About CCL Canada
We are incredibly excited to announce the first ever cohort of Creative Climate Leadership Canada participants!
The CSPA has partnered with Julie’s Bicycle (JB) to host for the first time in Canada the Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) program, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Since 2017, JB along with multiple partners have been offering intensive training opportunities to creative leaders from the arts and culture sector to deepen their understanding and commitment to climate justice and the ecological crisis. The immersive course will take place at the Barrier Lake Field Station in Kananaskis, Alberta area adjacent to Banff National Park on the traditional territory of the Stoney Nakoda in the foothill of the Rockies, from August 1st to 5th, and is open to artists, curators, creative and cultural professionals and policy-makers that work and live across Canada. This CCL will be delivered in English.
CCL Canada, hosted near Banff, Alberta, will offer training for 24 individuals. Participants will learn, discuss and reflect on the topics of the climate crisis, climate justice, resilience and wellbeing, climate communication, and creative leadership for climate action, and will develop personal and professional tools and strategies to bring climate and ecological action to the center of their practices and organizations. The five-day intensive course enables participants to apply environmental frameworks and targets meaningfully to their work, and explore what leadership means in the context of a rapidly changing world.
Meet the Participants
Following his musical studies, Alain Monast was a professional musician for ten years before devoting himself to the management of organisations in music, dance and theatre. He has been involved at all levels of production and has provided administrative management for organisations of all sizes. Since 1998, he has held several interim positions as Program Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts. He is currently a Program Officer for 2 programs : Arts Across Canada and Arts Abroad.
I have been active on the cultural scene in Montreal for the last 30 years. I first trained as an actress at the Moscow Art Theater School, I also translated a dozen plays from Russian to French and worked as an assistant director and a director. I completed a masters’ degree in Cultural Management at HEC Montreal in 2019 just before I cofounded Ecosceno, a social enterprise aiming to support the cultural sector in the socioecological transition. I have been the executive director since the beginning.
“Since I started my quest to understand what could be done differently in the cultural sector to waste less materials and take into consideration the climate crisis we are experiencing, I have been very inspired and impressed by all the work Julie’s bicycle has done in this area in the last 10 years. I am very eager to take part in a workshop designed by this organization.”
Ben Finley is a collaborative performer-composer specializing in acoustic and electric bass. He grew up on a music festival farm (Westben), where he witnessed/fell in love with various ways of making music. Ben is the Creative Director of the Performer-Composer Residency and the Sustainability Coordinator at Westben. He is a current Ph.D. candidate in the Critical Studies in Improvisation program at the University of Guelph, studying music festivals/creative music practices as sites of eco-cultural regeneration.
“I want to build lasting relationships from this experience and contribute to a support system to continue sharing insights, creating inspiration to continue our local/community work, and open ourselves into our own gaps, vulnerabilities, and personal grasping with these issues.”
Brighid Fry is a 19 year old musician and one half of the award winning duo Housewife (formerly Moscow Apartment). With her band and as a solo artist, Brighid has released 3 EPS and several singles. Housewife signed in 2021 and asked for a climate clause to be included. Believing in the power of music to promote the cultural change needed to create a better future, in 2021, Brighid helped to launch the Canadian chapter of Music Declares Emergency.
“I am applying for this program because I believe that artists have enormous power to affect social & political change. I want to see more musicians using that power and their platforms to call attention to the climate emergency and to help get people mobilized to push for meaningful action.”
I am a theatre director & dramaturge. My focus is new plays/adaptations – often site-specific, based on true stories. I look for connections with histories, both personal & collective. Recent works: HenryG20, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V set in the G20 protests & Rella’s Cambrian Dream, a science-based piece for family audiences about the earliest forms of life on earth. I am the Division Lead in Drama at UCalgary & my research investigates the interaction of live & digital performance over mobile technology.
“I want to stretch, think differently & ideally bring back new energy not just in my role as Division Lead, but to my own practice. I want to harness and contribute to current actions of others to advance an ethical climate strategy for now, my own life-span and for the future.”
I work with writer Sandra Shields on photo-text installations around power and its blind spots including 3 books (BC Book Prize 2003). In public galleries we have made a practice of appropriating pop forms as a means of sharing uncomfortable knowledge. Our last project, touring show Grand Theft Terra Firma (BC Museums Award 2018), tackles our own responsibility as settlers using digital gaming to reframe the settlement of Canada as a nefarious heist and challenge the moral authority of the colonial narrative.
Donna Grantis is a Canadian artist, guitarist, composer and producer. From 2012 to 2016 Grantis performed and recorded with Prince as a member of his funk-rock trio 3RDEYEGIRL, and supergroup New Power Generation. She was named one of the greatest female guitarists of all time by Guitar Player Magazine. As a bandleader and eOne recording artist, Grantis fronted a 5-piece electric jazz quintet. Her album, DIAMONDS & DYNAMITE, reached #1 on iTunes Canada (Jazz) in 2019. “Donna Grantis was born to play guitar.” – CBC Radio
“The mandate of Julie’s Bicycle – to mobilize the arts and culture to take action on the climate crisis – is so inspiring and exciting to me. It reflects the exact intersection I am passionate about exploring in my own work.”
Eriel Tchekwie Deranger
Deranger is a member of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action. Deranger works with the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, It Takes Roots, Climate Justice Resiliency Fund Council of Advisors and Chair of Bioneers. She has written for the Guardian, Yellowhead Institute, The National Observer, Red Pepper Magazine; featured in documentary films including Elemental (2012); is regularly interviewed for media outlets Democracy Now!, APTN, and CBC.
“We are forging paths for ourselves and our kin, we are holding self-determination and sovereignty at the centre and inviting change. Climate Justice demands more than protest or reduction of GHGs, it requires liberation from the root causes of planetary injustices – from colonialism, extractivism, capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy.”
Fanny is a visual artist, muralist and social innovator fascinated by collective intelligence. Her practices have been centered around developing artistic participatory methods around the protection of living heritage, biodiversity, water and climate justice. Her passion has led her throughout Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, and in knowledge-rich and creative northern and Indigenous territories. Fanny also works at the One Drop Foundation as a Social Art Specialist on safe water Programs. She is also co-developing a new philanthropy Youth initiative around Water and climate in Canada.
“Climate justice for me is an important act of colonial reparation. I want to develop my capacity of leadership and create strong connections and relationships”
Glenne‘s creative work as a costume designer has included a wide range of motion picture projects and costumed personalities. Her work has spanned the universe portraying sci fi, contemporary, western, comedy, fantasy, and historical storytelling. She has worked internationally. Additional creative pursuits include drawing, painting, landscaping, travel, cultural community participation & sustainability stewardship. Her grandparents, the first gatekeepers at Jasper National Park in 1930’s, set an example.
“I need to learn the current language of climate change and environment challenge so that I may speak to it effectively. I need to learn techniques for how to support, educate and engage more people. . . While costuming tries to be green, it is in fact a consumptive art form which needs leadership to establish ways to reuse, reduce, recycle. I would engage with costumers globally.”
Jessie Demers is a community organizer, curator and arts administrator living on Lekwungen territory in Victoria BC. She has worked in the arts sector since 2006, including 5 years as Curator and Education Programmer at Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, and 6 years as an Arts Programmer for the District of Saanich. She has been involved in environmental activism since she was teenager when participated in old growth logging blockades in Clayoquot Sound and Walbran Valley. Demers recently curated the Eden Grove Artist in Residence Program and the exhibition Still Standing: Ancient Forest Futures at UVic’s Legacy Gallery, featuring twelve artists including Kelly Richardson, Paul Walde and Carey Newman. Demers holds a BFA from NSCAD University and a BEd from UBC Vancouver.
I see hope as a verb, and action as the antidote to despair. I believe art plays a vital role in imagining new futures and moving people from paralysis into action. As an activist and an arts worker, I am driven to harness the power of hope and creativity for positive, collective transformation.
Judi Pearl is Associate Producer for English Theatre at the National Arts Centre and a co-founder of SCALE – Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency – which works to mobilize Canada’s arts and culture sector around the climate emergency. She also currently serves on the board of The Only Animal and previously served for ten years on the board of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. She is grateful to live and work on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory.
“I hope to develop a deeper and more nuanced appreciation for how art and artists can shift underlying values towards a more regenerative future, away from extractivism and consumerism. I believe the answers go beyond the aestheticization of science, but we have yet to understand what this really means for artistic practice.”
Julia Matamoros is a cultural worker and facilitator. She believes the arts can and must play a bigger role in climate action. Her work in education and sector-wide initiatives has focused on equity, diversity and inclusion, as Education Manager at the Gardiner Museum and as Partnerships Officer at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, where she worked with a national network of cultural organizations and new citizens to build inclusion through research, resources and a mobile app. More recently, as Associate with Garrow&Evoy, Julia coached non-profit organisations through strategic and social impact clarity.
“The alarming speed at which the climate emergency continues to escalate leaves no room to be passive. I feel the urge to be part of the solution and believe that arts and culture, a sector I know well, holds immense potential.”
I’ve been Executive Director of Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada (the national association for Canadian orchestras) since 2005, and have also worked as a clarinetist, teacher, granting officer at a public funding agency, and orchestra manager. I’m an arts advocate and leader in collaborative initiatives among arts service organizations, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2016.
“I love orchestras, yet I acknowledge that the markers of success in the orchestral field often require an outsized consumption of carbon, be it the construction of a new concert hall, a European tour, or programs that feature internationally celebrated soloists. I yearn for collective, creative responses from our sector, I seek ways to connect personal engagement with organizational decision-making, and I want to be part of re-conceptualizing just what success looks like.”
Katrine Claassens is an artist and environmental policy communications specialist. Her paintings and videos reflect her interests in climate change, urban ecology, and internet memes. From the Arctic to Antarctica, she has presented research, led workshops, exhibited, and worked with scientists, students, and government stakeholders on the environmental challenges of the Anthropocene. In addition to her practice as an artist, she has worked with governments, universities, and think tanks in environmental and public policy communications. Katrine holds an honours degree in Visual Art and a master’s degree in Climate Change and Development.
“I have followed Julie’s Bicycle’s activities for years, and was extremely excited to see this opportunity to learn and connect with other climate creatives here in Canada.”
Luisa Ji (M.ARCH 2015, Permaculture Design Certificate 2021) is a multi-disciplinary creative, designer, and strategist. She believes individuals need to take up space as they experience art and author their own stories through art, rather than viewing artworks from a distance. Luisa is the studio lead at UKAI Projects, stewarding arts programs and co-production projects prioritizing polyphony. She is a co-founder of Nomadic Labs, a digital studio amplifying the works of social impact organizations.
“I want to explore opportunities where the arts and cultural production can provide an alternative by inviting broad and diverse audiences into immersive experiences that amplify climate narratives from those who have been impacted by environmental injustices disproportionately rather than only institutional or official narratives. I would like to collaborate and be in dialogue with people who are exploring similar approaches during this program.”
Marissa McHugh is a Program Office at the Canada Council for the Arts, where she currently works in sector innovation and development. She has a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Regina, where she studied acting for stage and film. During her MA in Drama and Literature at the University of Guelph, she developed her dramaturgical and directing skills. She then taught theatre at Ridley College before obtaining her PhD in English Literature. She has presented her research in Canada and abroad and worked at various arts organizations in the Ottawa region. She is originally from Saskatchewan, but has made Gatineau, Quebec her home.
Michelle Tracey is a scenographer based in Toronto, Ontario working in the fields of theatre, opera, tv, film and events in between. She specialises in set and costume design but she also enjoys working with lighting and projections. Michelle earned her BFA from York University in Theatre Production and Design, and she is a graduate of the Soulpepper Academy where she practised dramaturgical scenography under the mentorship of Lorenzo Savoini. Michelle is also a trained wardrobe technician and has constructed costumes for numerous professional productions. Her upcoming design work can be seen onstsage at The Stratford Festival in Every Little Nookie, and at Crow’s Theatre in Anthropic Traces. Michelle is a founding member of Triga Creative, a collective of designers committed to ecoscenography, intergenerational artistic exchange and the development of new sustainable working models. Her passion for scenography is rooted in its potential to spark imagination, to transform and transcend. She believes that collective experience has the power to inspire people to see new ways of being, to connect with one another and maybe even change the world.
“I feel an increasing responsibility to gain expertise around climate justice, and how to use my gifts as an artist to inspire change. I hope to connect with other creative leaders to collaborate on artistic projects that evoke passionate responses towards climate action. I hope to build up an industry that can put shared values into action through climate-conscious programming, design and producing.”
Shammah Salwa is a multidisciplinary artist practising digital photography, photojournalism and documentary cinematography. She lives and works in Toronto with a special focus on the region of Scarborough and North York. Her work is influenced by my ancestral origins from Bangladesh exploring themes of nostalgia, migration narratives and the hyphenated identity. These themes tie into various topics within environmental justice movements such as food in/security, urban agriculture and indigenous land sovereignty.
“I hope to find a collective where participants from diverse creative mediums can collaborate on practical and radical approaches to tackling apathy and ignorance around climate change.”
Shawn is the Research & Impact Manager at Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the evaluation of TAC grants programs and Foundation initiatives and initiating collaborative research projects that support the arts and culture sectors through bridging academia and industry. Having had an international career as a dancer and choreographer, and described as “[one] of Toronto’s finest dancers” (Paula Citron, Toronto Life), Shawn then completed his PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. He has taught in the Department of Gender Studies and the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s as well as the Department of Dance at York University. His research spans many artistic disciplines while focusing on representation and power in and through critical race, critical disability, and gender studies.
“What I hope to get out of the CCL program are tools and resources to begin to understand how funding agencies can incorporate a climate focus into their grant assessment processes and policies. I also am keen to connect with a network of people addressing climate change, and to forge opportunities for further collaboration and partnership.”
Taiwo holds the Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Theatre and serve as the Director for the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre at the University of Regina. He is an artist-scholar in applied theatre who has worked in over a dozen countries across four continents in variety of context. Through storytelling and devised theatre, he works with communities on issues pertinent to them from issues of immigration to climate justice among others.
“As a Black artist-scholar, I would like to explore creative climate leadership from the lens of decentralization and decolonization. While I listen deeply and learn from others, I would like to share ways place-based perspectives and practice can shape climate and ecological crisis with impact, creativity, and resilience.”
Tracey has over 30 years experience in Canada’s cultural sector. In the decade before joining the Canadian Media Producers Association in 2020, she worked at the David Suzuki Foundation & Roundhouse Radio plus authored ‘Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change‘, which led to the founding of a charitable organization under the same name. Tracey spent nearly 12 years at the National Film Board in Vancouver, where she earned producer or executive credits on dozens of projects.
“I’d value the opportunity to forge deep (in-person!) connections with a wider range of new (to me) people who share my concern for our precious world, and my conviction that art and story can impact hearts and minds, leading to impactful behaviour change.”
(Photo credit: Creative Climate Leadership training course participants in Slovenia, photo by Karim Shalaby)