Helen Yung, Chief Artistic Officer
Helen leads the Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence. An inter/transdisciplinary artist-researcher, Helen makes installations, interactions, and interventions. She creates and curates exhibitions, and designs environments and performances (theatre, dance, digital, live art). More on her art, research and consulting available at helenyung.com.
For over a decade, Helen has contributed to civic actions and cultural policy thinking at the municipal, provincial, national, and international levels. She is a published researcher, and consults on projects for public and private funders, community organizations, and others. Much of this is institution-adjacent work, which is good or bad depending on how you feel about neighbours.
In her work with newcomers to Canada, Helen plays with and corrupts conventional approaches to settlement, by leading with what art knows, or looking at what art has to offer immigration. Blending performance, conceptual art, and social R&D, she has successfully helped newcomers who have experienced difficulties getting a job in Canada become employed fulltime in their field of interest. Funders love it, but say they don’t know how to fund this work.
These days, Helen is preoccupied with the question of What Art Knows, which is the title of a book she is writing about the role of artists and artistic intelligence in contemporary society. She created The Imagination Audit to help government, social organizations, and other leaders in civil society to approach innovation and social change with more imagination and creative wisdom.
Helen is affiliated with the Culture of Cities Centre, a Salzburg Global Fellow, and a board member with the Centre for Social Innovation.
Allison Pomenta, Strategic Planning & Communications
Allison Pomenta, M.A., PgDip. (Art Education, Museums & Anthropology) is a seasoned cultural and creative industries professional. With international experience in museums, interactive media, and education, Allison has deep expertise in planning and devising educational and entertainment content. As a Communications graduate, Allison also has a background in publishing and journalism, writing informational, educational, and persuasive content for a variety of companies and institutions.
Anita Agrawal, Newcomers Mentorship and Coaching
Anita Agrawal, MA (Social Anthropology), PgDip. (E-Commerce) is a professor at the School of Business at Centennial College, and the CEO of the multi-award-winning Canadian jewellery manufacturing company, Best Bargains. Anita’s company has been in business for nearly 30 years, with products shipping year-round globally to 20 countries.
As a highly-recognized industry expert, Anita has been interviewed for leading Canadian and international magazines, newspapers and TV, including the Globe and Mail, Profit Magazine, the Toronto Star, Canadian Jeweller, BNN and many, many more.
Anita has served as the President and Vice-President of 8 nonprofit organizations, including serving as the President of the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT), Toronto Chapter for 4 years. She has also served as a key business advocate for the $15 and Fairness campaign.
Anita was awarded the Ontario Woman Exporter of the Year award by OWIT in 2012, and chosen in 2013-2014 to be one of twelve Canadian mentees for the Accenture Supplier Diversity Development program.