Teaching Artist

Photo: Temmuz Arsiray

Tanya Evanson is an Antiguan-Canadian writer, performer and educator from Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. A graduate of Concordia University Creative Writing and director of The Banff Centre Spoken Word Program, she has released four audio recordings including the latest project ZENSHIP (Mother Tongue Media 2016) which has been performed internationally as a solo and group piece at Suoni per il Popolo, Black Speculative Arts Montreal, Banff Centre, Ubud Writers Festival, Tasmanian Poetry Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival and Glastonbury Festival. After self-publishing six artist books, Bothism (2017) is Evanson’s first poetry collection with Ekstasis Editions and a second, Nouveau Griot, is forthcoming from Frontenac House in 2018. Recent publications include WSQ: At Sea (Feminist Press), 40 Years of Room Magazine (Caitlin Press), Resist Much / Obey Little (Dispatches Edition) and Where the Night are Twice as Long (Goose Lane). A past recipient of the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award, she was also Poet of Honour at the 2013 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and moonlights as a whirling dervish. mothertonguemedia.com

Teaching Artist

Mary Pinkoski, 5th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton (2013-2015), is an internationally-recognized poet. She has performed on stages across North American and at the 2015 Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland. Her work has appeared in multiple anthologies. She is the 2011 Canadian National Spoken Word Champion and a winner of the 2008 CBC National Poetry Face-off. In 2015, Mary was recognized as an Edmonton Top 40 Under 40 and also awarded a University of Alberta Alumni Horizon Award for her poetry work in the Edmonton community, in particular for facilitating poetry workshops and her creation of the City of Edmonton’s Youth Poet Laureate role which she continues to help coordinate.

Mary’s workshops bring the basics of free verse poetry, performance elements, and word play to allow students to tell the stories that are important to them without constraint. Mary facilitates workshops for participants of all ages and abilities. Mary has also facilitated workshops on writing for social change and has worked with organizations to help write their story creatively. Her workshops specialize in poetry/spoken word/storytelling.

Teaching Artist

Jamaal Jackson Rogers, stage name JustJamaal ThePoet, is a nationally recognized independent artist, creative entrepreneur and arts educator. He is the recently appointed Ottawa English Poet Laureate, a position that has not been occupied in the city of Ottawa for the past 30 years, and has been awarded the outstanding Artist Educator Award by the Ontario Arts Foundation. He has also received awards for his appearances on Canadian documentaries “4 Kids” and “In Their Words” by TVO and CBC respectively and was the first place recipient for best new poem at the Body Electric Poetry Film Festival for his cinepoem “Husniyah”. In 2016, he was a finalist in the Emerging Artist Award presented by RBC. As an artist he is a poet/writer, spoken word practitioner, recording rap artist, and stage performer, appearing on numerous festival stages with his Hiphop group Missing LinX and soul band, The Wize. Since his early years he has honed his talents that has allowed him in the past half decade to bring his performances to audiences across Canada and internationally. His defining moments are when he makes intimate connections with his listeners during his live performance sets. As a creative entrepreneur he has quickly become known for his ability to take ideas and translate them into action, using art as a way to bring communities together for entertainment and education. He is the mind and management behind such endeavours as Make Spoken Word Go Viral and Fly Poets Society; organizations that support poets and songwriters in their craft and that engineer poetry and music related events in the capital city of Canada. Other major creative projects under his name include Urban Legends Poetry Slam, Nationless Nights Music Concert, The Algonquin College Poetry Show, the House of Paint OG500 Poetry Slam, and the National Youth Poetry Festival to name a few. As an arts educator he has worked with over hundreds of youth and young adults nationally and abroad, using unique methods to assist participants in finding their artistic voice. He has taught songwriting workshops, hiphop workshops and poetry workshops and has been recognized by his peers for the creative activities that he uses in order for the learner to be actively engaged. He is also considered a mentor and arts coach, working in correctional facilities and finding time to tutor in inclusive settings such as classrooms and Ottawa Public libraries with artists to help them reach their goals within various artistic fields. Teaching, inspiring and leading is what Jamaal believes he does best, and with over 15 years of working with youth, he finds his passion best exemplified as an arts educator. Jamaal hopes that he will be able to share his passion, story, experience and vision with you in the near future.

Teaching Artist

Ronnie Dean Harris aka Ostwelve is a Stō:lo/St’át’imc/Nlaka’pamux multimedia artist based in Vancouver, BC. He got his start with professional graphic design at the age of 14 after submitting a design to a Vancouver-based skateboard company “Arson” and got this design printed. In the same year he began co-hosting the “When Spirits Whisper” radio show along side Gunargie O’Sullivan on Co-op Radio 100.5 FM (formerly 102.7 FM).

In the past years he’s worked on number of projects, most prominently as an actor and composer for APTN/Showcase dramatic series “Moccasin Flats” for two seasons as a performer and a lead character, and in the subsequent film project “Moccasin Flats: Redemption” in 2007. As well, he was the lead composer for APTN children’s Cree language series “Nehiyawetan: Let’s Speak Cree”.

In the spring of 2011, he was hired as Content Manager for RPM.fm, an Indigenous music culture website based out of Vancouver. The website focuses on bringing the latest of Indigenous music culture to its audience, as well as a podcast series of which he was the host. The podcast was selected as the recipient of the United Nations DPI Gold Medal as well as being awarded a Silver Medal in … . Most recently he has been working as a researcher and writer for multiple TV, film and media arts projects.  KEEP READING

As a musician under the name Ostwelve, Ron has performed in numerous festivals and has opened for acts such as Guru, K’naan, Abstract Rude and Snoop Dogg to name a few. Ron has also had the opportunity to perform as a part of the red diva projects ensemble project “The Road Forward” at the 2014 PuSh Festival in Vancouver. At the same time Ron was a part of the performance installation “Sometimes I Think I Can See You”, curated by Mario Pensotti, also a part of the PuSh Festival.  He also rejoined the ensembl…   KEEP READING

In the last 10 years Ronnie has also been very active in facilitating and creating workshop programs for youth empowerment in media arts and hip-hop. He has worked with “All Nations Healin’ Thru Artz” in Regina and helped to create “InDigital”, an initiative focused on creating job training for Indigenous youth in the technology industries. More recently he’s worked with “Boldskool”, a hip-hop/theatre workshop created by urban ink productions based out of Vancouver, BC, and Metaphor, where he entered the Burnaby …   KEEP READING

Currently he is working as the Program Director for “Reframing Relations” with the Community Arts Council of Vancouver delivering programming for indigenous and non-indigenous artists to interface with students and youth in schools and communities around the concept of reconciliation.

Most recently, Ronnie is featured in the National Film Board musical documentary “The Road Forward”, directed by Marie Clements.  https://www.nfb.ca/film/road_forward/

Teaching Artist

Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, therapist, lasagna lover and wicked witch transplanted from the Pacific Northwest to Toronto and Montreal, unceded Indigenous territories.  Kai Cheng’s work has appeared on pages and stages internationally – she has been published in Buzzfeed, Autostraddle,, Everyday Feminism, Asian American Literary Review, PRISM, among others.  She has featured as a performer at the Verses International Poetry Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and in poetry slams across the country.  Kai Cheng is the author of the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir, the poetry collection a place called No Homeland, and the children’s book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea.

Teaching Artist

Brad Gibson is a voice, speech and movement teacher in Vancouver, BC. He currently is Head of Voice at Studio 58 – Langara College and is part of the core faculty for Canada’s National Voice Intensive, and Bibliographer for VASTA (The Voice and Speech Trainers Association). Brad has taught and coached Voice and Speech throughout S.E. Asia, while he was based for three years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and works as a professional Voice and Dialect coach for theatre, film and TV productions in Vancouver. Recent projects have included: NBC’s “Virtuality”, CBC’s “Keep Your Head Up Kid – The Don Cherry Story” and “The Wrath of Grapes – The Don Cherry Story Part 2”, Barbie: A Ponies Tale (for Mattell), Proof (for TNT), Supernatural: Bloodlines (for CS), Godzilla (for Legendary Productions), Warcraft (also for Legendary productions) and Never Steady, Never Still (movement coach for Christie Street Creative). Brad was Co-artistic Director of Eureka Theatre Company in Barkerville, BC for 11 seasons and is works with artistic production teams in many Vancouver theatre companies such as the Arts Club, the Kay Meeke Centre, and the Gateway among others. In the past few years Brad has voice coached or designed and coached dialect for approximately 10 shows per year on stage and in film and TV.