Performer & Panelist Information
Alberta Chinese Dance Association
The Alberta Chinese Dance Association was founded in 2010 to promote the rich heritage of Chinese art and culture through various forms of folk dance and classical dance. Their group consists of dancers ranging from age 5 to adult with diverse skill levels. Their dance routines represent the different provinces and ethnic groups in China, with their own dialect, traditions, and dances. In the past, they have performed at Canada Day, Chinese New Year’s celebrations, K-Days and other multicultural events. In addition to promoting Chinese cultural awareness, the Alberta Chinese Dance Association encourages physical activity for both children and adults and for all students to have fun.
Alberta Chinese Outdoor Adventure Club
The dance team of Alberta Chinese Outdoor Adventure Club (ACOAC) is a dance group composed of dance lovers. They take dance lessons with a professional dance coach each week.
The dance team has performed elegantly for various events held in Edmonton. In the last several years, the dance team has performed annually in Edmonton Heritage Festival, Edmonton Lunar New Year Extravaganza, Edmonton Spring Festival, and other events. Their performances have been received warmly.
Aviv Israeli Folk Dance Association
History – The Aviv Israeli Folk Dance Association (AIFDA) was formed in the Spring of 2006, by choreographer and artistic-director, Sari Uretsky-Leung. “Aviv” is the Hebrew word for “Spring” and this group definitely has a Spring in their step! The not-for-profit group consists of men and women ages 18 and up. All the dancers are volunteers who devote their spare time to rehearse and perform Israeli Folk Dance.
Celtic Ceilidh Dance Academy
Keeping Celtic dance tradition alive in Edmonton, the performing group from Celtic Ceilidh Dance Academy has received superb reviews for their fusions of Irish and Highland Dance. This local Celtic dance group celebrates their heritage while entertaining the masses with their traditional and choreographed numbers. If you enjoy a high energy performance featuring the sounds of Celtic music, including bagpipes - with people who are proud of their heritage and are dedicated to doing something cultural - this is something you’ll want to see. There is an obvious passion within the group and their choreographers that spills over into the audience.
Emily Chu is an award winning illustrator, specializing in editorial and commercial illustration. Her clients include Reader's Digest, Macleans, and Telus, to name a few. Emily enjoys drawing in her sketchbook and has recently completed #OnLocationYEG, a book project funded by the Edmonton Arts Council. She is also active in the maker/market scene, making illustrated products under her side project, BuhaoLife.
Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market
The market is now located in the GWG/Army & Navy building located at 10305 97st in downtown Edmonton. Crews of hard working hands have spending many hours getting this amazing building ready for our vendors and customers.
Parking is Free! We have 2 parking lots which are free all day Saturday and Sunday, all year round! You can find these lots directly behind the building, and on the south side of 103ave. Be sure to look for the EDFM Farmers Market FREE parking signs to point you in the right direction.
Edmonton Hung Mon Athletic Club
Fitness, friendship, and fun are our top values, and this is exemplified in our school and performances.
We are supported by the global Chinese Freemasons, a society that fought for justice, peace, and prosperity, dating back to the Qing dynasty. This spirit transcends to how we perform our lion dance. This is what sets us apart from everyone else.
That is why we are an integral part of the grand opening of every new business, weddings, birthdays, and festivals.
Ensemble Topaz is an integrated music and dance ensemble dedicated to performing arts from the Central Asian South Asian and Eastern European traditions.
Hong De Cultural & Athletic Association
Hong De Cultural and Athletic Association is a non-profit association incorporated since 2009. The objectives of Hong De are to develop and promote the art of Dragon and Lion Dance as a cultural sport with systematic training programs of International standard and to contribute to the enrichment of Canada’s multicultural society. They offer programs in Hok San Lion Dance, Chinese Dragon Dance, Martial Arts, and Traditional Chinese Drumming.
ICAN Seniors Association
ICAN Seniors Association was established in August 2017 and was registered in December 2019.
We aim to prevent isolation of seniors facing multiple cultural barriers through English literacy training, community events, and networking opportunities.
online and physical English classes,
With support from over 80 volunteers, we are serving more than 700 seniors in Alberta.
We encourage accelerated acculturation process and to enhance the overall well-being of immigrant seniors and their family members through collaboration and partnership with various communities and organizations via initiatives, projects and programs.
A retired teacher, Karen Gall is a tireless champion of promoting human rights, multiculturalism, and interfaith dialogue across communities, building bridges that foster learning and understanding among diverse cultures and faiths.
Karen serves in leadership capacities at her synagogue, Temple Beth Ora, holds the office of Vice President of the Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation, and as Chair of the Harmony Brunch – an annual event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She is also a Director of the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, an organizer of the Interfaith Pride Service.
Her awards included a Multiculturalism Award by CMEF, the Chavara Friendship Award by Hadassah-WIZO, an award which recognizes work in fostering learning and understanding among people of various communities and Daughters Day Award.
Kokum Doreen Wabasca
My name is Frances Doreen Wabasca. I was born in Grouard Alberta on January 18, 1940.
I have an Iroquois, Ojibwe, Soto, Dene and Cree bloodline, but I only spoke Cree at home.
I started Residential school at the age of eight and after a while there, we were allowed to go home on weekends and it was during that time I spoke only Cree at home and paid close attention to the Culture and Tradition of our lifestyle because I was determined not to forget any part of it as many had been experiencing. At that time I also learned the use of traplines for trapping animals for their furs and moose hunting for meat for the family. I learned how to do seaming nets and commercial fishing, building boats and all the skills I will need to pass on later to my people who have lost them. I was taught by my father Peter Wabasca. It was outlawed for us to speak the language and wear our traditional regalia at the school. If we were caught disobeying this rule, we were strapped and punished, witnessing this I was determined to keep my culture and later re-educate those who had lost it. I became a Culture Carrier and in 1970, started teaching my Cree language not only to my people but also to the RCMP, nurses and Social workers so that they could communicate with Indigenous people there. During that time, I attended Keyano College to gain Industrial training and later became the first Indigenous woman to be employed in the Industrial world.
Being a Cultural Carrier I have been teaching elements of our culture, traditions, and Language such as the making of mocassins, beading, dreamcatchers, medicine wheels, moss bags, quilting, bonnets at the same time speaking our language during the session as a way to revitalize what we were losing. I have been teaching in Senior Centers to survivors of the residential schools who wish to regain their culture and tradition, young unwed mothers who wish to learn their heritage and were never taught before and non-indigenous who wish to learn about our culture, tradition, and language.
I am presently teaching in eight schools, daycare centers, and the Girl Guides Cree language, beading and making of dreamcatchers and to the middle school and High school my story as a Survivor.
I am also a Genealogist for the past 26 years and have been researching the history of my native people.
I am a Board member and a National Elder within the National Congress of Aboriginal Peoples in Ottawa.
In recognition of my strength and courage as an Aboriginal woman and for my community work and contribution in the Industrial field, I was given the Esquao Award in 2002.
I believe now is the time that I share the story of my survival and paving the road for other indigenous women.
Mary Stinchcombe is a 17 year old, high school graduate, who has loved performing since the age of 3.
She has been involved in musical theatre, and singing at numerous events and places such as, Festival Place, West Edmonton Mall, as well as numerous other malls, for Remembrance Day , Valentines’ day, as well as other events. Other performances have been at the Edmonton International Airport, Ukraine Village, senior homes, trade fairs, rodeos, campgrounds, fund raisers, special events, Festival of trees, Canada day, Bridge of Life (world suicide prevention awareness day), Autumn Chinese Lantern Festival and Lunar Festival, weddings and many other events around Alberta including BVJ, The Kingsway Legion and at a dinner for the Premier of Alberta.
She has been interviewed by APTN National news twice, the latest being Sept of 2019, as well as having articles in two of Strathcona Countrys’ newspapers.
She has currently been in the recording studio and has released her first CD.( Out of my Reach). Her new recordings are being played Nationwide on Indigenous airwaves, various radio stations across Canada and in Texas.
In March she went to Ottawa to represent Alberta Metis and took part in the Indspire awards, having a solo part and doing backup singing for Leela Gilday, which was aired on June 21st on CBC and APTN.
She has also performed the National anthem for Edmonton Prospects baseball, Jr. world curling and for the Strathcona Chamber of Commerce.
She is known for singing songs from Broadway, the classics, country, standards, 40ies, to the 80ies, and other oldies with a little opera thrown into the mix for a well rounded variety.
With a splendid repertoire that draws heavily from the rich traditions of West African performance art, Sangea continues to brilliantly redefine what it means to revitalize tradition and in turn, captivate a modern audience. Sangea is a diverse West-African performance group made up of 8 members from several countries in Africa, and from Mexico and Canada. The name of the group means female leader and is a common name given to young girls in Liberia. Established in 2012, the group has grown from being a household name amongst several communities within the Edmonton area, to becoming a leader in the forward progression of traditional West-African music, dance, poetry, and theatre in it's home province and across the country at large.
All of its growth and success can be attributed to it's steadfast mission to preserve and share African culture, to captivate and inspire it's audience, and to build cultural bridges through artistic expression.
Sangea is the winner of the 2015 Fil Fraser Award for Outstanding Performance, the winner of the Afro-Canadian Heros Artist of the Year award in 2014 and the winner of the 2013 and 2014 Excellent Community Initiative Group Award by Action for Healthy Communities.
The group led with the proud support of its audience and its community when it expanded to create an academy division that teaches West-African drumming and dancing. Sangea organizes an annual themed family-friendly concert that is growing to become one of the highest points of the year in Edmonton’s festival calendar. The group continues to perform at festivals, community and private events, schools, weddings, and all other kinds of events all throughout the year. All of the group’s success has not obscured its mission to inspire its audience and leave behind a legacy that reminds all of the priceless wealth in preserving and sharing tradition, and the power of using artistic expression as a medium for inspiring others and uniting all.
Shang De Tai Chi Praying Mantis Martial Arts Association
“Shang De” in Chinese means “the highest virtues” – a code of conduct for all beings in our daily lives. We firmly believe that one must master the virtues of obligation, integrity, loyalty, trust, respect, benevolence, peace and harmony before mastering the art of kung fu. Our association is a non-profit society committed to teaching traditional Chinese kung fu and tai chi. All instructors teach openly to all who want to learn these arts.
The Ukrainian Shumka Dancers danced their way across Canada and around the world since 1959. Shumka is Canada’s only professional Ukrainian dance company. Shumka is currently creating a new work called Echoes of Hopak. The Hopak is the ultimate celebration of Ukrainian culture.
South Asian Arts Movement
SAAM started its original operations as a community based organization on February 10th, 2007. The original founder, Ashley Kumar, wanted to provide a collective focused approach to provide learning & performing opportunities for students and established artists in Edmonton. SAAM is a non-profit organization. The only studio in Alberta that teaches Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Bollywood Bhangra, South Asian Urban Fusion (hip hop_ and an exclusive boys dance class all under one roof. Their goal is to boost both the South Asian Arts and South Asian Artists in Edmonton and across Canada. Their focus is to not only build dance skills in their students, but LIfe Skills, while imparting a cultural connection and encouraging diversity and acceptance in reaching the mainstream with their art forms.
The Edmonton QiPao Club
The Edmonton Qipao Club was founded in March 2017. As a non-profit organization, we have trained over 300 individuals in the art of Qipao performance. We have participated in many major events across Edmonton including the K-Days Parades, Edmonton Heritage Festival, Chinese Spring Festival Celebrations, as well as in several performances with renowned Chinese actress Xu Songzi's Orenda Drama Society across Alberta. We have also performed at a seniors centre in Edmonton, as well as taken part in many charitable Christmas events. Furthermore, we have appeared as guests in several public school performances.
In the 2019 Chinese New Year Gala, we were congratulated by Lu Xu, the consul general of the PRC in Calgary, and in October of that year, we received top prize at the Vancouver Charity Qipao Festival.
Since its inception, the Edmonton Qipao Club has received the support and sponsorship of all kinds of people. As the very first Qipao Club in Edmonton, our members come from a wide array of professions including doctors, teachers, accountants, engineers, radio hosts and more.
We are a group of enthusiastic ladies who delight in spreading joy to others through our wonderful performances.
In our three years as a group, we have made many achievements and we hope to continue serving Alberta with the art of Qipao performance.
Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Edmonton
Volya (Воля) is the Ukrainian word for “freedom”. Freedom to express oneself through the art of Ukrainian dance is the founding principle of Volya. For ensemble members, Volya is a style, a philosophy and an inspiration to continually stretch their physical and artistic limits.
For 30 years, Edmonton-based Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble has enthralled local, national and international audiences with its exciting and innovative choreography. Under the leadership of highly-respected Artistic Director Zhenia Bahri, Volya combines the highest standards of technical excellence with the intricate footwork and athletic artistry that are the hallmarks of Ukrainian dance at its very best.
Zoe Yee is a high school student in the Mandarin Chinese bilingual program. Zoe is active in school band, jazz band, honor band, and musical theatre pursuits. She loves singing and playing music in English and in Chinese.
Zoe has been taking piano and voice lessons since she was in kindergarten, and has performed in many recitals, competitions, shows, and cultural events around Edmonton since she was 6 years old.
Many of Zoe’s performances are popular on her YouTube channel (youtube.com/jyee777) and other social media as well.
Panel Speakers - Multiculturalism in the Current Context
Svetlana Pavlenko arrived with her husband in Edmonton, the city they now call home, from Novosibirsk, Siberia just over 13 years ago.
In 2015, Avenue Magazine named Svetlana as one of Edmonton's Top 40 Under 40 for her work "helping seniors of all nationalities and faiths live fuller and richer lives while also bridging the gap between generations".
Svetlana has been the Executive Director of the Jewish Senior Citizen’s Centre for more than 10 years where she works to promote the multicultural senior’s community and to build intergenerational connections. Svetlana is also a president of the International Leadership Centre SVETA INC. that provides consulting and training services in the areas of leadership, management and projects’ development. Svetlana’s holds an MA in leadership and PhD in philosophy and sociology.
Frankline Agbor is a community builder with the conviction of a man with a mission, combined with the success of sustained community projects. In a world where media and journalism are struggling to make ends meet, Diversity Magazine has developed a flourishing business in both Edmonton and Calgary.
Satya Brata Das
Satya Brata Das is a seasoned strategist, author, board director, and policy guru. He is a frequent commentator and public speaker in both French and English, in media and on stage. Satya's volunteer work is deeply informed with a lifelong commitment to human rights as a way of life, and the principles of human dignity espoused by M.K. Gandhi.
Satya's books span some of the most compelling challenges of our times, offering intimate vignettes and deep exploration of the points where society, culture, economy, and environment come together. His latest book Us is a journey towards a different kind of future, for all who share the planet.
Jwamer (Joey) Jalal
Jwamer Jalal arrived in Canada as a child in a family of United Nations-sponsored Kurdish refugees from Iraq and is currently working as a cultural broker with the Multicultural Health Broker cooperative in Edmonton—a not-for-profit organization that started 25 years ago to support Edmonton’s newcomers. The organization’s goal is to enhance the health and well-being of families and foster their efforts at building community so they could thrive and actively contribute their talents and cultures
Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Beryl Scott moved to the UK where she trained as a Registered Nurse and Midwife. After moving to Canada in 1976, she worked as a nurse in Hamilton, ON and Edmonton. Since retiring, Beryl continues to be active in nursing and union organizations. In all her professional and volunteer activities, Beryl has been a mentor for others and a champion for human rights.
Beryl is a strong, caring woman who has never been a spectator in any aspect of her life. She is passionate about creating an inclusive society free of racism through systemic changes and intercultural understanding. Beryl reaches out to individuals from diverse communities, involving them in activities that benefit society in order to create a better life for all.
She is currently the President of the Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation.
Panel Speakers - Artists and Performers Staying Creative in COVID-19
Shawn Tse, Film Maker, Fallout Media
Shawn Tse (he/him) is an amiskwacîwâskahikan/Edmonton based artist, filmmaker, and educator passionate about social change through arts and media. Shawn is passionate about working with ethnocultural organizations and community members to help raise awareness and empower underrepresented voices through Heritage and Arts projects.
Shawn’s love of community and storytelling has helped him develop the intergenerational cooking show “Seconds, Please!” and lead a community arts project “Figure 一, 二, 三, 六, 八” using Chinese ink paintings & film to highlight the historical and cultural impacts of Edmonton’s ever-changing Chinatown.
Nisha Patel, Edmonton Poet Laureate
Nisha Patel is an award-winning Indo-Canadian poet and artist. She is the 2019 Canadian Individual Slam Champion and Edmonton Slam Champion, and a recipient of the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund Award. She is also the Executive Director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival. Nisha has performed across Canada and the world, sharing her work on multiple tours and international features from Glasgow and Berlin to Seoul. She is also published in two chapbooks, Water and Limited Success. Her poetry speaks to themes of race, feminism, and identity, focusing strongly on her struggles and triumphs as a woman of colour. She strives to build strong relationships, mentorship and opportunities for artists around her, believing in the possibility and forgiveness of the Edmonton arts scene.
Mustafa Rafiq, Multidisciplinary Artist, Black Arts Matter
Mustafa Rafiq is a multidisciplinary artist based in Treaty 6 land in Edmonton, Alberta. Their primary focus recently has been in exploring feelings connected with diaspora, gender expression and alienation through sound art. They also promote shows under Sweaty Palms which is, at it's root, an organization based on amplifying comfort in community. Space to create and show work amongst your peers.
Mustafa also performs as a solo artist under the moniker of Family Injera, a project which has taken many forms. They have also been a part of installations at Nuit Blanche Edmonton, Mcluhan Arts House (for Lauren Crazybull's Artist Residency Showing) and various presentations at Mile Zero Dance and Good Women Dance Society.
Elsa Robinson, Multimedia Artist and Teacher
Elsa Robinson is an Edmonton-based mixed media artist, sculptor and painter whose decades-long devotion to artistic practice has imbued her work with vibrancy, versatility and an intuitive spiritual poignancy. Elsa Robinson has become a celebrated and award-winning artist. Most notably, Elsa was the recipient of the 2012 Fill Fraser Award for Outstanding Work in Visual Arts, as awarded by the National Black Coalition of Canada.
Elsa Robinson is also a passionate and experienced arts educator who facilitates workshops for artists of all ages and experience levels. She is a Registered Service Provider with Edmonton Public Schools facilitating workshops in both English and French.
Becca Taylor, Artist, Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective
Becca Taylor is a multi-disciplinary artist, youth coordinator and curator of Cree, Scottish and Irish decent. Her practice involves investigations of Indigenous community building and Indigenous feminisms through various mediums including textiles, beading, and installation. Taylor has a long history of working within the Aboriginal communities in Edmonton and Winnipeg, including her position as the Art Program Coordinator for the North End Arts Centre, co-organizing Walking Beyond, the youth-led exhibition in correlation with Walking with Our Sisters in Winnipeg. Taylor was recently the Aboriginal Curator-in-residence at Urban Shaman, awarded through the Canada Council for the Arts (2015/16) and was the Indigenous Curatorial Practicum at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2017.
Becca is currently co-curating the 2018 iteration of La Biennale d'art contemporain autochtone (BACA) in Montreal, QC, entitled níchiwamiskwém | nimidet | my sister | ma soeur with Niki Little opening in Spring 2018. She is also a core-member of the Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective and is based out of Edmonton, Alberta.
Panel Speakers - Reflection on Integrating Culture into Learning and Professional Work
David Ridley began as Edmonton Heritage Council staff in April 2009, working with the EHC’s steering committee before the official founding of the Council in November 2009 and as its Executive Director. His past work in heritage has been as a cultural community researcher with the Royal Alberta Museum and director of research with the Heritage Community Foundation.
He has worked on several projects documenting, interpreting and writing about local cultural life and religious tradition in a number of Alberta communities. He has served as a volunteer director with historical Rundle’s Mission Society, the United Church Historical Society and is currently active with his neighbourhood’s community league.
Stephen Williams is the Director of Grants, Awards & Support Programs at the Edmonton Arts Council. He joined the Arts Council in 2010 after holding positions with the Government of Alberta and the Canada Council for the Arts. Before moving into those roles he was an active trumpet player, stage manager, community band conductor and music educator in Northern Alberta. Stephen holds a music Diploma from Grant MacEwan College, now MacEwan University, a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Alberta, and recently completed a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Dalhousie University. He lives in Edmonton with his family, including the cats Mary and Pippin.