What Art Has To Offer Immigration

June 8 2020


The Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence premieres a special 30-minute program on ‘What Art Has To Offer Immigration’ during Luminato Festival Toronto 2020 on Saturday June 13 at 1pm ET. 

This virtual program has been created specially by the Lab’s resident artists and new immigrants in lieu of a multi-site exhibition previously planned for the Festival. The program features original music, poetry, video art, and imaginative activations created by artists-in-residence lo bil, Mark Campbell, Sharada Eswar, Tom Kuo, and Nava Waxman inspired by and in collaboration with the Lab’s newcomer professionals-in-residence, as well as a short documentary by newcomer artist Claudia Arana.

To celebrate the culmination of this 6-month residency, the Lab will host a live, online Watch Party and post-show Q&A where audiences can meet the resident artists and professionals to discuss the future of Canada and the impacts on new immigrants. The public is invited to join the Watch Party here: 

The newcomer professionals’ appearance at Luminato marks the end of their contract with the Lab. These professionals now face the considerable challenge of finding new employment in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. 

“These newcomer professionals have undertaken incredible efforts to bridge any perceived and real gaps in their international credentials,” says the Lab’s Founder and Chief Artistic Officer Helen Yung. The Lab hopes to remind Canadians that new immigrants often face unfair bias and discrimination when it comes to hiring practices. 

“It was hard before, and the situation grows ever more uncertain in the context of a worldwide pandemic and related business, economic and social consequences,” says Yung. “Canada’s recovery strategy must include all members of society. Let’s truly ‘build back better.’”

About This Project

The Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence hires select newcomer professionals to work in residence with Canadian artists. These professionals come from all over the world, and from fields as diverse as engineering, business, project management, IT, education, and science. Together, the multi-sectoral teams participate in residencies to consider questions like, “What Does Art Have To Offer Immigration.” The residency model simultaneously pursues social research, expands what Art can be, accelerates the newcomers’ cultural adaptation, and models a better world to live and work in.

This year’s cohort spent four weeks in residence based mainly at Luminato and Small World Music, and one week at TO Live’s Meridian Arts Centre. They also spent two weeks collaborating fulltime in cyberspace in a ‘virtual residency’ format during the pandemic lockdown. On the last day of the virtual residency, Luminato released an official statement: “2020 Festival Cancelled.”

In lieu of the multi-site pop-up exhibition that was scheduled for presentation at Luminato, the Lab offers virtual Festival go-ers this half hour program of activations, contemplations, interviews, original music, and video art. The featured program includes work created by artists-in-residence lo bil, Mark Campbell, Sharada Eswar, Tom Kuo, and Nava Waxman in collaboration with the Lab’s newcomer professionals-in-residence, a short documentary by newcomer artist Claudia Arana, and an artistic statement by lead artist Helen Yung. The artists and newcomer professionals will also participate in a live Q&A at the end of the program.

For media inquiries:

Kate Nankervis, Communications
mobile: +1 (416) 556-9638

High-res photos and preview video available. Please inquire.

About Luminato Festival

Luminato Festival Toronto, Toronto’s international arts festival dedicated to performance, media and visual arts, and programming that cuts across traditional artform boundaries,  will return June 11 to 13 with its first ever virtual festival, bringing together more than 70 artists together with audiences from across Canada and around the World. The free event will run from 7pm (EDT) Thursday, June 11 until 12 midnight (EDT) Saturday, June 13, and will feature performances, theatre, music, film, intense conversations, late night DJs and burlesque, alongside key works from past Luminato Festivals. A full schedule of events is available online at; to attend the virtual festival tune into Luminato’s website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Registration for the free event is available here.

About The Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence

The Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence ( is an artistic and social R&D organization, focused on experiments led by professional artists, to creatively produce new ways of framing, training for, and solving complex social and public problems. Since 2014, Chief Artistic Officer Helen Yung ( has been working with newcomers to Canada as a conceptual artist with ties to performance and community art practices. In 2016 she began to hire newcomer professionals as an artistic and social action, with support from Canada Council for the Arts, Culturelink, Centre for Social Innovation, Luminato, Humber College, Dreamwalker Dance Company, and others.
© Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence
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