Welcome new users! Introduce yourself here!


(Liz Forsberg) #1

It’s official, today is the public launch of the Knowledge Centre! We’re very excited to welcome you to a space for sharing, learning and discussing topics that are important to you and the work you are doing to make Ontario a vibrant and inclusive place for us all to live.

There is so much incredible work happening in the arts, culture and heritage sectors in Ontario. Please take a moment to INTRODUCE YOURSELF! Let us know about the work you are doing, what is of interest to you and how could this online “community of practice” help you in your work.

A little bit about me…I’ve been working with OTF for the past 18 months and I’ve been learning a lot about the vibrant arts, culture and heritage communities across the province. I’ve been involved in arts and cultural communities since I was a teenager where I found an incredibly supportive and collaborative independent music community in my hometown of Guelph. These early experiences really shaped my understanding of the importance of inclusive cultural communities and the impact of the arts in peoples’ lives, either as a creator or an audience member. As an adult I’ve spent many years working as an artist, artistic director and executive director in the world of community-engaged arts practice in Toronto. As a parent of 3 school-aged kids, I see the importance the arts, in particular access to high quality arts programming in their public school, has had on their lives.

I’m very excited to bring this experience to the knowledge mobilization work I do now in my role at OTF. I see the Knowledge Centre as an important place where I can learn from practitioners and organizations (YOU!) working across the province to enrich people’s lives through arts, culture and heritage. And a place where I can share what we are learning about this work at the foundation from our stakeholders.

Now how about about you? Please feel free to introduce yourself via the comment thread below. I look forward to meeting you online!

(Joan) #3

My name is Joan Sax.I volunteer in York Region. For the past, 35 years, I have been involved in community arts as a board member, administrator, fundraiser and volunteer performer. I am a co-founder of Opera York, a regional professional opera and the Richmond Hill Concert Band. I am on the executive of the Thornhill Community Band and play flute in a local woodwind quintet. I have been a PTA President at Steelesview Elementary School in Toronto and partnering with the school, began a before, after-school and lunchtime program. Working together with the YRCDSB, Opera York was able to help build the York Region Catholic School Board Centre for the Arts with a Cultural Spaces Grant for a theatre for the community. My background is as a research, medical technologist and medical librarian at Best Institute Library, U. of T.

I believe that through the arts we connect to people. I believe in participation in the arts to create a well rounded, mentally healthy individual. As a social tool, community music allows for a friendly connective process which has the capacity integrates people into the mainstream community. The end result is a greater understanding of the democratic process and more volunteer involvement for service to the community.

Opera York, the Thornhill Community Band and the Richmond Hill Concert Band are all involved with making friends and building partnerships within the community to partner and open up cultural silos and in some cases help groups become more mainstream.

I would like to learn about the work (projects) of other groups who are interested in opening up cultural silos.

The Ontario Trillium has been very important through their investment and advice in the development of Opera York and the formation of the Richmond Hill Concert Band (the Thornhill Community Band received a grant to start the Richmond Hill Concert Band.) I appreciate the work of the OTF and recognize how lucky I am to be living in Ontario with an organization such as the Ontario Trillium Foundation. I look forward to learning more about the Knowledge Centre and how it can help facilitate our organizations’ service to the community.
Joan Sax

(Liz Forsberg) #4

Hi @jsax,

Welcome to the Knowledge Centre and thanks for sharing a bit about yourself and the great work you’re doing in York Region! It is my hope too that this forum will help to open up some of the cultural silos you mention in your introduction. Looking forward to continuing the conversation,


(Sandy Irvin) #5

Hello there! I met Liz at SPARC (Supporting Performing Arts in Rural and Remote Communities), where rural presenters, performers, and creators get to meet.

I came to SPARC as a community-based presenter, but I also learned that I am a community and cultural animateur. I am the artistic director for Folkus Concert Series, based in Almonte, just West of Ottawa.

I suspect that I’m not the only person on this forum who wears lots of hats in their community – in my case, I am a foundation board member, a Puppet Festival board member, a contributor to the local cultural paper, and a past artistic director for a children’s performance series. I get involved in other community activities, too! I have coached soccer and cross-country skiing, and have helped put on our annual bicycle month festival. I also sit on a cultural advisory committee.

I am interested in learning about best practices, measurement, and better ways to help my community.

(Liz Forsberg) #6

Welcome to the Knowledge Centre, Sandy, and thank you for sharing about the great work you are doing in Almonte! Have you checked out my colleague Stacy’s Measurement Hub? You’ll find some great discussion there around measurement. And in the next couple of months I’ll be uploading some webinars on measuring the impact of the arts on the Inspired People Hub.

Looking forward to our discussions!

(Jean Assamoa) #7

Hi There.
I’m Jean Assamoa, Canadian but originally from Abidjan (Ivory Coast of west Africa). I have been teaching, presenting, performing, conducting workshops and master classes in Europe, USA (New York City) and Canada for over 20 years. I’m also currently Consultant Teacher (Guest Instructor) at TDSB. So I’m very glad to join Knowledge Centre in order to share my experiences and my expertise regarding my artistic and cultural activities that I always do. For me, this is a platform for cultural exchange, learning, educating and sharing. Finally, I’m the Founder and Artistic Director of Akwaba Cultural Exchange (a Non-Profit cultural organization).

(Liz Forsberg) #8

Welcome to the Knowledge Centre Jean! Thanks for telling us about your own practice and your organization. Looking forward to continued conversations.

(Jean Assamoa) #9

Hi Liz.
It’s a big pleasure for me to join this group, and that i will do my best to stay in touch with all of you.

My respects.

(Margo Charlton (Toronto Arts Council)) #10

Hi, I’m Margo Charlton. I’m the Research and Impact Manager at Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. I think a lot about how to frame and explore the impact of the arts. How the arts inspire us and make our communities a better place. Thanks to Trillium and Liz for helping to us share our ideas, explorations, and doubts. As my mentor and friend, Deb Barndt, would say - we make the road by walking it. This advice has helped me embrace not knowing as part of the journey.

(Liz Forsberg) #11

So happy to have you on the Knowledge Centre Margo! Though, in a way, you were already here :-). MassCulture shared their Margo Charlton podcast just a few weeks ago!

(Sally Nicholson) #12

Hello! I’m Sally Nicholson. I work with @Charm as the Research Assistant at the Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. Currently I help evaluate the Foundation’s strategic initiatives to measure impact and assist with future planning. I’m interested in cultural placemaking and how arts and culture can improve our everyday lives, along with the spaces we inhabit. I look forward to the future discussions and information that will be shared here.

(Liz Forsberg) #13

Welcome to the Knowledge Centre, Sally! I’m looking forward to hearing more about the research you and @Charm have been doing at TAC & TAF.

(Kris Erickson) #14

Hi all:
I am very thrilled to see this space - the Knowledge Centre is really exciting, and this one in particular. As usual, however, I see I’m late to the game. I’ll try to keep up.

I’m just stepping off the Board of MABELLEarts as Chair for two terms/the past six years. I’m looking to continue to be involved in MABELLE’s evolution - it’s a really tremendous community arts organization based out of Etobicoke but with a truly international reach under AD, Leah Houston; please look them up and/or pay them a visit - and as such, I am eager to contribute the knowledge and expertise I am slowly gaining around the possibilities and pitfalls of what I like to call “measuring” the arts, at both MABELLE and beyond, and to learn from you and the expertise you bring.

I see the value of art in fostering all kinds of broader social, cultural, economic, and political impact not possible without artistic performance and production. However, I also believe it’s crucial to recognize the intrinsic, perhaps autonomous, value of arts. I think identifying and developing ways of measuring this non-instrumental and more intangible impact on our very being in the world is just as critical as evaluating its impact upon other realms.

I am eager to chat more about this and learn from you (some of you whom I already know!) and I look forward to this all. Please bear with me as I catch up. My thanks in advance.

  • Kris

(Liz Forsberg) #15

Welcome to the KC @kris! Really glad you found us!

I am very familiar with MABELLEarts and agree, it’s an organization doing incredible work (full disclosure - Leah Houston is a friend from my time working in the community arts space!).

The conversation about how to measure the intangible and intrinsic values of the arts is a hot topic right now with the Canada Council engaging in some deep work to figure out how they can support the arts sector across Canada in doing so. As funders there’s an increasing level of interest in collaborating on this. I wanted to point out a great resource we’ve shared on the KC that gets at some of those impacts. It was developed by Animating Democracy in the US and rooted in a language of aesthetics. If you haven’t come across it yet on your travels through the KC check it out here - WEBINAR: What Makes Arts for Change Work Excellent? Impact measurement with Animating Democracy

I look forward to future discussions!

(Bern Euler) #16

Hello Everyone.

I’m Bern Euler and I run the Canadian Film Fest. We show all Canadian films, have a great Industry Series for filmmakers and industry professionals to educate and learn cool things and have lots of networking opportunities and events. We go on every March at Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto.

We’re currently open for film submissions and also for script submissions for our script contest. Check us out!


Bern Euler
Festival Director
Canadian Film Fest

(Liz Forsberg) #17

Welcome to the Knowledge Centre Bern and thanks for sharing this opportunity!