The Arts and Equity Project

The Kingston Arts Council (KAC) is excited to launch a new initiative titled the Arts & Equity Project that explores intersectionality, diversity and inclusion to advance equity in the arts in Kingston. The Project aims to introduce artists and arts organizations in Kingston to fundamental equity concepts, tools and frameworks and provide peer-to-peer learning opportunities and new connections.

‘Equity Principles in Action’ is a moderated panel discussion exploring ideas and practices that relate to equity, cultural diversity and accessibility. Guest speakers Nikki Shaffeeullah (The AMY Project), Kevin A. Ormsby (Cultural Pluralism for the Arts Ontario) and Cyn Rozeboom (Tangled Art + Disability) will share their experiences and learnings from their community-engaged work in Toronto. KAC Administrative and Communications Officer Diana Gore will moderate the discussion. We are thrilled to welcome Abena Beloved Green as our guest artist at the event. Abena will perform a poetic summary to conclude our afternoon together.  

The goals of the event are to build community ties, share resources, reflect on our understanding and approaches to inclusion and hear inspiring, real-world examples of how equity principles can be implemented into arts practice. We encourage artists, arts workers and professionals to join the conversation as we continue our collective efforts to transform the ways we work. The event will provide a space for attendees to listen to the guest speakers, share common strategies and successes and identify future areas for meaningful growth.

ASL interpretation / childminding / transportation support can be provided if requested by 15 March.

Please email your requests to

Light refreshments will be provided.

Pay what you can. Register via Eventbrite, or email to reserve your spot.

The Tett Centre is a physically accessible venue. Info on its layout available here.

The Arts & Equity Project is supported by an Ontario Arts Council Arts Service Project Grant and through collaborative partnerships with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Kingston Immigration Partnership, and H’art Centre.

About the panellists:

Nikki Shaffeeullah is a theatre-maker, writer, facilitator, and community-engaged artist. She has been Artistic Director of The AMY Project, an award-winning organization providing barrier-free performing arts training and mentorship for youth, since 2015, and also teaches performance and directs in the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Theatre and Performance Studies program. She has also been a resident of the Director in Development program at Canadian Stage; Editor-in-Chief of magazine; founder/Artistic Director of the artist-activist performance group Undercurrent Theatre; and Assistant Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre. Nikki holds an MFA in Community-Engaged Theatre from the University of Alberta. Nikki believes art should disrupt the status quo, centre the margins, engage with the ancient, dream of the future, and be for everyone.

Artistic Director of KasheDance, Kevin A. Ormsby works as a dancer/choreographer and Arts Strategies Consultant.  He is the Program Manager for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), Professor of Dance Performance at Centennial College and an Adjunct Artist with Dance Exchange in Washington, DC. An Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Fellowship recipient, OAC KM Hunter Dance Award 2016 nominee, Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Fellow, and Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch — Staunton Award recipient in Dance.  With a career that spans over 30 years, he has performed with various companies and projects in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States. He currently sits on the Board of Nia Centre for the Arts, Dance Collection Danse and Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts.

Cyn Rozeboom (Tangled Art + Disability Executive Director) has over 25 years of experience in the non-profit arts sector as a fundraiser, communications specialist, artist, and administrator. Career highlights include founding the Art of the Danforth festival; serving as the inaugural Managing Director of East End Arts; helping establish the Next Stage Theatre festival during her tenure at the Toronto Fringe; and three years with Hospital Audiences Inc. a group which provides innovative arts-access services in New York City. She has an MA in Communications, a Certified Fundraising Executive designation, and a college diploma in Radio & Television Arts. Cyn is Mad-identified and is particularly interested in the contradictions of human nature, construction of identities through story-telling, and the fluid dynamics of power within social structures.

About the guest artist:

Abena Beloved Green is a poet, writer, and dancer who seeks to create, engage, and elevate through her artistic work. She was a two-time member of the Halifax Slam Team, competing in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. She is also the 2016 winner of the Atlantic Poetry Prize, (now Nova Writes) and 3rd place finalist in the 2017 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (Vancouver, British Columbia). Abena is a Canadian of Ghanaian heritage who has lived in Nova Scotia most of her life and recently moved to Eastern Ontario. She is passionate about sustainability, creativity, and connection between living beings.  Her first book of poetry, “The Way We Hold On” was published by Pottersfield Press in the spring of 2018.

The workshops marked the first phase of the Project and were designed for Kingston-based artists and arts organizations to gain greater awareness of equity-related issues and insight on how to improve equity through their work and practice. Participants learned about the experience of artists and community groups who are working to reduce barriers to community participation and collaboration and increase access to resources that help expand arts engagement initiatives. The workshops were developed by Kayley Marsh and Yasmine Djerbal in collaboration with the KAC.

Workshop #1

Laying the Foundation: Anti-Oppression for Arts Organizations & Artists in Kingston
Thursday, 22 February 2018, 10 am – 1 pm
The Spire, 82 Sydenham St

The first workshop in this series will focus on defining foundational terms and concepts of anti-oppression. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Kayley Marsh and Yasmine Djrbal, with support from Celia Romulus.

This workshop is pleased to welcome guest artist facilitator, Randy Johnston, founder of Theatre with a Meal (TwaM).

TwaM is a veritable soup kitchen dinner theatre designed to bring theatre to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in theatre either through acting and participating as audience members. Furthermore, TwaM offers a platform for those same people to share their stories, life views and comedy via theatrical expression. Currently, TwaM is engaged in creating an outreach program on a 184 acre farm in Westport Ontario offering a two week live in theatre program as well as a variety of farming and other engaging programs designed to further empower people.

Available by request: ASL interpretation / childminding / transportation support.


Workshop #2

Intersectionality & Kingston’s Arts Culture
Thursday, 22 March 2018, 10 am – 1 pm
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, 370 King Street W

The second workshop will examine the different aspects of social location and identity. Co-facilitators: Kayley Marsh, Yasmine Djerbal and Celia Romulus.

This workshop will feature guest artist facilitator, Erin Ball, circus artist, coach and owner of Kingston Circus Arts. Erin will also be doing an aerial performance at this workshop. Erin’s disciplines include aerial silks, single point trapeze, duo trapeze and duo silks, wheelchair acrobatics, flexibility and hooping. She took a year off in March 2014 due to life changing events that resulted in the loss of her lower legs. Erin has since returned to her passion for training, coaching and performing and loves adapting and creating new/different ways of executing skills.

Available by request: ASL interpretation / childminding / transportation support.


Workshop #3

Creating a Collective Action Plan

With guest artist, Camille Georgeson-Usher

Wednesday, 27 June 2018, 10 am – 2 pm

The Spire, 82 Sydenham St

The next workshop in the Arts & Equity Project will have participants working together to develop a framework for taking action in our work, our organizations, and our communities to make the arts more equitable. The goal is to leverage the knowledge and experience of everyone present to take a critical look at how our organizations and collectives are structured and where changes can be made. The workshop will feature a  collaborative audit activity to identify key areas of development (ex. Audience, Programming, Board, HR, Strategic Planning, etc) and offer suggestions for how to make these areas more equitable. Participants will receive a resource package in advance of the workshop that will provide information on key concepts reviewed in the first two Arts & Equity workshops; these concepts and ideas will be reviewed briefly at the onset of the final workshop.

We are thrilled to welcome Camille Georgeson-Usher as our guest artist at the workshop. Camille is a Coast Salish/Dene/Scottish scholar and artist from Galiano Island, BC. She holds an MA in Art History from Concordia University with research focusing on Indigenous community-based artistic practices that bring forward conversations of fear, humour and sexuality as acts of cultural survivance that aim to reduce the rate of suicide in the Arctic. She continues her work as an artist in Toronto when time permits, where she also works as the Programs Coordinator at the Inuit Art Foundation.

Lunch provided.

Available by request (deadline: 11 June): ASL interpretation / childminding / transportation support.

The Arts & Equity Project is supported by an Ontario Arts Council Arts Service Project Grant and through collaborative partnerships with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Kingston Immigration Partnership, and H’art Centre.

Eventbrite - Creating a Collective Action Plan

About the facilitators: 

Kayley Marsh is an anti-oppression facilitator who designs workshops that invite participants to embrace challenge as the space of transformation. Kayley believes in integrating diverse methods such as popular education, systems analysis, experiential learning, visual arts, yoga, rhythm, and breath to raise personal/political awareness, simplify complex concepts, and build capacity. Kayley leverages their experience in community activism to elevate marginalized voices and to ensure that participants receive the best tools to thrive.

Originally from Algeria, Yasmine Djerbal now lives and studies in Kingston. She is a community organizer committed to social justice and social change, and a doctoral student at Queen’s in Cultural Studies. Her research aims to bridge theory and praxis, while engaging with questions of immigration, race, gender, and discourses of citizenship and identity in Canada.

Celia Romulus is a doctoral student in Political Studies. Before joining Queen’s University, she worked as a program manager and trainer in human-rights as well as in gender-mainstreaming in public policies and development.

Funders and Partners

The Arts & Equity Project is supported by an Ontario Arts Council Arts Service Project Grant and through collaborative partnerships with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Kingston Immigration Partnership, and H’art Centre.

Phase 1 Recap 

Throughout the winter and spring, we held three workshops that brought together local arts professionals, artists and cultural workers in an attempt to start a conversation about equity in the arts in Kingston. You can read a recap of them here

Images: Liz Cooper

The Arts & Equity Organizational Audit Tool

The Organizational Audit Tool is the result of group work grounded in peer-to-peer and collaborative learning by participants in the ‘Creating a Collective Action Plan workshop’ (the final workshop of phase 1 of the Arts and Equity Project). The goal of the workshop was to develop a framework for taking action in our work, our organizations, and our communities to make the arts more equitable. For more information about the resource and how to access it, please contact