Tania works within the shifting ideas of contemporary and traditional as it relates bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. Willard’s recent curatorial work includes, Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture, CUSTOM MADE, Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Work to Rule: Krista Belle Stewart, Nanitch: Historical BC photography and BUSH gallery. www.taniawillard.ca
photo by Kyla Bailey
Author and Illustrator
Julie Flett is a Cree-Métis author, illustrator and artist currently living in Vancouver, BC, Coast Salish Territories. She currently teaches in the Illustration Program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Throughout her career Julie has enjoyed collaborating with children of all ages, including her son Amiel. Julie’s work focuses on Indigenous children’s literature and language resurgence. She is the two-time winner of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. In 2010, she wrote Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet(L’alphabet di Michif), which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award forChildren’s Literature. Her book Wild Berries / Pakwa Che Menisu was a First Nation Communities READ title selection for 2014–2015, and in 2014, she became the first recipient of the Periodical Marketers of Canada Aboriginal Literature Award. She has also had the opportunity to illustrate books written by Richard Van Camp, Roy Miki, Tomson Highway, Monique Gray Smith, and David Robertson, amongst others. Julie is honoured to be a guest on the territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
Head of Library Communications, Simon Fraser University
Baharak grew up in Iran. She immigrated to Canada as a refugee and lives as a settler on unceded Coast Salish territory. She is Head of Library Communications at SFU, Director on the Board of the BC Libraries Cooperative, and an active member of BC’s library community. Her current research interests include feminist and community-led librarianship. She is honoured to support the important work of Kwi Awt Stelmexw.
Facilitator and Community Organizer
Tahia is a passionate advocate for dialogue and collaborative change making. She actively strives to bridge the worlds of research and community through her work. Tahia currently works with communities in Victoria, BC (unceded Lekwungen territory) to promote inclusion and to work in solidarity with equity seeking groups. She is thrilled to support the work of Kwi Awt Stelmexw. Tahia is a Muslim woman of colour living as a settler on these Coast Salish lands and waters. She feels privileged to be a part of this decolonization work. Tahia holds the words of Arundhati Roy close to her heart, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
Chris is an internationally recognized facilitator of participatory learning processes and has a long standing and well known reputation in the Aboriginal community of BC for delivering innovative process work which combines leadership learning, participatory processes and innovative content. He has worked extensively in indigenous communities in Canada, the United States and New Zealand since 1991 and also works throughout the United States and Europe teaching and supporting the practice of participatory leadership as a way of accelerating learning for organizations and communities. Chris lives with his family on Nexwleléxwm (Bowen Island)
(Rudy) I am an Indigenous Archaeologist from Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw (Squamish Nation) who likes to implement Indigenous phenomenology of places, artifacts, lithic sources, plants and animals into my research. This culturally informed approach is both self-reflexive and seeks to return cognitive geography/sense of place and being to people in the Squamish Nation community. I use oral history and traditions that link people to places and through fieldwork and analysis to gain understanding of the modern and ancient worlds. I link this research with a technique called X-ray Fluorescence that gives an elemental finger print of almost any material placed in front of it. Examination of numerous items and sites allows for both unifying cultural and scientific knowledge and making comparisons. I have done a 13-episode series on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) titled Wild Archaeology. My research projects practice minimal impact on the sites I chose to work on and I prefer to use of existing excavation/museum collections. I sit on the UNESCO advisory board for National Geoparks for Indigenous input to potential park applications in Canada.
Rita is committed to learning from and with water as a decolonial journey to nourish social justice and peace. With Dorothy Christian, she has co-edited the anthology Downstream: Reimagining Water (Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2016). Wong has written four books of poetry: monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998), forage (Nightwood Editions, 2007), sybil unrest (Line Books, 2008, with Larissa Lai) and undercurrent (Nightwood, 2015), as well as a collective of graphic essays entitled perpetual (with Cindy Mochizuki, Nightwood 2015). forage won the 2008 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Canada Reads Poetry 2011. Wong teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design on the unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver.
Vanessa is an artist and community engagement facilitator. Her work focuses on creativity and participatory culture as central to social sustainability. She loves collaborating with groups and supporting individuals to create inventive, meaningful and beautiful projects. She earned an MPhil from Cardiff University and her poetry and critical works have been anthologized in the UK, Holland, United States and Canada. She is the founder and song leader for the Woodward’s Community Singers and director of Creative Together, a song based facilitation process. This April she became the Director of Community Engagement at 312 Main, Vancouver’s Centre for Social & Economic Development
Sessional Faculty, Emily Carr University
Nancy Bleck, Slanay Sp’ak’wus, is an artist, photographer, educator and co-founder of Uts’am/Witness (1997-2007). She became the first artist-in-residence at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver, teaches at Emily Carr University and is a recipient of the YMCA’s Women of Distinction Award in the category of Arts, Culture and Design. She lives in Vancouver.
Ajay is a speaker, facilitator and social movement builder. He has 15 years experience in empowering communities and creating social change in the non-profit, academic, government and social innovation sectors. Mr. Puri was acknowledged for his work as a featured TEDx speaker, recognized as one of Canada’s top five volunteers in CBC’s Champions of Change contest, and selected as one of Vancouver’s #30PeopleYouShouldKnow. Most recently, he led the digital media and engagement team for the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. He has also co-founded many movement based organizations including: Changemakers Vancouver, #EastVanLove, Bee Vancity, and RangiChangi Roots. He currently sits on the Leadership Council of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Advisory Boards of Kwi Awt Stelmexw, Web of Change and Social Change Institute at the Hollyhock Leadership Institute. He also teaches / mentors at SFU RADIUS Ventures and Groundswell Social Ventures. Ajay holds his Masters of Health Administration from UBC and has published five peer-reviewed articles on health research. He has spoken to over 150 audiences nationally and internationally on topics ranging from leadership, digital media, social movements, healthcare transformation and innovation.
Director of Community Engagement, SFU
Am Johal is Director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. He has served on the boards of the Vancity Community Foundation, the VancouverCity Planning Commission, the Steering Committee of SFU’s Centre for Dialogue, Granville Island 2040 Advisory Board and is an Associate with SFU’s Institute for the Humanities. He has served as an advisor to two provincial cabinet ministers and previously worked with the Vancouver Agreement. In 2015, he published ‘Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene’ with Atropos Press.
Director of Creativity, HCMA
Mark is the Director of Creativity and Engagement at HCMA Architecture + Design in Vancouver, BC. He is also a co-founder and associate of the design consultancy Industrial Brand, where for nearly two decades he served as Managing Director, specializing in serving AEC built environment professionals and other professional services firms realize brand and marketing potential through research-based strategy and communication design. A CGD™ Certified Graphic Designer, Busse is an active executive and Fellow of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada and a design educator, advisor, mentor for design programs at Vancouver Film School, Capilano University, Langara College and others. A graduate of TWU’s School of Business and UBC’s Visual Arts Program, Busse has nearly three decades of design and creative management experience. Busse invests in the creative community by producing and hosting events such as Likemind Vancouver, Interesting Vancouver, and CreativeMornings/Vancouver as well as a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences. He is a writer for Design Edge Magazine and Canadian Architect Magazine, an advisory board member for Vancouver is Awesome, and a regular guest commentator on Unfiltered.
Matt has lived and worked in East Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories for the past two and a half decades with his partner and daughters. He is the codirector of 2+10 Industries has founded and directed many other community projects, including the Purple Thistle Centre, Car-Free Vancouver Day and Groundswell: Grassroots Economic Alternatives. He holds a doctorate in Urban Studies and his books and writing on community economic development, youth, education and cities have been published on all six continents and translated into twelve languages. He currently teaches in CBU’s MBA program and SFU’s Urban Studies department, is an Adjunct Professor in UBC’s SCARP program, and continues to lecture globally.