Register for The Talk
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The Prismatic Conference welcomes artists, funders, academics, audience members and the general public to participate in three days of discussions and engagement on a variety of issues that are of current importance to Canada's culturally diverse artists. The Prismatic conference is open to the public. Registration available for the full weekend, day passes and in packages with Festival tickets.

Hosted by Prismatic

Registration fee: $140 (full-includes Prismatic Super Fantastic Dance Party Extravaganza) or $60 (daily)

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  Prismatic gathers us to celebrate culturally diverse and Aboriginal artists and their works. This is not only a valuable initiative for the performing arts industry, but an event most important to the continued conversation about our country's national character. The festival, through the simple act of showcasing a broad body of artistically excellent work from culturally diverse and Aboriginal voices, inherently challenges assumptions on who or what is representative of Canada. The talk will engage in debates that are (as I am often reminded) not new, but as an emerging artist still learning to navigate the industry, I know to be as relevant as ever. Perhaps this biennial festival's eventual goal is to write itself out of existence: to so normalize the seeing of diverse bodies on stage and commending of diverse creators for their contributions that their difference is no longer noteworthy. As Prismatic's official festival and conference rapporteur, my role is to observe, analyze, and comment upon the programming and proceedings. I encourage all participants to frame their time here with a critical and forward-looking lens so that when we gather again in two years' time, we will be that much closer to working in an industry and living in a country where events like Prismatic are no longer needed.

Nikki Shaffeeullah is a theatre facilitator, performer, director and researcher. Her present projects including serving as Editor-in-Chief of alt.theatre: Cultural Diversity and the Stage and improvising with Rapid Fire Theatre. Nikki has studied with Makhampom Theatre Group in Thailand and Teatro Yuyachkani in Peru, holds a BA in Theatre and International Development from McGill University, and is currently finishing an MFA in Community-Based Theatre at the University of Alberta. Her thesis is entitled Staging Diversity: A Practical Investigation of Community-Based Theatre and the Settlement Process.

Thursday, September 20 – Pre-conference
Stewart McKelvey – 9th floor Purdy's Wharf Tower I

11am – 5pm
Pre-conference meeting of the Ad Hoc Assembly (closed—AHA members only)

Guest: Roger Gaudet, Director of the Theatre Section of Canada Council for the Arts

1pm - 7pm
Registration Table Open
Neptune Studio Theatre

Friday, September 21 – Conference Day 1
Neptune Studio Theatre

Registration Table Open
Not Quite Continental Breakfast

9:30am – 12:30pm The Talk #1
Joint Discussion with the Canadian Public Arts Funders

Welcome from Prismatic and CPAF
Panel discussion of artists and funders
Moderated by Monika Kin Gagnon
Q&A from Prismatic and CPAF participants
Closing remarks and joint lunch

1pm – 3pm The Talk #2
Finding Balance: Arts, Education and Outreach

Can art and education co-exist? What are the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of pursuing a social mandate through art? Is this work distinct from other artistic pursuits? This panel discussion will explore the challenges that different organizations are facing while balancing sometimes conflicting mandates to do artistic work, to educate and to lead outreach into the community.

3:30pm – 5:30pm The Talk #3
TYA: Diversity in The Next Generation

In preparing for Prismatic 2012, our Artistic Producer, Shahin Sayadi, made an interesting observation: it appears that some TYA (theatre for young audiences) companies are ahead of the curve with respect to integrating cultural diversity into "mainstream" arts in Canada. The TYA companies are reaching diverse audiences, are engaging diverse artists and are presenting work that represents diverse cultural experiences.

This panel discussion, featuring representatives from TYA companies from across Canada, will explore the experiences and challenges of this sector and examine whether there are models of success in TYA that can be incorporated into other "mainstream" organizations to promote diversity in the arts.

Saturday, September 22 – Conference Day 2
Neptune Studio Theatre

Registration Table Open
Not Quite Continental Breakfast

Day 2 Topic: Collaboration
Collaboration between larger and smaller arts organizations is an important means by which limited resources can be shared across arts sectors. The activities on Day Two will provide insights into successful collaborative relationships between arts organizations and will facilitate private discussions between organizations interested in partnering with each other, to help them take the first steps towards building stronger relationships.

9:30 – 11am The Talk #4(a)
Collaboration: How the Odd Couple Makes Art

The day will open with a panel discussion that focuses on successful collaborative relationships – what works, what doesn't, what experiences are different organizations having working in collaborations?

11:15am – 1pm The Talk #4(b)
Collaboration in Your Artistic Practice

From the panel, the session will open into a moderated plenary discussion in which participants will be invited to share their experiences, their ideas for future collaborations and their thoughts on how to support and encourage work amongst and between different organizations and art forms.

1pm – 2pm Lunch Break (provided)

2pm – 4:30pm The Talk #4(c)
Collaboration: An exercise in sharing ideas and resources

Following on the discussions on collaboration, the participants will come together to build new relationships across disciplines and geography. Often, we do not know what support is available until we ask—equally, we do not always consider how we can support our colleagues. By the end of this session, all the Prismatic participants will be linked in relationships of mutual resource sharing and will have had the opportunity to engage with one another in new ways.

5pm – 7pm Networking Event at the Neptune Studio
Neptune Studio Theatre Lobby

This invitation-only networking / industry event will bring artists together with leaders in Canadian arts and culture to discuss their artistic initiatives and projects in development with a view to building relationships that may blossom into future collaborations, presentations or other forms of support and development.

Dinner will be provided.

10pm Prismatic Super Fantastic Dance Party Extravaganza

Conference registration includes entry to the dance party featuring the vocal stylings of the talented Reeny Smith and a special guest performance by emerging Mi'kmaq Hip Hop artists Galveston Barnaby and Dustin Isaac Googoo (Listuguj, PQ). Don't miss out on this awesome opportunity to get your Prismatic groove on.

Sunday, September 23 – Conference Day 3
Schulich School of Law (Dalhousie University)

Not Quite Continental Breakfast

9am - 10:15am
Ad Hoc Assembly Meeting (closed—AHA members only)

10:30am – noon The Talk #5
Talking Circle

At Prismatic 2010, Margo Kane of Full Circle Performance (Vancouver), spoke passionately about a guiding principle in her artistic and professional practice: the view from the tree. This is a reminder that it is not enough to look forward (or backwards) but that we must look all around in order to gain a proper perspective of where we are situated and to understand where others are, as well.

This session, a closed event for artists of colour / representatives of culturally diverse groups, is a critical opportunity to touch-base about issues that are facing our sector and to examine our internal strengths and weaknesses. The Talking Circle promotes self-reflection as a sector and exploring ways in which we can build our capacity from within.

12:15pm – 1:30pm The Talk #6
Closing Session (working lunch)

The subject matter for the closing session will be left open to the Prismatic Conference participants; we will use the last of our time together to discuss issues that arise in the course of other conference sessions.

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