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. 

SAVE THE DATE: The Gathering is May 19-21 via Zoom


Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts
Festival & Conference Spring 2021

 May 19 – 21, 2021 via Zoom

The Gathering has been rebranded as a multi-arts festival and conference. CPAMO launches Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival and Conference (SPRING 2021). A festival / conference focusing on varying topics within the Arts sector grounded in the transformative change embedded in the potential opportunities that arrive from thinking about the Arts in a pluralist framework amplified through a cross-sectoral understanding of Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity. Through panels, workshops, exhibitions and showcases encouraging divergence across arts practices, collaboration and professional development shaped within the sensibilities of art making and networking of IBPOC artists and organizations. 
The Gathering Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference |  What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategie 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.  
The launch of the publication  Living in the Skin, I am In: Experiential Learnings, Approaches and Considerations towards Anti-Black Racism in the Arts, continues the conversation on anti-black racism in the arts, it’s impact on black artist’s use of digital technology and the implications one’s artistic / organizational practices. The featuring articles previously published or written along with articles from invited contributors working in all performing arts disciplines including visual arts,  digital / media arts and arts administration. Offering resources, toolkits and an annotated bibliography readers will find value in the international, national and local scope of its contents.  

Stay tuned for the full schedule and registration in the upcoming weeks! 

Call for Submission: The Gathering Spring 2021

Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts
Festival & Conference Spring 2021

Call for Submissions

Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference Spring has been a powerful, positive and supportive convening of arts practitioners geared towards sharing strategies in the engagement of indigenous, racialized, deaf, disabled and mad, women and other historically – marginalized artists and communities. This year, Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference Spring 2021 | What Have We Learnt: Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies towards Anti Black Racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity and Digital Support in the Arts will explore frameworks for understanding the potential of working with digital technologies in IBPOC arts practices.

Held over three days, the festival and conference will feature panel discussions, showcase performances, workshops and networking opportunities for arts organizations, artists and arts sector professionals asking the same questions about anti-black racism in the arts, digital technology, its intersections with one’s artistic / organizational practices all grounded within the EDIP (Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity towards Pluralism). The sessions will be aimed at investigating systemic challenges, providing professional development while building organizational and artistic capacity. We aspire to enlivening the many ways in which the arts will support cultural impact, civic engagement and deeper understanding of emerging digital frameworks.

What is the overall concept? 
Gathering  Divergence Multi – Arts Festival and Conference offers an interactive space where arts organizations, artists and attendees dedicated to advancing performance, advocacy and pluralism in the arts can share, dialogue on common interests, purposes and strategies towards a better more equitable and inclusive arts sector.
Why are we doing it?
We believe systemic change is more effectively achieved through collective, creative action, and seek to create, support and learn through open-source resources, toolkits and strategies to understand how we are influenced, relate to anti-black racism and digital technology in and out of our artistic practices and administrations.
What we hope to achieve?
We hope that everyone arrives at a better understanding of the many ways in which we support, create from and within the Arts sector as indigenous / ethno-racially identified artists with a pluralist lens.

Deadline: March 31st, 2021
When and where is the festival and conference?
May 19-21, 2021 via Zoom  
What we offer:
Opportunity to display/showcase your work to a wide range of artists/ audience, publicity, copy of the performance. (No more than 15 minutes in length)

Compensation Range:

  • Dance / Theatre  / Music Honorariums $400 – $600 
  • Literary Readings up to $200
  • Visual Artists will be based on CARFAC Standards 

Required for consideration:
– Brief explanation of how your proposed work relates to ONE OR BOTH of the Conference’s Themes:   

  • IBPOC Experiences Approaches, Lessons and Future Strategies 
  • Workshops specific to the needs of the IBPOC Artists / Arts  Organizations and the Festival / Conference’s theme
  • Digital Applications, Support and Thinking 

– Works where contributors / artists or those self identify as IBPOC
– Works created by Black / IPOC artists and Organizations
– Artist / Organization Website URL, Social Media Info, Biography (150 words)
– Headshot / Company Image 300 dpi
– Links to previous work(s) or work proposed.
Visual Arts submissions MUST include:

  • Set up requirements 
  • Estimated time for set up and striking of work
  • Whether assistance is needed or included

Selection Process: 

Administered by a Selection Committee (CPAMO Board member(s), Program Manager, Executive Director, and Pluralism in Organizational Change (CPAMOPOC) members. The committee will consider the following:

  1. Artistic Merit and with overall connection to CPAMO’s mandate and objectives
  2. The Focus on the Gathering’s themes 
  3. Viability (overall programming cost, # of artists proposed, range / breath / depth of the submission)

What should I put in the submission subject line?

“Submission: The Gathering Divergence Festival Spring 2021″
Please make sure to also include a link to your folder with the required support material. 

An important notice: CPAMO operates in a Cloud-based platform. Documents MUST be submitted via (Google Drive, Box, One Drive, Dropbox etc.)
Where to send your submission? 

Successful applicants will be notified Friday, April 23rd, 2021