, first to attend Emerson College in Boston and then living and working in New York City and Montréal before settling in Toronto. Ilter’s own dance touring agency Sunny Artist Management was active from 2004-2020, representing dance companies & artists of the highest caliber from around the world. As a creative mind in the dance field, Ilter is regularly invited to participate in various festivals and conferences in Canada and around the globe as a curator and speaker. In 2020, Dance Collection Danse Hall of Fame awarded Ilter the Sandra Faire Next Generation Award. He lives with his partner Lucas and their two puppies Ginny and Myku.

Barry Hughson joined The National Ballet of Canada as Executive Director in 2014, partnering with Karen Kain to accelerate the company’s trajectory of artistic growth, fiscal responsibility, community engagement and international acclaim.

In 1988, Mr. Hughson began his professional career as a dancer with The Washington Ballet, performing at the Kennedy Center and internationally. After retiring as a performer, he served as Executive Director at a variety of arts institutions in the US, including The Warner Theatre, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Boston Ballet.

Mr. Hughson is deeply engaged with the international arts community and is sought-after as a speaker at industry events around the world. For nine years, he served on the board of Dance/USA, North America’s largest service organization for professional dance. In partnership with Dance/USA and The Royal Ballet, Mr. Hughson spearheaded the first meeting of North American and European executive dance leadership in 2015.

In Canada, Mr. Hughson serves as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Dance Assembly and as a member of the Coordinating Committee for Respectful Workplaces in the Arts, where he chaired the working group responsible for the development of a nationwide Code of Conduct for the Live Performing Arts.

Afternoon Session:

Mass Culture – State of Emergence: Artists Influencing Equitable and Diverse Cultural Policy and Funding Models for a Sustainably Diverse Arts Sector
What does it mean to transform the arts ecology for Canada’s diverse future? Could IBPOC artists  be at the centre of reflexive program guidelines leading to funding models that are specific to their needs?
There are  many things involved in thinking about sustainability of an artist or arts organization.
CPAMO is pleased to partner with Mass Culture as we engage in a conversation with artists, arts workers and the sector to unpack what can be involved in the transformation of the Arts sector. The first in a series of discussion  and exploratory interactive instigating into the potential of a sustainable diverse arts ecology  that equitably supports  IBPOC creatives.

– Cynthia Lickers-Sage
– Shannon Litzenberger
– Renata Soutter
– Kevin A. Ormsby


Cynthia Lickers-Sage is a Mohawk, Turtle Clan visual artist from Six Nations and is currently the Executive Director of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance. Following her graduation at the Ontario College of Art and Design she Co-Founded The Centre for Aboriginal Media, imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival and is the sole proprietor of Clickers Productions. She has spent the last 25 years working in the not-for-profit arts sector as the former General Manager of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Executive Director at the Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts and Executive Director of imagineNATIVE. She has worked within the governmental sector at the Ontario Arts Council (Acting Aboriginal Arts Officer and Community and Multidisciplinary Arts Officer) and the Canada Council for the Arts (Flying Eagle Coordinator) and OP (Fresh Start Officer).

Cynthia serves on the board of directors for CAPACOA and Ontario Presents and has served on a variety of volunteer boards and arts service organizations, including Dance Ontario, Aboriginal Education Council at OCAD, Planet IndigenUS Advisory Committee, Cultural Human Resources Council of Canada, National Aboriginal Network for Arts Administration, Kakawekwewin (Aboriginal advisory committee to the Canada Council for the Arts), Toronto Arts Council, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, 2013/2014 Dora Mavor Moore Dance jury member, Cultural Careers Council of Ontario and is the proud recipient of the Toronto Aboriginal Business Association’s – Aboriginal Business Women and the Year award.

Shannon Litzenberger (she/her) is an award-winning dance artist, embodiment facilitator and experienced cultural leader working at the intersection of art, ideas and transformational change.

As a dancer and performance maker, her work explores our relationship to land, the politics of belonging, and the forgotten wisdom of the body. She has been an invited resident artist at Soulpepper Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Atlantic Ballet Theatre, Banff Centre, and the Gros Morne Summer Music Festival. She collaborates frequently with the Dark by Five Inter-arts ensemble and the wind in the leaves collective.

As a skilled freelance strategist, programmer, leadership developer, policy thinker and embodiment facilitator, she works with leading organizations in the arts, academia and the corporate sector. She is currently a faculty member at Banff Centre’s Cultural Leadership Program; a Program Associate with CPAMO; a guest facilitator at the Ivey Business School; a Trudeau Foundation Mentor; and a Chalmers Fellow, exploring the relationship between embodiment, leadership and social change.

Renata Soutter. A co-founder, co-director, choreographer and teacher at Propeller Dance, Renata has dedicated her professional career to socially-engaged dance innovation through creation, performance and education. Renata co-developed (with Shara Weaver and company dancers) a methodology of collaborative creation that focuses on the unique aesthetics of artists with disability and the primacy of self-expression. Her influences include the natural world, and a strong belief in the power and beauty of diverse cultural expression. She is a Diamond Jubilee recipient (2012) and Finalist for Ottawa Arts Council mid-career Artist award. Her creations Living the Desirable Life and Flesh and Spokes have been presented by DanceWorks, GCTC, National Arts Centre and other works have been self-presented in parks, schools gyms, community centres and youth centres.

Kevin A. Ormsby
Program Manager of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), Kevin is also the Artistic Director of KasheDance, movement coach and Arts Marketing Consultant. The Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Fellowship recipient (2017), KM Hunter Dance Award Nominee (2016), Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow (2015) and The Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch – Staunton Award 2014 recipient for outstanding achievement by a mid career artist, he has many interests in the creative practice and administration in dance. He has honed his passion for dance, advocacy, writing and education while performing with various companies and projects in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States.

Register today on Eventbrite!

Accessibility: all sessions will be via Zoom. We will have live transcribed available for all panels (except the breakrooms section). ASL will be provided for the Digital Session on May 21. Please let us know if you have any questions or accessibility needs.

The Gathering Divergence is in partnership with CanAsian Dance Festival, Mass Culture and ArtofFestivals.