SESSION: Organizational Development and Pivoting for the Emerging Arts Sector is on May 10

Registration is open! May 10-13, 2022. Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference Spring 2022. Behind the text images of a workshop and a person speaking with images projected on the screen behind him.

Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference 
Moulding The Future:
Rethinking Strategies for the Arts Sector Now

May 10 – May 13, 2022 
Via Zoom and Small World Music Centre (Toronto) 

This year, Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference Spring 2022 | Moulding The Future: Rethinking Strategies for the Arts Sector Now will address emergent ways of rethinking the sector as we emerge out of the pandemic, focusing on the responsibility of the sector to strategize, implement supportive systems that benefit IBPOC artists / organizations and the Arts Sector at large. 
Organizational Development and Pivoting
Tuesday, May at 10am 

Panelists: Christina Loewen, Jacoba Knaapen, Sehar Bhojani and Jennifer Brown 

Moderator: Parul Pandya

There is no doubt that the racial reckoning is re-centring our focus on the need for understanding the need for social justice. Covid 19 has impacted the Arts sector and in turn the organizations within the creative economy. In acknowledging, strategizing and implementing equitable change systems, Arts organizations are being prompted to focus on resources geared towards organizational development, sustainability with a particular focus on how the pandemic  forced organizations to “pivot” into the next generation of the arts across Canada and the world.              


a headshot photo of a woman in a black shirt Sehar Bhojani is an actor and producer based in Hamilton. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s acting program. As an actor, she has appeared in various commercials, television shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu) and Coroner (CBC), and films Punchline (short) and feature film SLAXX..  As a producer, Sehar has worked with a number of Canadian Theatre companies and is currently Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Direct.

a headshot photo of a woman with glasses Christina Loewen  (she/her), Executive Director, Association for Opera in Canada
With a 20+ year career encompassing senior roles in ballet, dance and opera, Christina has led Association for Opera in Canada as Executive Director since 2009 with a focus on helping the sector build resilience, navigate change, and be a positive force for civic good.  Most recently, she led the development of a unique Opera Civic Impact Framework and digital platform to collect and report on impact. The platform collects arts impacts, tracks recovery statistics, and measures resilience. Christina sits on this Governance Group for the Common Approach, a flexible standard for impact measurement in the social sector in Canada.

a photo of a woman sitting in a chair Jennifer Brown, Chief Executive Officer
With more than two decades of strategic experience in rights management, licensing, advocacy and support for music creators and publishers, Jennifer started her career with SOCAN in 1995 as a representative in the company’s Membership department. She has held progressive leadership positions, including Vice President of SOCAN’s Licensing department, before taking on the role of Senior Vice President of Operations & Reproduction Rights in 2018. Jennifer’s accomplishments include establishing SOCAN Reproduction Rights presence, guiding the company’s Licensing department to record-setting results, establishing SOCAN’s cost-effective and strategic re-structuring, and the introduction of new and innovative customer-facing tools, all of which have resulted in improved licensing collection efforts and increased royalties distributed to SOCAN’s songwriter, composer, and music publisher members. SOCAN’s Board of Directors appointed Jennifer Brown to Chief Executive Officer in June 2021, after she held the Interim CEO role for  a year, becoming the first woman to lead the organization.

a woman wearing a dress standing with her arms crossed Jacoba Knaapen is the Executive Director at the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), an arts service organization that represents 107 professional theatre, dance and opera companies in Toronto. As a champion for the performing arts, Jacoba has worked in Toronto’s cultural sector for over four decades. She is the founder of hipTIX  and the citySPECIAL, two popular TAPA programs that help to reach youth, new Canadians and marginalized communities. At TAPA she is also the long-time Producer of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Canada’s largest and oldest theatre award show and recently led the DORAS to become the first professional theatre award show in Canada to present gender-neutral awards. 
Deeply committed to the ongoing development of Canadian theatre, dance and opera since she became the Executive Director at TAPA in 2003 and has mobilized, advocated for, enpowered, and supported artsworkers and companies throughout Toronto and Ontario.  She serves as co-Chair of ArtsVote Toronto, and co-Chair of Arts & Culture Advisory Council for Destination Toronto. She sits on the Advocacy Advisory at the Toronto Arts Council, and sits on the Steering Committees for: Canadian Arts Coalition, Balancing Act, and ArtsBuild Ontario. She is an active member of the committee of Provincial Arts Service Organizations (PASO), and also teaches Arts Marketing at the Arts Administration – Cultural Management Program, Humber College. 

Jacoba has been recognized with the city of Toronto Margo Bindhart and Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award presented to an individual who has demonstrated creative cultural leadership in the development of arts and culture in Toronto, a Harold Award for her contribution and mentorship to the Independent Theatre community and a recipient of a Vital People Award from The Toronto Community Foundation.

a photo of a women in a blue shirt with green glasses Parul Pandya has been skillfully working in non-profit in various roles through the past decade, including as a community builder, consultant, programmer and producer. After managing in community granting for the largest government funder in Canada, she seamlessly transferred her knowledge, passion and skills to open her own consulting practice. Community Impact Non-Profit Consulting strategically enables community engagement and equitable innovation. She has had the honour to work with such clients as StreetART Toronto, North York Arts, WorkinCulture and many other local service organizations. Parul is a highly in- demand teacher and facilitator, delivering over 30 trainings around anti- oppression, equity and community-engaged arts education.

Her attraction to advocacy emerged with her work as a Queer South Asian freelance writer/poet, over a decade ago. She strongly believes representation matters and it’s important to share stories. She has a deep passion for ethics and social justice, which she teaches at Centennial College. She feels fulfilled when using community arts as a tool for community engagement and colourful expression.

Her approach to exchange is a high-engagement approach, encouraging participation through self-reflection, empathy, creativity and common understanding. She is also lending her expertise to the Digital ASO, a Canada- wide initiative to foster intentional culture collaboration and co-creation in the digital world, as the National Alliance Equity Manager through 2021.

The full schedule is available here.

Registration:  Tickets: $15 a day or PWYC
Day 1: Tuesday, May 10 via Zoom | 9:30 am – 2:00 pm 
Day 2: Thursday, May 12 via Zoom | 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm 
Day 3: Friday, May 13 in-person and live stream via Zoom | 11:00am-5:30 pm 
Location: Small World Music Centre 
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw St, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
Pleas note we have a limited number of Pay What You Can (PWYC) tickets to enable price accessibility for low income individuals to attend.

Covid protocols: People attending the event in Small World Music Centre need proof of vaccination or negative test within 24 hrs before the event. Masks are recommended in Artscape common areas. No food or drink in common areas and hallway.
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