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Empowering Voices: Indigenous Relations & Self-Determination in Arts Organizational Development 

Presenters Terry-lynn, J.P. and Alex delved into the crucial intersection of Indigenous relations and self-determination in the context of arts organizational development.  


Their work aims to ignite meaningful dialogue on authentic partnerships, equity, and self-governance within the arts sector. 


They spoke to the process and development of their collaborative project, the Indigenous Creative Spaces Project (ICSP) that began in 2019. “The goal of prioritizing Indigenous self-determination in cultural spaces across, what we now call, Ontario. The foundation of this project has always been to support Indigenous-led arts spaces, stepping away from Western artistic paradigms that predicate the design, operation, and governance of arts and heritage spaces, and make way for Indigenous autonomy and connection with the land.” 

About the presenters: 

JP Longboat is a Storyteller and Multi-disciplinary Artist who is Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk), Turtle Clan, growing up along the River Ouse, Haldimand Deed territory, Ontario. JP has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree through combined education at the University of Michigan and the Ontario College of Art and Design. He has extensive professional training and practice in traditional and contemporary forms of visual art and live performance. 

JP has trained, collaborated, and performed with many professional theatre and dance companies across Canada. His work emanates from the cultural ways of his people and his creative process is grounded in the legacy of First Nations artistic practice. He is the founder and Associate Director of Circadia Indigena – Indigenous Arts Collective based in Algonquin territory, along the Kichi Sibi at Akikodjiwan Falls. The collective creates full length performance works, and land-based Multi-disciplinary festivals. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance. 


Alex Glass (she/her) is the Executive Director of ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO). She is responsible for the organization’s overall financial, strategic, and operational leadership. Alex has been with ArtsBuild for over eight years, receiving funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. She has executed grants from all these funders, as well as other projects supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. Over the years, Alex has grown ABO’s programs, partnerships and contributed to increased revenues. She also oversees 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace in partnership with the City of Kitchener which is home to 32 arts organizations and 40+ renters.  


Bringing 14 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Alex has previously worked with organizations such as the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Talisker Players Chamber Music, and Canterbury Hills Camp & Conference Centre. She has an honours degree in English and Cultural Studies from McMaster University and a graduate certificate in Public Relations from Mohawk College. 

Terri-Lynn Brennan is a cultural planning and engagement professional with 30+ years of experience across the South Pacific, the UK, Europe, Egypt, Nepal, and North America. In 2017 they launched my own consulting firm after having held diverse roles in government and academic institutions as well as in for-profit and not-for-profit agencies. With a broad social science background with credentials in the areas of public policy, archaeology, sociology, and education, and now as the CEO of Inclusive Voices Incorporated, Terri-Lynn continue to inspire societal systems to platform diverse voices and bodies inclusive of Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQQIA and differently-abled/disabled populations as leaders equitably able to sit at change-making board tables, dinner tables and café tables across the world, starting at home.


Links and Resources: 



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