Arts Leadership

NextUp! Leaders Lab

Welcome to NextUp!

Welcome to NextUP! 

NextUp! Leaders Lab is a 1-year  professional development training focused on mentorship and education and networking. We provide tools to prepare young racialized arts leaders, with a priority on Black and Indigenous individuals, to step into strategic leadership of their own arts initiative and senior-level positions in Arts Administration.

Why NextUP!?

A quick scan of (Non-Cultural specific) community arts organizations and the local and provincial funding agencies which fund them show that 77% of those in Senior or Executive Level positions are white, white-passing or non racialized (scan conducted by ArtReach & Sketch in 2019). Only 23% are racialized, including 16% identifying as Black or Indigenous. As we continue to add to this data, the percentage of Black or Indigenous leadership decreases.

The lack of representation of racialized arts leaders is a result of access barriers rooted in systemic oppression and specific models and knowledge being prioritized over others. Next Up aspires to support the shift toward a more equitable and diverse arts and culture sector by changing the face of leaders who hold significant decision-making power. Next Up aims to strategically support access using a ‘know the system to change the system’ approach.

Who is NextUp! for?

Our next cohort has 12 spots available for someone 18-35* who:

  • Identifies as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour 
  • May identify as trans or non Binary 
  • Is holding coordination or management-level positions in an arts organization seeking to step into executive leadership in their own or other arts & culture organization
  • Is seeking to transition their arts based initiative/practice into an organization 

How to apply:

  1. Fill out application form 
  2. We’ll be in touch with next steps.

*If you’re over 35 but NextUp! Leaders Lab is for you, let’s talk!

The program is centered around 4 learning pillars and divided into 4 sections over a one year period:

Empowerment 

Next Up is a co-learning space, our cohort members come with a unique set of experiences and knowledge and we encourage participants to approach leadership with their authentic selves. We build Cohort connections through group discussions, regular meetings and small projects. We also provide opportunities for cohort members to lead and facilitate knowledge sharing within the program and as alumni.

During the first 2 months of the program, cohort members work with the group mentor to 

build connection within the cohort by creating co learning agreements, reviewing and adding to our community of practice and set goals and intentions for their learning journey. 

Education 

Skill Development Modules delivered online and in person. Facilitators are professionals bringing in their analysis of power, wealth distribution, imposter syndrome and inequitable access in the context of being racialized leaders navigating often predominantly white spaces. Each module has 1 creative practice assignment connected to the content for the NextUp! cohort to work on in their own time. Cohort members are given on average 2-4 weeks to complete the module.

Mentorship 

Cohort members have access to the 1:1 mentors  throughout the program, mentorship events are introduced in month 7.

Our mentorship component includes:

  • 1 on 1 mentorship from 6 arts and culture professionals with a wide range of expertise in management and executive leadership.
  • 1 Group Mentor to support group dynamics, building and maintaining mentor relationships and goal tracking. 
  • Additional check-in from the program coordinator to support with building professional relationships, group dynamics and project management
  • Partner curated mentorship panels and talk

Networking

Networking opportunities come up throughout the year and we believe building social capital is an integral part of leadership development, our current networking component includes:

  • Partner produced networking events
  • Continued Alumni engagement after the program ends.
  • Monthly Newsletter inclusive of relevant event listings, opportunities and cohort member spotlights
  • Group field trips to  different events related to the arts and culture sector.
  • Opportunities to skill share and speak about your work

We believe Personal Development and wellness are integral to any professional development journey.

In partnership with Lifted By Purpose , we are offering participants 20 hours of talk therapy for the duration of the program.

 

Introducing Next Up Lite!

NextUp! Lite is a compact version of the NextUp! Program that focuses on Education and Networking for busy arts admin professionals. 

Next Up Lite includes: 

  • 7 Online and in person modules over the course of 1 year 
  • Access to networking events and opportunity 

The program begins November 1st and meetings are held in the evenings twice a month

 

We are now accepting applications for NextUp! Leaders Lab and Nextup! Lite

APPLY TODAY!

Application Deadline: October 16th, 2023

 

Meet our 2022 Cohort!

We’re excited to meet our new cohort for 2022-2023!

Ammarah Syed (she/her)

Ammarah Syed (she/her)


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Ammarah’s practice in arts based wellness explores how modern-day discourses such as capitalism, colonialism, and various power dynamics have developed to inform the way we perceive mental health, identity, and sexuality. Ammarah explores in their work, how words among other factors, influence emotion, culture, and politics. Through a mix of calligraphy, photography, movement, somatic experiencing, and the written word Ammarah strives to decolonize and deconstruct the margins through wellness arts.

Ashley Thomas

Ashley T. (she/her)

Ashley Thomas

Ashley T. (she/her)


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As a young, Black Biracial, Bisexual Woman with Type II Bipolar Disorder from Toronto, Ashley T. has coined herself as the “Bi-Fecta.” She is a multidisciplinary artist who creates within the realms of abstract visual art, literary art, and performance art. She works with diverse materials spanning from acrylic paints on canvas, to ink on paper, to her voice on the mic, to her body on the stage. She uses art to ground and remind herself of the power she possesses to be a positive change in this world. Each piece she creates is a small chapter of her visual memoire.

Christina de la Cruz (she/her)

Christina de la Cruz (she/her)


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My name is Christina de la Cruz (she/her), and I am a practicing dance artist, working in both the commercial entertainment industry, as well as the street dance community. My interests revolve around Black diasporic cultural production, archiving street dance, caring for/curating dancing bodies, and Black identity in Canadian art.

On a personal level… I take steps every day to move closer to my core values of abolition, care and freedom. I am a terrible but persistent baker. I am curious about the way we, as a society, value knowledge. I am a Prince fanatic.

INSTAGRAM

Joy Brown (she/her)

Joy Brown (she/her)


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I am an ever-evolving being, learning and unlearning, and growing in love and light. I am the dream that sprouted from concrete, rooted in the belief that it is my birthright to thrive. I am JOY personified.

My purpose is embedded in my name, and it is to be Joy, experience joy, and be a joy to others. I have been on a journey of reclaiming, releasing, and remembering. The Creator and Mother Earth are my greatest teachers, they invite me to be in community, share my gifts and receive wisdom and love from others. It is in community where I remembered and reclaimed my power.

I am a poet, community healer, creatrix, and spiritual and physical being invested in the liberation of all from systems that keep us disconnected from each other and ourselves.

May we all rise, fully empowered, with open hearts and hopeful eyes.

Blessings!

Justine (she/her)

Justine (she/her)


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“Art gives space to the unheard voices – art is a way of sharing and honouring stories.”

Justine is a Colombian refugee, community member and artist who does not like labels or talking about herself, and identifies as a person who is trying to live and create in an often-unkind society. Justine is an outreach worker, devoted to carving out creative drop-in spaces in shelter hotels that support creativity, community, and social interactions. Justine hopes to continue to inspire people to share their stories through creative mediums that honour creation with equity, love, and respect. Art inspires dialogue toward social change.

Meena Rizwan (she/her)

Meena Rizwan (she/her)


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Meena Rizwan (she/ her) is a multidisciplinary artist, project manager, and consultant based in Tkaronto. Her practice involves installation, film, audio, woodwork, metalwork, web design, photography, and performance.  Her work examines themes of alienation, race, sexuality, consciousness, play, and displacement, and by doing so, aims to engage and connect communities. Meena’s work is informed by her positionality as a woman of color and newcomer settler born in Pakistan and raised on Long Island and in Tkaronto. She strives toward accessibility and inclusive design in her practice and has consulted for various organizations on issues pertaining to anti-oppressive practice and strategic planning. She additionally has hosted and managed events (including DIY and conference), coordinated exhibits, produced curriculums and facilitated workshops, and created employment opportunities for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community members. Meena has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts degree in Gender Studies and Feminist Research from McMaster University.

Paddy Leung (they/them)

Paddy Leung (they/them)


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Paddy Leung (they/them) is an Queer, Canadian Chinese professional artist, arts educator and community leader. Working with mixed media, sculpture and installation. Paddy’s work explores experimental artforms and ideas through an activist lens. Their socially engaged practice aims to strengthen the communities that they serve. Paddy design projects and hosts community events that are intended to get people engaged with the creative process, while sharing their own experience of art as a tool for growth and positive change, both personal and collective. Their practice has focused largely on community arts and providing inclusive programming, primarily for youth. Working with, AGO Youth: Free After Three, VIBE Arts, Xpace Cultural Center, Visual Arts of Mississauga and Design Exchange, among others, Paddy is helping to transform the landscape of Toronto’s community arts scene.

WEBSITE INSTAGRAM

Susana Meza (she/they)

Susana Meza (she/they)


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Susana Meza (she/they) is a mad and queer artist, poet, and educator from Venezuela. Susana’s work is infused with intentional happiness and it responds to her recovery journey, and the desire to spread joy. Susana is currently preoccupied with the preservation of memories, retracing family migrations, and diasporic trauma. Susana is a Yale University fellow and founded ReclaimedArts.ca as her final project, she sits on the Member Advisory Committee of Workman Arts, and is a Writers Collective of Canada facilitator. Susana is actively working on various solo and group shows and is on the 2023 cohort of the Global Leaders Program.

Tafari Hall (he/him)

Tafari Hall (he/him)


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Tafari Hall  is an active member of Ottawa’s underground music scene organizing live events, offering services as a live audio technician and mentoring young artists. He is the lead coordinator and co-founder of a youth-led organization called “Produced By Youth”, where he fulfills his passion for serving Ottawa’s creative community. He mentors, teaches and facilitates Black youth like himself — giving them the tools and resources to create and release their own music projects