Performance, Placemaking, & Cultural Policy Workshop

ppcp workshop poster final web size
How are artists contributing to new forms of placemaking in Canada? In what ways has the medium of performance become a key resource for city building and cultural development?

Performance, Placemaking, & Cultural Policy Workshop
Friday October 31, 2014, 9:00a.m. – 4:30p.m. at The Theatre Centre
1115 Queen St. West, Toronto, ON

Through workshop presentations on Performance, Placemaking, & Cultural Policy, artists, policy makers, arts administrators, and community activists from across Canada will discuss how they’re engaging with these questions in a variety of urban contexts.

  • This workshop aims to provide a specifically Canadian point of view on discourses of “creative placemaking,” a field that draws on the power of the arts to shape public spaces, create sustainable communities, and position cities on a larger global stage.

    For some, creative placemaking refers to policy and planning trends that leverage the arts in urban economic development: a vibrant arts and cultural scene, argue planning gurus like Richard Florida, can bring urban prosperity by attracting high-tech and high- growth companies. For others, creative placemaking is about using the arts to promote civic engagement, and to create more sustainable, equitable communities. Aligning itself with the latter definition, a Toronto initiative like Artscape aims to build low-cost studios for artists in areas from which they have been displaced due to rising rent—a kind of placemaking that, ironically, responds to gentrification, one of the effects of Floridian creative placemaking.

    In these overlapping and sometimes competing definitions, placemaking is viewed as performative: place is not a ‘given’ but rather something brought into being through a series of public acts. Functioning like urban planners, artists are increasingly called upon to participate in projects of city building and revitalization.

    During this workshop, performance studies researchers from across the country will partner with artists and civic planners to reflect on creative placemaking trends in Canadian urban contexts.

    Co-sponsored by York U’s Department of Theatre and School of Arts, Media, Performance, and Design, the Performance Studies (Canada) Project, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, The Theatre Centre, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, OCAD University, McGill University, and Cape Breton University

  • Pierre Allard and Annie Roy
    Action Terroriste Socialement Acceptable ATSA
    Site-specific Interventions and State of Emergency

    The artists Annie Roy and Pierre Allard cofounded ATSA in 1997. The pair creates transdisciplinary works and experiences, transforming the public realm, taking the form of interventions, installations, performance art, and realistic stagings, with the aim of building citizen awareness and a critical and political point of view of social, environmental, and cultural causes of vital importance. ATSA marshals artistic quality, a playful, imaginative outlook, impactful media exposure, and key messages backed by sound, thorough research. État d’Urgence, Parc industriel, Attention: Zone Épineuse, Attack, Pigeon’s Club, Se mettre dans l’eau chaude, Tumentia Quisquiliae… are but a few of ATSA’s large corpus of work that touches the collective imagination all over Canada. The film Art in Action by the documentary filmmaker Magnus Isaacson and the monograph When Art Takes Action are great platforms to get to know better the collective as well as their bilingual web site ATSA is particularly proud of being the recipient of the 2013 honourable mention of Mayor’s Democracy prize, 2011 Giverny Capital prize, the 2010 Pratt & Whitney Canada Nature de l’Art prize awarded by the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Citoyen de la Culture 2008 award handed out by Les Arts et la Ville, and of the Artistes pour la Paix 2008 award.

    Franco Boni
    The Theatre Centre
    Building a Live Arts Hub: Or…When Theatre Professionals Become Urban Planners

    Since 2003 Franco Boni has served as General and Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre, leading the company in building its permanent home. Franco is one of the founders and sits on the Steering Committee of Active 18, a local West Queen West community association, instrumental in advocating for good design and retaining the cultural fabric of the West Queen West neighbourhood. He is the inaugural recipient of the Ken McDougall Award for emerging directors, and was awarded the Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award, recognizing his outstanding leadership in the development of arts and culture in the City of Toronto. In 2013, Franco received the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Theatre.

    Ryan Cunningham
    Native Earth Performing Arts
    Weesageechak Begins to Dance: Aboriginal Arts Festivals and Cultural “Value”

    Ryan is a Métis (Plains Cree/Scottish) Actor/Producer/Director from Edmonton, Alberta. He is the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts and the co-founder of Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts where he co-curates and co-produces The RUBABOO Arts Festival. Ryan is a board member of IPAA (Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance) and the CanDANCE Network and co-founding/co-producer of The Agkowe Collective. Selected acting credits include: King Lear, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (National Arts Centre); Yukonstyle (Canadian Stage); Annie Mae’s Movement, Death of a Chief, Dreary & Izzy (Native Earth Performing Arts); Urinetown: The Musical, Vimy (Firehall Arts Centre); Next Year’s Man of Steel (Shadow Theatre). Selected Film & TV: BLACKSTONE, MIXED BLESSINGS, EARTH: FINAL CONTACT, BLUE MURDER, SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL, SIRR PARKER, HIDING, MENTORS, and I THINK I DO.

    Jennifer Green
    Toronto Arts Foundation
    Creative City: Block by Block

    Jennifer Green is the Associate Director of the Toronto Arts Foundation. She specializes in development of not-for-profits, strategic planning, and connecting communities to the arts. She serves on the Board of Directors of Actors Repertory Theatre Company and as a volunteer to the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. In 2013 Jennifer collaborated with Tod Machover and MIT Media Lab to develop ‘A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City’ with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, now being produced by orchestras around the world. In her previous roles Jennifer was the Executive Director of Soundstreams and General Manager of Kaeja d’Dance.

    Iris Häussler
    Independent Artist
    View From Behind the Scenes: Tour Guides in Participatory Performance

    Iris Häussler studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany, and lives in Toronto. She is known for her unsettling, immersive narrative installations that revolve around fictitious histories and characters. Her works are often not labelled as artworks in the first place, but visitors are led through these installations by interacting tour-guides who at the end of their tours give out a note about the true nature of the undergone experience. Häussler has presented her work extensively in solo and group exhibitions. Recent highlights include her solo show He Named Her Amber at the Art Gallery of Ontario (2008-10); He Dreamed Overtime in the 18th Sydney Biennale in Australia (2012); Ellen’s Gift in the group exhibition More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness at SITE, Santa Fe (2012) and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (2013). Please find more information under:

    Dale Jarvis
    Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
    Enacting an Intangible Cultural Heritage Strategy

    Dale Jarvis works as the Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, helping communities to safeguard traditional culture, the only full-time provincially funded folklorist position in Canada. Dale has been working for the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador since 1996, and holds a BSc in Anthropology/Archaeology from Trent University, and a MA in Folklore from Memorial University. He is a past president of the Newfoundland Historic Trust, and has contributed as a board member and volunteer to many local arts and heritage organizations. Newspaper columnist, and author of several books, he is a tireless promoter of local traditions. He regularly teaches workshops on oral history, cultural documentation, folklore project management, and public folklore programming.

    Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard
    The City’s Shadows: BoutiqueARCADE

    Since 2002, as the collective, Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard have pursued a collaborative practice that traverses disciplinary boundaries and political frontiers. They are active locally, nationally, and internationally and their beginnings as a duo emerged from Montreal’s wildly eclectic cabaret scene. Subsequently they have toured and taught across the country, to museums, galleries, theatres, artist-run centres, universities, and festivals and their ongoing collaborations with colleagues abroad at various intersections of performance and politics have brought them into a dialogue with audiences throughout North and South America and in Europe. As an artistic duo they share authorship on all projects and work from a tradition of creative expression that cuts across artistic disciplines. Their practice – which they plan, write, construct, embody, and perform – results in artworks whose forms are determined by their core ideas and central passions and which incorporate unique approaches to video projection, costume, music, sound, spectator participation, and the dynamic use of space.

    Cheryl L’Hirondelle
    Independent Artist

    Cheryl L’Hirondelle is a community-engaged Indigenous (Cree/Métis/German) interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter, and new media curator originally from the land now known as Canada. Her creative practice is an investigation of the junction of a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) in contemporary time space. Her current projects include an album of songs co-written with women in prisons and correctional centres all across this land now known as Canada, an international songwriting/mapping project where she ‘sings land,’ a nomadic performative/collaborative light tipi installation, and various thematically related participatory media-rich experiences to extend the work for web and gallery. Cheryl is a past new media advisor, curator, juror, and award winner for imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2005-2014) and is a member of OCADU’s Indigenous Education Advisory Council.

    Nicole Mion
    Springboard Performance
    Thinking Outside the Box

    Artist and curator Nicole Mion creates for the stage and screen. She is a sought after director and contemporary choreographer specializing in contemporary performance, new media, dance, and installation, and has presented in festivals around the world. As Artistic Director for Springboard Performance, a Calgary-based, non-profit organization devoted to connecting artists, mediums, audiences, the body, and the mind through physical contemporary creation, Mion curates the Fluid Movement Arts Festival in Calgary; Interrarium interdisciplinary creation residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts; and ContainR, a mobile theatre and public art installation.

    Natasha Mytnowych
    Artscape Youngplace
    Creative Placemaking at Artscape

    Natasha Mytnowych is an award-winning arts leader and theatre director. Natasha is currently the Managing Director for Artscape Youngplace, where she is responsible for the programming, property, and administrative management of this new community cultural hub. She has received the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for an Emerging Artist, and the Toronto Arts Council Foundation’s inaugural Mayor’s Arts Award for an Emerging Artist, both in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments and potential as an artistic leader and stage director. Previously, Natasha was at Canadian Stage for over seven years, most recently as Associate Artistic Producer. She has initiated numerous critically- acclaimed theatre and multi-disciplinary projects, and has led many programs in support of the development of artists and youth.

    Joyce Rosario
    PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
    Artist-curators, Placemaking and Cultural Policy in Vancouver

    Joyce Rosario has been active in the performing arts in Vancouver for the past 10 years and joined the team at PuSh in 2013 after three years as Executive Director of New Works, an organization that produces several public performance series and provides management support to artists including Tara Cheyenne Performance, 605 Collective, Out Innerspace, and the response. Joyce curated and produced three editions of PushOFF in collaboration with Kris Nelson at Antonym as well as co-curated several iterations of 12 Minutes Max with Tanya Marquardt. She continues to serve on various boards and committees, including CanDance, Koerner Foundation, and as a member of the Steering Committee of the Canada Council’s Dance Mapping Study. She has been involved in professional development initiatives such as the Emerging Arts Professional Network and CAPACOA’s The Succession Plan. During her tenure at New Works she developed a peer-mentorship program to support individuals both from the artistic and management side of performing arts. From 2007 to 2010, Joyce was Executive Director for Made in BC – Dance on Tour, a regional dance presenter network dedicated to increasing audience reach and touring opportunities for contemporary dance in British Columbia. Previously, she worked with battery opera as company manager and administrator for the Dancing on the Edge Festival. She served a one-year term on the BC Arts Council board in 1998 through a provincial ‘Youth on Boards’ initiative.

    Catherine Sicot
    Elegoa Cultural Productions
    Creating a Social Enterprise for Artistic Production

    A cultural entrepreneur with 15 years of international museum experience, Catherine Sicot is the founder and Artistic Director of Elegoa Cultural Productions. This new agency commissions experimental artworks in territories on the margin, and offers arts-oriented services that contribute to developing creative and socially active communities. Current projects: In Cuba: MAC/SAN 15 (Museo de arte contemporáneo de San Agustin), in partnership with the up-coming 12th Havana Biennial. In Canada: Staging Residence with theater director Serge Sándor, in the Beausoleil First Nation territory of Christian Island and Burbs to Banlieues, with film and documentary makers Julia Varga and Olivier Bosson. In France: Sophie La Rosière, a fiction/site-specific project by Iris Häussler.

    Sharon Stevens
    Media Artist, Activist, Collaborator
    OX: Creating Community and Public Art Ritual through Performance and Placemaking that Build Traditions

    Sharon Stevens, an award-winning media artist and activist, is an instigator who’s made a career of integrating art, activism, feminism, and social justice into a series of projects that enlighten, enliven, and entertain. Stevens’ work demonstrates an unwavering belief in public, participatory art, and takes a beacon-like approach to leading all Calgarians into artistic adventures in collaborative and meaningful art making. Her inter-disciplinary projects in art and social engagement over a 20+ year career include: id Collective, inviting the public to self-identify through photo portraits & button making via an onstreet production id station (2008); OX: A Crash Course on Loving Calgary, a participatory, multi-media, web-based project engaging Calgarians of what they love about their City (2009); Finding the ‘P’ Spot, dressed as tour guides conducting tours & grading public toilets & lack thereof in Calgary’s downtown core (2011); Council of Community Conveyors, civic engagement to map areas of a city by collecting and passing messages from one neighbour to another (2012); Equinox Vigil in Union Cemetery, a free, family-friendly, artist- led event to honour the deceased in creative and meaningful ways (founded 2012, ongoing).

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Coffee and Breakfast Pastries
    9:30 – 9:45 Introduction to Workshop
    Laura Levin and Marlis Schweitzer
    9:45 – 11:00 Session 1 – Site-based Mobilizations
    Annie Roy and Pierre Allard (Action Terroriste Socialement Acceptable ATSA),
    “Site-specific Interventions and State of Emergency”

    Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Independent Artist),

    Sharon Stevens (Media Artist, Activist, Collaborator),
    “OX: Creating Community and Public Art Ritual
    through Performance and Placemaking that Build Traditions”

    11:00 – 11:15 Break
    11:15 – 12:30 Session 2 – Performance Curation: Events, Scalability, Temporality
    Joyce Rosario (PuSh International Performing Arts Festival),
    “Artist-curators, Placemaking, and Cultural policy in Vancouver”

    Ryan Cunningham (Native Earth Performing Arts),
    “Weesageechak Begins to Dance: Aboriginal Arts Festivals and Cultural ‘Value’”

    Catherine Sicot (Elegoa Cultural Productions),
    “Creating a Social Enterprise for Artistic Production”

    12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
    1:30 – 3:00 Session 3 – Cultural Infrastructure and Urban Planning
    Franco Boni (The Theatre Centre),
    “Building a Live Arts Hub:
    Or…When Theatre Professionals Become Urban Planners”

    Nicole Mion (Springboard Performance),
    “Thinking outside the box”

    Natasha Mytnowych (Artscape Youngplace),
    “Creative Placemaking at Artscape”

    Jennifer Green (Toronto Arts Foundation),
    “Creative City: Block by Block”

    3:00 – 3:15 Break
    3:15 – 4:30 Session 4 – Archaeologies of Place: Archive, Heritage, Memory
    Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard (,
    “The City’s Shadows: BoutiqueARCADE

    Iris Häussler (Independent Artist),
    “View From Behind the Scenes: Tour Guides in Participatory Performance”

    Dale Jarvis (Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador),
    “Enacting an Intangible Cultural Heritage Strategy”

    4:30 – 4:40 Wrap-up