Performing Feminist Culture Discussants:

Leah Houston cultivates a multi-disciplinary community-based arts practice, incorporating visual arts, installation, theatre, research, administration and performance. Leah is currently the Artistic Director of MABELLEarts, a community arts company in residence in the Mabelle community – a high density Toronto Community Housing complex in Etobicoke. MABELLEarts brings together people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to creatively transform the place that is Mabelle. Leah has worked with a diversity of organizations including: Jumblies Theatre, The Spiral Garden, Clay and Paper Theatre and Harbourfront Centre. In 2008, she was the Artist-In-Residence at Homes First Society, an alternative housing organization in Toronto.

Leah’s over-arching goal is to work with all sorts of people in order to tell the beautiful, surprising, ordinary, extraordinary stories of our lives. Leah recently completed a Master’s degree at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, exploring the promise of feminism and community arts in the context of ‘bad’ neighbourhoods.

Catherine Magowan is a bassoonist, composer, and arranger, who has been an active freelancer since 1999, and has been heard on CBC radio 2 both as a musician and composer/arranger.

As well as holding positions with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonietta, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Korean-Canadian Symphony, Catherine continues to work regularly in what has become affectionately known as “the 401 circuit.”

From 2006-2008, she managed educational programs for the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir where she assisted in the development of educational concerts, study guides and a web-game developed by Ed Tech Works. Catherine, as co-director of An Indie(n) Rights Reserve launched the new opera Giiwedin this past year with multi-disciplinary artist Spy Dénommé-Welch.

Spy Dénommé-Welch is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar who has written and produced work for theatre, short film and opera. Spy is the founder and Artistic Director of An Indie(n) Rights Reserve, an independent company that has recently co-produced the innovative, full-length opera Giiwedin, which he wrote and co-composed with Catherine Magowan and co-produced with Native Earth Performing Arts. His works have been shown at festivals, theatres, galleries and conferences both in Canada and internationally, and he has been published in journals such as Canadian Journal of Native Education and Canadian Theatre Review. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.A.H., earned his M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and is now completing his PhD in Education at York University on the topic of Indigenous music, opera and pedagogy.

Kalli Paakspuu is a Genie-winning filmmaker, scholar, new media and theatre artist. She was a 2007 resident of the Canadian Film Centre’s Interactive Art and Entertainment programme. The co-founder of the feminist non-profit organization, Womenfilm/Womenart, Kalli has curated film series in Canada and internationally, and has made films that have won international acclaim, including the feminist cult classic, I NEED A MAN LIKE YOU TO MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE (1986) and the dramatic short, OCTOBER ALMS (1978). She teaches at York University.

Bev Pike is a Winnipeg polymath. Since 1993, she has been exhibiting her large-scale paintings from two series: Microscopic Remains and Hysteria Chronicles. This work investigates perceptual regimes that create spectacle, that extend beyond the frame and engage the viewer in a complex spatial relationship. Pike also writes feminist satire, creates artist-books, videos and runs a blog called Feminist Artist Advice Column ( Her work is in collections such as the Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina), Museum of Contemporary Art (North York), Canada Council (Ottawa) and in numerous UK collections, including The Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK). Pike is currently working under two research grants to create a baroque under-ice landscape entitled Hymenal View of Chill. Pike was also a founding member of the Feminist collective MAAWA.

Vicky Moufawad-Paul is a video artist whose practice spans close to ten years. As a Palestinian born in Lebanon, she situates the personal in the political while exploring ideas of home and archival anxiety. After she completed her MFA, Moufawad-Paul programmed the Toronto Arab Film Festival for three years where she related contemporary film and video to issues of anti-colonial struggle, diaspora and (mis)representation. She is currently the programming and exhibitions coordinator at A Space Gallery in Toronto.

Symposium Co-Convenors:

Pam Patterson (PhD) has, for over 25 years, been active in the art and women’s communities. Her research, performance and teaching have focused on embodiment in art practice, the body in art, disability studies, women and gender studies, and feminist art education. She has taught for various institutions such as: Ryerson Polytechnical University, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. For the past five years she has been Research Associate for the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto and Artistic Director for the interdisciplinary arts program, WIA projects and teaching at York University in visual culture and gender, at the Art Gallery of Ontario in studio, and at Ontario College of Art and Design University in art and design education. As a performance and visual artist she was a founding member of FADO Performance and ARTIFACTS and has exhibited and performed internationally.

Jane Ngobia Since 2009, Jane Ngobia has been OCAD’s Director of Diversity & Equity Initiatives and an instructor in the Faculty of Liberal Studies. Ngobia comes to OCAD with a strong background in the practical and theoretical aspects of equity and diversity. Prior to coming to OCAD, she worked for four years as the Diversity & Leadership Officer at the University of Toronto. She is currently completing her PhD dissertation, “Internationalization and the Undergraduate Student Experience: How Domestic Students Experience Interaction with International Students,” at The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto.

As Director of Diversity & Equity Initiatives, Ngobia has collaboratively developed two policies: “Respectful work and Learning Environment Policy” and “Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) Customer Service Policy.”


Erika DeFreitas is a Toronto-based emerging artist whose practice is primarily conceptual. Through performance, public interventions, relational exchanges, and photographic documentation, she explores the influence of language, loss, and culture on the formation of identity. A graduate from the Masters in Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto, DeFreitas has exhibited projects in artist-run centers in Canada and the United States.

Carolyn Jervis, an Edmonton-based art activist, writer, curator, and educator, has combined her love for art, activism and feminism to create the art show Love Letters to Feminism, which has been exhibited across the country. This show has previously been featured at the Women’s Studies Program Gallery, University of Alberta in Edmonton, and at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Concordia University in Montreal.

Leena Raudvee is a Toronto-based visual and performance artist. As co-Artistic Director of Artifacts, a performance art company, she performed for the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, the V. MacDonnell Gallery and Hysteria and was included in the performance art anthology, “Caught in the Act” edited by Tanya Mars and Johanna Householder. In 2006, she presented a performance, “the fear of pleasure”, at the Collisions Symposium in Victoria B.C. In 2008, she exhibited performance based collages and photographs at the Fleishman Gallery in Toronto. Leena Raudvee is a curatorial and programming associate for WIAprojects and a member of the WIAprojects collective. As such, she curates exhibitions, facilitates and assists with programs and designs the exhibition catalogues.