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Cripping the Arts – January 24-26

Participant Bios

Day 1

Geetha Moorthy

Geetha Moorthy is the Founder and Executive Director of SAAAC. From classical arts, to business and entrepreneurship, and community development, Geetha Moorthy’s passion and commitment has touched countless lives for more than 30 years. Geetha is the Executive Director of the SAAAC Autism Centre, a Toronto-based charity that supports and empowers marginalized communities impacted by autism.

Andrea LaMarre

Andrea LaMarre, PhD, is a researcher based in Guelph, Ontario. Her research is focused on exploring the intersection between art, health, and social justice. In her work, Andrea has explored eating disorders, social support, mental health, digital storytelling, and qualitative approaches to research. She speaks regularly at national and international conferences.

Carla Rice

Carla Rice is Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Guelph, specializing in disability and embodiment studies and in arts-based and research creation methodologies. She currently is principal investigator of Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life, a multi-year, multi-site Disability Arts grant, co-directed with Dr. Eliza Chandler.

Kayla Besse

Kayla Besse, MA, is the Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator at the Re•Vision Centre for Art and Social Justice in Guelph, ON. Her research explores literary and (pop-)cultural representations of disability, privileging the work of disabled people in order to consider reclamations of power through life writing, feminist theory, and advocacy.

Col Cseke

Col Cseke is the Artistic Director of Inside Out Theatre and initiated the Good Host Program in 2016.

Ashley King

Ashley King is a journalist and Inside Out Theatre’s Artistic Associate who first encountered The Good Host as an audience member at an Audio Described Performance.

Julien Valmary

Julien Valmary is the Director of Grant Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Conseil des arts de Montréal. He is responsible for providing leadership on inclusive initiatives and innovation to the Conseil. Julien is a 2018-19 Fellow of the public policy leadership program, Action Canada, run by the Public Policy Forum.

Moridja Kitenge

Moridja Kitenge is a Canadian of Congolese origin. His award-winning projects have toured internationally and take the form of painting, installation, photograph, drawing and video work. Since 2015 he is the Chair of the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV), an organization that represents and defends the rights of all visual artists in Québec.

Lindsay Fisher

Lindsay Fisher is a creative producer working in the Disability Arts sector. As an artist with a disability, Lindsay is motivated by a desire to build more opportunities and spaces with different bodies in mind and to highlight the ways that activism, arts and disability culture is reshaping Canada’s arts ecology.

Day 2

Taeyoon Choi

Taeyoon Choi is an artist, educator, and activist based in New York and Seoul. His art practice involves performance, electronics, drawings, and installations that form the basis for storytelling in public spaces. Recently, he’s been focusing on unlearning the wall of disability and normalcy, and enhancing accessibility within art and technology.

Aaron Labbé

Aaron Labbé is a mad-identified intermedia artist based in Toronto, Canada. The driving-force of his work includes concepts drawn from the topics of madness narratives and discourse, expressions of empathy, the psyche and explorations of human consciousness. His specialities include interactive experience design, data visualization, experimental music practices, spatial sound design and computational art.

Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses drawing, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto and of BlacknessYes!/Blockorama. Syrus is a PhD candidate at York University.

Annie Segarra

Annie Segarra (Annie Elainey) is an American YouTuber, artist, and intersectional activist for LGBTQ+ and disability rights. Segarra, who is queer, Latinx, chronically ill (EDS) and disabled, advocates for accessibility, body positivity, and media representation of marginalized communities by sharing her observations and experiences through a personal and intersectional lens.

Elizabeth Sweeney

Elizabeth Sweeney is a neurodivergent visual artist and curator who frequently presents on the topic of art criticism, activist praxis and contemporary Disability Arts. She currently works as a program officer at The Canada Council for the Arts.

Sage Lovell

Accessibility, intersectionality, and interdependency are one of the biggest themes in Sage’s work. Currently, Sage works freelance on a variety of projects. Sage is always looking for ways to incorporate Deaf people into the community at large and creating inclusive spaces for all.

Catherine Bourgeois

Catherine Bourgeois has been making theater since 2002. She began in set costume, and lighting design before devoting herself to creating and directing performances for Joe Jack et John, which she co-founded in 2003. Her shows AVALe and Just Fake It earned her the Best Director award at the Gala des Cochons d’Or in 2012 and 2014.

Becky Gold

Becky Gold is a first year PhD student at York University focusing her research on autobiographical theatre creation by cognitively diverse artists as a demonstration of self-advocacy and community activism. Becky also works as a practitioner, facilitating a weekly multi-arts program for cognitively diverse teens and adults in North Toronto.

Michael Nimbley

Michael Nimbley has been studying theatre at Les Muses – Centre des arts de la scène since 2004. A bilingual actor (English/French), the extent of his talent was apparent in 2006 in Le temps des marguerites, and earned him the Best Actor award for his role in Just Fake It in 2012.

Sean Lee

Sean Lee is a part of a new generation of artists, curators and arts leaders bringing fresh perspectives to the contemporary art field. Working in performance art and performance for the camera, his creative practice has evolved to fit the realities of navigating performance using the body as a medium.

Kristy Johnston

Kirsty Johnston (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Theatre and Film, UBC) guest edited a 2016 issue of Theatre Research in Canada on the topic of Disability and Performance and has published Disability Theatre and Modern Drama: Recasting Modernism (Bloomsbury: 2016) and Stage Turns: Canadian Disability Theatre (McGill-Queen’s University Press: 2012).

Shay Erlich

Shay Erlich is a wheelchair dancer and performance art critic. They have recently co-founded the Cyborg Circus Project (a disability-led dance and circus company) with their partner Jenna Roy and write about Disability Art at the-wheelchair-critic.tumblr.com as well as in mainstream publications such as NOW Toronto and The Dance Current.

Michael Orsini

Michael Orsini is Full Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. A former journalist, he is co-editor (with Chrissy Kelly) of Mobilizing Metaphor: Art, Culture and Disability Activism in Canada (University of British Columbia Press, 2016) and Seeing Red: HIV/AIDS and Public Policy in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2018.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is News and Special Sections Editor at Canadian Art. Her writings have also been published in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the National Post, among other outlets. She holds a BFA Media Arts from NSCAD University and a BSc Physical Geography from McGill University.

Chelsea Temple Jones

Dr. Chelsea Temple Jones splits her time between Regina and Toronto. In Regina, she is community-based researcher at the University of Regina’s Voice Lab, a studio for developing creative sound expression. In Toronto, she teaches at Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies. Her journalism is recognized through a National Magazine Award and other press prizes.

Nadine Changfoot

Nadine Changfoot, Associate Professor in Political Studies at Trent University, engages in feminist, participatory and arts based research with intersectional arts, environmental, disability, aging, and healthcare communities. She iteratively builds capacity, including disability aesthetic, for disability justice, accessibility and arts practices, and environmental stewardship.

Peter Owusu-Ansah

Born in Ghana, Peter Owusu-Ansah is observant, thinker and visual artist. Because he is Deaf, seeing is how Peter captures the joy of life. Some of his colour works were included in the exhibition, Flourishing: Somehow we Stay Attuned, at the Tangled Art Gallery. Peter lives and works in Toronto.

Sarah Jama

Sarah Jama is a community organizer from Hamilton. She co-founded the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO), and is a board member with the Hamilton Transit Riders Union. She’s given hundreds of lectures, presentations, and keynotes on issues surrounding leadership, diversity, justice, and works at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.

Qwo-Li Driskill

Driskill is a (non-citizen) Cherokee Two-Spirit and Queer writer, activist, and performer also of African, Irish, Lenape, Lumbee, and Osage ascent. S/he is the author of several books, including Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory, a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in 2017. S/he is the Director of Graduate Studies Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University.

Loren O. Delaney

Loren O. Delaney is an Education Consultant, Artist and Program Curator, incanting and reclaiming the creative power in Mad Arts across places, people and spaces. On their downtime, Loren can be found advocating for a multiplicity of social justice issues and making the impossible possible.

Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning

Dr. Dolleen Tisawii’ashii Manning is a member of Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation, and a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy held at Michigan State University, MI, USA (September 2018-2020). Manning is an Anishinaabe scholar and artist, currently residing in Toronto.

Elwood Jimmy

Elwood Jimmy is a learner, collaborator, writer, artist, facilitator, cultural manager, and gardener. He is originally from the Thunderchild First Nation, a Nêhiyaw community in the global north. For close to 20 years, he has played a leadership role in several art projects, collectives, and organizations locally and abroad.

Crip Shorts

Erin Ball

Erin Ball is a circus artist, coach, owner of Kingston Circus Arts and co-owner of LEGacy Circus. After events resulting in the loss of her lower legs, Erin works to create new, creative and different ways of executing her skills as a circus performer.

Jessica Watkin

Jessica Watkin is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto's Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies focusing on disabled approaches to creating performance in Canada. She is a playwright and interdisciplinary creator working with physical and non-visual approaches to creation.

Jackie Hagan

Jackie Hagan is a multi award-winning playwright, poet and stand-up comedian. She is passionate about inclusivity in the widest sense and experiences often excluded from the mainstream narrative. She has performed and delivered workshops in hundreds of venues including prisons, homeless shelters and high-secure psychiatric units.

Tamyka Bullen

Tamyka Bullen has been involved in social justice activism and social services for 20+ years and has worked with women, immigrants, LGBTQA, and youth. She has been performing her poetry at different theatres since 2015 and in 2018 began acting for "Deaf That!" and "After the Blackout".

Brian Solomon

Brian Solomon is an award winning creator of Anishinaabe and Irish descent, born in Shebahonaning, located in the Manitoulin district of Northern Ontario. Solomon has presented his multidisciplinary works across Turtle Island and internationally. He is passionate about helping people relearn about their forgotten bodies, and take back the space those bodies occupy.

Justin Many Fingers

Justin Many Fingers or Mii-Sum-In-Iskum (Long Time Buffalo Rock) is a founding member and the new Artistic Director of the Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society and an international performing artist. His Government name is Justin Many Fingers; he is a Queer, Indigenous, disabled, and MAD artist from the Kanawa Blackfoot Reserve in Southern Alberta.

Alex Bulmer

Alex Bulmer is an award-winning writer, director, and performer who divides her time between working in Canada and Europe. She is co-Artistic Director of Common Boots Theatre in Toronto, and Artistic Director of Invisible Flash UK. In 2014, Alex was named one of the most influential disabled artists by UK’s Power Magazine.

Day 3

Loren O. Delaney

Loren O. Delaney is an Education Consultant, Artist and Program Curator, incanting and reclaiming the creative power in Mad Arts across places, people and spaces. On their downtime, Loren can be found advocating for a multiplicity of social justice issues and communing with the wonders of life.

Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses drawing, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto and of BlacknessYes!/Blockorama. Syrus is a PhD candidate at York University.

kyisha williams

kyisha williams is a Black, queer, femme artist and health promoter. Working in film and movement. kyisha works within Black/queer/trans/disabled young/racialized/criminalized communities, accurately portraying the realities of these communities on-screen. kyisha fuses art with health promotion, creating socially relevant content that discusses health and promotes healthy sexuality and consent culture.

Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Vanessa Dion Fletcher is the 2018 Bodies in Translation Artist In Residence. She uses performance and textiles to reveal the complexities of what defines a body. These themes are brought together with her Potawatomi and Lenape ancestry, and her learning disability. She graduated from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (2016).

GMTM

Whether he's in a three-piece suit or jeans and a custom Shot Club Versus Everybody sweatshirt, you can always count on GMTM to add a little bit of spice to the show. Or as he would say "that adobo sazon." Host of the Welcome To The Shot Club's on-the-spot segment The Drop, GMTM takes to the street to interview unsuspecting guests at live events, parties and concerts.

David Solomon

David Solomon is a recording artist and multi-faceted entertainer. Born in Calgary, raised in Brampton, he began his music career, later adopted by Rexdale and then Weston. He penned two poetry books; an LP, created Fly Crown Ltd. and teamed up with Welcome to the Shot Club. Love is easy.

CheZZa

Born and raised in Northern Ontario, CheZZa has experienced life many people from his background could only imagine. That's what drove him to take everything he has learned, experienced and lived and put it into his music, so that YOU can experience everything he has gone through in his life.

DJ Bailong

Hip Hop and Reggae music are profound influences for Dj Bailong. Bailong – which means The White Dragon – comes from his experience living overseas in China, where he set out to introduce Reggae music through DJing. Now in Toronto, he continues to work on collaborative projects focused on diversity and inclusion.

M.O. Littles

A live performer, M.O. Littles’ energy is contagious, performing hundreds of shows across Canada, the U.S., South America & Europe. He most recently took the top spot in the hip hop category in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and penned the theme song for a reality show, The Fashion Hero.

George Quarcoo

George Quarcoo is a professional runner Dj and Producer, holding the 100 meter and 200 meter Canadian National record in the T12 Mens Sprints. A talented DJ, spinning records to events across Ontario with versatility and a taste for ecclectic sounds, his beatmaking spans multiple genres, supporting diverse Toronto artists.

Netisha Edwards-Ragguette

A Deaf Consultant, Netisha is a Graduate from Ryerson University with a BA in Disability Studies. She brings a wealth of experience and understanding, innovating advocacy, inclusion and diversity, with a deep commitment to creating communities with people of diverse abilities.

Peter Owusu-Ansah

Born in Ghana, Peter Owusu-Ansah is observant, thinker and visual artist. Because he is Deaf, seeing is how Peter captures the joy of life. Some of his colour works were included in the exhibition, Flourishing: Somehow we Stay Attuned, at the Tangled Art Gallery. Peter lives and works in Toronto.

claude wittmann

claude wittmann: transman living with what is defined as disability; bicycle wheel builder with PhD in molecular biology; has contributed to performance art since 2006. His most recent art project states through postcards that his concepts failed his hopes. Now acting his artistic process and ethics against systemic oppression.

Brownton Abbey

Tarik Elmoutawakil

Tarik Elmoutawakil is the lead artist for Brownton Abbey. He is fixated on creating light playful atmospheres with deep theatrical experiences as a mode of brown and queer resistance, harnessing the elevation, celebration, and centering of otherness.

Lasana Shabazz

Lasana Shabazz is a performance artist, dancer, theatre maker and writer whose work grapples with themes of race, sexuality and, ultimately, transcendence.

Rachael Young

Rachael Young is an award-winning artist whose interdisciplinary performances traverse the boundaries between live art, dance, contemporary theatre and socially engaged practice. Her work creates spaces for intersectional realities to be explored and celebrated and for alternative narratives and forms to evolve and be heard.

Ebony Rose Dark

Ebony Rose Dark is an interdisciplinary artist specialising in dance. Their latest work explores themes of sexuality, desire, BDSM and black disabled bodies.

Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses drawing, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto and of BlacknessYes!/Blockorama. Syrus is a PhD candidate at York University.

Yousef Kadoura

Yousef Kadoura is a Toronto based actor, writer and producer who has dedicated himself to performance and storytelling as tools for education and social justice. He is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and the Curator in Residence at Tangled Art + Disability.

LAL

LAL – Rosina Kazi and Nicholas Murray – known as “musicians with a deeper social message,” released their debut album, Corners, in 2002 and have since carved out a strong diaspora voice in the Canadian music scene, which remains largely unexplored by mainstream media. LAL introduces a political edge to the electronic underground, bridging the gap between art and social justice.

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