2019 Team

Abby Grace Bangod Young Researcher/Curator, Parkdale

Abby Grace Bangod is a film student at Ryerson University. Her interests and passions revolve around the newcomer youth experiences and the sense of community that is found in community spaces with newcomers. Her parents are of Filipino descent and her mother has worked in Canada for more than 8 years. Abby’s mother has sponsored her, including her father and sister to live in Canada. Becoming a part of a newcomer youth program has helped her be more confident and knowledgeable about the services that are available for newcomers like her.

Abby hopes to utilize her passion and experience in film to tell the stories these racialized communities experienced during their settlement in Canada. She aims to understand how important it is to belong in a community that provides support for your needs.

Stephanie ChanLocal Coordinator, Victoria Park

Stephanie Chan is a second-generation Chinese-Canadian, born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, spending most of her childhood in the suburbs before moving to Toronto for university. Her parents, both from China immigrated to Canada in the 1990’s. She currently holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from York University and is passionate about community development work and is interested in how storytelling can be a catalyst for systemic change.

Fahima HaqueYoung Researcher/Curator, Regent Park

Growing up, Fahima moved around a lot and learned to find comfort in change. From flying back home six times to moving around in the same neighborhood three times, she sometimes creatively expresses herself through writing and painting. To Fahima, home isn’t just one set place, because she was born in in the States, raised in Toronto, but still feels a strong connection to her Bangladeshi roots as well. Fahima’s parents immigrated in the 90’s, lived in Victoria Park for a few years, but eventually decided to settle in Regent Park.

Maggie HutchesonProgram Director/Lead Curator

Maggie is a community-engaged artist, curator, educator and consultant. Over the past 15 years she has animated oral histories of war, gentrification, homelessness and migration in collaboration with other Toronto residents. Maggie has worked with a range of arts and non-arts organizations, including the CBC, Jumblies Theatre, MABELLEarts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Foundation and York University. She co-founded the award-winning Department of Public Memory, an arts collective that commemorates overlooked public institutions in Toronto. Maggie authored the Ontario Arts Council’s handbook on best practices in community-engaged art, has extensive teaching experience, holds a PhD in Environmental Studies and was the Lead Curator and Researcher for Block by Block in 2017.

Maggie grew up in Toronto. Her father immigrated to Montreal from London in 1955. Her mother’s family migrated from Kent, Alsace and Bukovina between 1860 and 1910.

Fatema IsamYoung Researcher/Curator, Victoria Park

Fatema Isam holds a Master’s degree in Teaching from OISE and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Sociology from the University of Toronto. As an educator, researcher, and curator, Fatema has a passion for community-based initiatives and documenting the multidimensional stories of newcomers and immigrants living in Toronto through arts-based approaches. She is also interested in conducting research on the topics of well-being, disability studies, educational psychology, cultural studies, and exploring inclusive pedagogy applied across various learning settings.

Susan JamaAssistant Curator

Susan Jama is an emerging museum professional. She is a graduate from the Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto. Her parents immigrated from Somaliland to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) in the 1980s. Susan and her entire family of 6 immigrated from the U.A.E to Canada in August 2000. As a child and as an immigrant, it has always been difficult for Susan to be able to relate museums. Her cultural identity as a Somali-Canadian has always been underrepresented, and her community’s voice has historically always been marginalised in the national narrative. As a result, she is an ardent advocate for practising inclusive strategies in museums, galleries and archives.

Brian JoeLocal Coordinator, Parkdale

Brian Joe is an arts administrator with a deep interest in community building through sharing knowledge, stories and thought. He holds a Master or Museum Studies Degree from the University of Toronto and is the son of Chinese immigrants who settled in Vancouver in the late 1970s. Brian has brought his skills to artist run centres, cultural programming initiatives and now coordinates two graduate programs at OCAD University.

Helen KetemaYoung Researcher/Curator, Victoria Park

Helen, a current graduate student, was born and raised in Toronto to Ethiopian parents. With a background in International Development Studies, she has spent time working and conducting research in her parent’s homeland. This has contributed to her ongoing interest in migrant work, diasporic communities, and urban geographies.

Helen hopes to use her experience in research, community development, and arts programming to amplify the stories of racialized communities often left out of Toronto’s mainstream narrative of multiculturalism.

Brenda LuuYoung Researcher/Curator, Agincourt

Brenda is an interdisciplinary artist and Bachelors of Social Work graduate from Ryerson University. Her growing interests and passions relate to themes of racialised identity in the Chinese Canadian community, and immigration and settlement in the GTA. Her parents are of Chinese-Vietnamese descent and escaped Vietnam during the civil unrest in the late 1970’s. Under the private sponsorship program, they and the 9,500 Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese refugees were able to settle in Canada.

SofiaYoung Researcher/Curator, Parkdale

Sofia is a 20-something first generation Chinese-Vietnamese Canadian whose parents immigrated to Canada as refugees sometime in the 1970s/1980s from Saigon. After living in and out of the city, her family settled in suburban Toronto. Currently, she is a writer/editor, community volunteer, peer support worker, and event producer living in downtown Toronto.  Having developed an interest in community radio over the years, she has a monthly show on Montreal-based n10.as radio, where she showcases the musical selections of POC-identified, musicians, artists, and listeners. As a writer and researcher, she is interested in the different ways in which diasporic communities shape neighbourhoods and how neighbourhoods help define diasporic communities.

James MalekzadehYoung Researcher/Curator, Victoria Park

James’ work as a documentarian is focused on introducing the audience to new perspectives within the ever-changing urban environment. Having lived and worked throughout the Greater Toronto Area, he strives to allow people to reflect on preconceived notions of status and place. His previous short documentaries have covered topics such as housing, transit, heritage, and education. As he continues to grow his practise, he looks forward to discovering new methods of storytelling such as Immersive Video, Installation Art, and Interactive Applications.

Tenzin NorzinYoung Researcher/Curator, Parkdale

Tenzin Norzin immigrated to Canada as an adolescent from India. Born to Tibetan refugee parents, she grew up stateless in India and Nepal before her family was granted asylum in Canada. Her personal experiences have inspired her to explore and gain a deeper understanding of issues associated with integrating into a new culture while honoring one’s own roots.

Tenzin recently graduated with a Bachelors of Science from Ryerson University, majoring in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in Psychology. She is passionate about public health research, with an interest in the social determinants of health and it’s implications for immigrant communities.

Joanna PrescodLocal Coordinator, Agincourt

Joanna is a cultural worker that enjoys facilitating community-engaged projects. She is a Master’s candidate at York University. Her research focuses on the representation of race and gender within Visual Culture.

Joanna is the founder of Social Uniforms, a platform that uses clothes and stories to discuss topics relating to invisibility and subjectivity.

Joanna is a proud Vincentian. Her mother and father immigrated to Toronto from the Caribbean in the 1960s

Sampreeth RaoYoung Researcher/Curator, Agincourt

Born near the cradling waves of Goa, India, Sampreeth immigrated to the diverse suburbs of Scarborough as a nosy youngin’ with a bowl-cut. As a filmmaker, he is elated to discover stories that would otherwise go untold. In the process, he hopes to learn a little about his own history.

Melana RobertsLocal Coordinator, Regent Park

Melana is an award winning researcher, curator, community builder, and consultant. Her work sits at the intersection of community development, policy and art. She sees art as an important tool to interrogate issues of space, access and power, forcing us to confront questions that can shift and subvert dominant practices, ideas and history-making processes to build cities that work for everyone. Melana’s curatorial work aims to centre the experience of racialized artists and communities and has been featured at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has consulted on various community-arts projects in Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana and across Toronto.

Born and raised in Toronto, Melana’s maternal and paternal lineage is rooted in Trinidad and Guyana respectively, with both her parents coming to Canada before adulthood.

Sara SeeYoung Researcher/Curator, Regent Park

Originally from Malaysia, Sara is currently studying public history and sexuality studies in Toronto. With a strong interest in the social histories of marginalised communities, she is very excited to work with the Regent Park community and wants to continue combining her academic background with community-based work.

Shafia ShaikhYoung Researcher/Curator, Regent Park

Shafia Shaikh is an artist, curator, and community organizer, currently living and working in Toronto. She is the founder of The E.W.o.C. Project; an initiative dedicated to expanding
representation and creating opportunities for women of colour through community public art
projects, youth workshops, and street art.

Shafia spent her childhood in India, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda, before immigrating with her
family to Scarborough, Ontario.

Anika TabovaradanYoung Researcher/Curator, Agincourt

Anika a second-generation Scarborough native of Tamil Sri Lankan parents. They majored in Equity Studies at the University of Toronto. Anika is interested in how oral histories can fill the affective gaps left by other forms of recorded history. They are not on social media, but you can usually find them sitting at the back of the 21 bus.