Sponsored in part by

Jennifer Baichwal
Karl Beveridge
Laurie Brown
Nikita Carter
Anne-Marie DesRoches
Ferne Downey
Joy Loewen
Steven Loft
Suzy Lake smaller
Garry Neil
lorraine segato
Tonya Williams

Maintaining Creativity 8

CAN’s 8th annual conference was a rousing success!

The theme of MC8 was Artists As Agents of Change.  This overall theme was approached from three angles as you can see below.

If you missed it, or would like to see it again, here are the videos of each chapter.

Panelist Bios

Jennifer Baichwal has been directing and producing documentaries for 25 years. Among other films, installations and lens-based projects, she has made 10 feature documentaries which have played all over the world and won multiple awards nationally and internationally. These features include: Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles (International Emmy); The Holier It Gets (Best Canadian and Best Cultural Film, Hot Docs); The True Meaning of Pictures (Best Arts Doc, Geminis); Manufactured Landscapes (Best Canadian Film, TIFF, Al Gore Reel Current Award); Act of God (opening night film, Hot Docs); Payback (Sundance); Watermark (Berlin, Best Canadian Film, TFCA, and Best Feature Doc, CSA); Long Time Running (TIFF Gala); and ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch (TIFF, Sundance, Berlin, Best Canadian Film, TFCA, and Best Feature Doc, CSA).

Most recently, Baichwal directed Into the Weeds: Dewayne “Lee” Johnson vs. Monsanto Company (2022). The documentary follows the story of groundskeeper Lee Johnson and his fight for justice against agrichemical giant Monsanto (now Bayer), the manufacturer of the weed killer Roundup. It won Best Film Testimony at Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Baichwal sits on the board of Swim Drink Fish Canada. She was a Director of the Board of the Toronto International Film Festival from 2016 – 2022.

Karl Beveridge lives and works in Toronto.  He has collaborated with various trade union and community organizations in the production of his staged photographic work over the past 45 years. He works together with Carole Condé.

His work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally in both the trade union movement and public art galleries and museums.  Recently his work has been included in exhibitions: Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; the Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen, Holland; Toronto: Tributes and Tributaries, Art Gallery of Ontario; and Bienal do Mercusol, Porto Alegre, Brasil.

Karl have been active in several labour arts initiatives including the founding of the Mayworks Festival in Toronto and the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. He received an Honourary Doctorate from OCAD University in 2010, and NSCAD University in 2015; the Cesar Chavez Black Eagle Cultural Award from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Canada, in 2011; the Prix de mérite artistique from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in 2013; and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2022.

Karl has been active in CARFAC since 1969, and was the lead negotiator in establishing a collective agreement with the National Gallery of Canada under the Status of the Artist Act in 2015


Laurie Brown has built a reputation as an accomplished interviewer, writer and seasoned broadcaster. Her career started on television at CITYTV on The New Music, then at MUCHMUSIC, then to CBC’s flagship documentary show The Journal on CBC. She then moved to CBC’s THE NATIONAL to be Senior Arts Correspondent and then onwards to NEWSWORLD’s On the Arts. Laurie then moved to radio, creating and hosting The Signal, a much-loved late-night music show on CBC RADIO2. Podcasting for the last 6 years, PONDERCAST has built a loyal following with her intensely human and intimate style. Her essays on the podcast straddle philosophy, culture, science and spirituality.

Nikita Carter is a performer/composer/producer/educator/writer whose fifty year career has been focused on the discipline and practice of musical improvisation, composition and interdisciplinary collaboration. The breadth of her work includes extensive work with dance, spoken word, Intercultural music, electronics and interdisciplinary media. As a composer she has written more than one hundred works for a wide variety of instrumentations from piano and saxophone quartet, to large ensembles. Her first book Both Sides of the Great Divide is soon to be published by Transgender Publishing.
Ms. Carter is a trans woman and has a unique understanding of gender, music and story-telling.
Website: www.theenikita.com
Instagram: thee_nikita_carter


Anne-Marie DesRoches began her career at Radio-Canada in Ottawa and Winnipeg, and then worked as a policy analyst with the federal Department of Communications. In 1989, she joined the CRTC as Director of Radio and then as Manager of French-Language Broadcasting Policy. In 1999, she briefly returned to Radio-Canada as head of corporate affairs, overseeing the renewal of Radio-Canada’s licenses. From 2000 to 2009, she was Director of Public Affairs at the Union des artistes (UDA). In this role, she had to position the UDA on several issues, including the status of the artist, copyright law and other policies affecting performers. Anne-Marie Des Roches was, until its closure, Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor for the Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA).




Ferne Downey is an actor and a Past President of ACTRA National, where she served for four terms before stepping down in 2017. She had the great honour of being named ACTRA’s Woman of the Year 2023.

Ferne is most recently the Past President of the International Federation of Actors (FIA), which represents more than 90 performers’ unions in 60 countries. Previously, she served as an elected Vice-President on the Executive of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

In June 2017, Ferne received an honorary degree for her service to the community, granted by Dalhousie University, a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa – L.L.D. She is a proud graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Leadership Program, class of 2012.

Ferne is deeply committed to building a screen-based industry that incorporates diversity, inclusivity, representation and belonging. She uses her leadership roles to push for greater gender equity in front of and behind the camera and collaborated closely with cultural labour scholar, Dr. Amanda Coles on two vital reports from Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen (CUES) to persuade industry gatekeepers and decision-makers that change is imperative.

A graduate of Dalhousie University’s Theatre Program, Ferne has spent 45 years working extensively as an actor in theatre, radio, television and film, as well as producing plays with her partner, playwright Paul Ledoux. She is a proud Maritimer transplanted to Toronto.

Ferne joined the AFBS Board of Governors in 2004 and was appointed Chair in 2018.


Joy Loewen was appointed CEO of the National Screen Institute in January 2020. By providing a clear vision for the organization, Joy’s work has resulted in unprecedented growth and furthered the organization’s mission to increase the number of underrepresented storytellers through training and mentorship programs. Joy currently serves on several boards including Canada’s National Ballet School and The Winnipeg Foundation. In September 2022 Joy received the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee medal in recognition of outstanding service to her province and community.


Steven Loft is Kanien’kehá: ka (also known as Mohawk), turtle clan of the Six Nations of the Grand River, also with Jewish heritage. In 2021, he was appointed the inaugural Vice President for the Indigenous Ways and Decolonization Department at the National Gallery of Canada. Before this, he was the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Indigenous Arts and Culture and formerly Director of the Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples program with the Canada Council for the Arts. A curator, scholar, writer, and media artist, in 2010 he was named Trudeau National Visiting Fellow at Ryerson University in Toronto. Loft has also held positions as Curator-In-Residence, Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Canada, Director/Curator of the Urban Shaman Gallery (Winnipeg); Aboriginal Curator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Producer and Artistic Director of the Native Indian/Inuit Photographers’ Association (Hamilton). He has curated group and solo exhibitions across Canada and internationally; written extensively for magazines, catalogues and arts publications and lectured widely in Canada and abroad. Loft co-edited the books Transference, Tradition, Technology: Native New Media Exploring Visual and Digital Culture (2005) and Coded Territories: Tracing Indigenous Pathways in New Media Art (2014).

Steven Loft appears courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada.

Suzy Lake is an American Canadian artist living in Toronto. For over 50 years, her work has continued to use the body as either its gendered subject or its device. Although classically trained, her practice adopted performance, video, and photography as a feminist exploration into politicised  of the body, power relations and feminist issues. While the majority of Lake’s work finalises in the medium of photography, it is the performative language that directs the image, sensibility and format. Lake’s later work questions these gendered issues to focus on the of ageism the ageing body with humour, anger or poetry.

Suzy’s early video and photographic work was featured in WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution 1965-1980.  The exhibition toured major US cities plus the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2014, the Art Gallery of Ontario presented Introducing Suzy Lake, a full career retrospective. Lake was the recipient of both a Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts and Media, and the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2016.                                                                                            

Suzy’s work is represented by Mfc_Michele Didier in Paris, France. Her work is in the collection of major museums in Canada, plus significant international institutions such as: the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York, USA; Brandhorst Museum, Munich, Germany; Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris, France; Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan, USA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY. USA; Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, USA; Museum Lodz, Wroclaw, Poland; and the Sammlung Verbund, Vienna, Austria.


Garry Neil has worked for 45 years in arts and cultural policy, in Canada and internationally. He provides consulting services to governments, cultural industry firms and non-governmental organizations. He has vast experience in policies for television, film, music, publishing, visual arts, performing arts, and digital media and the Internet. Mr. Neil is an acknowledged global expert on issues related to status of the artist, and how global trade and investment agreements affect cultural sovereignty. He has spoken around the world on these topics.

Mr. Neil was a member of UNESCO’s Panel of (Cultural) Experts, and led three global projects on the state of implementation of UNESCO’s Recommendation concerning the status of the artist, the most recent in 2019. In the 1980s, Mr. Neil was a member of the Canadian government’s Advisory Committee on the Status of the Artist. Since then, he has researched these issues extensively and consulted for the federal government, four provinces, several governmental agencies, and numerous non-governmental organizations looking to improve the economic and social well-being of professional artists.  

As Executive Director of the International Network for Cultural Diversity, Mr. Neil was at the forefront of the global campaign that led to the adoption of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. The important role of artists, the unique way that artists work, and the ongoing need for governments to support them are a central theme of the Convention.

For the past 40 years, Lorraine Segato has fueled an impressive and diverse artistic career
that produced some excellent and edgy cultural work. Segato’s extensive experience as a
respected Musician, Songwriter, Filmmaker, Event Producer, Artistic Director, Lecturer and
Social Justice Activist makes her one of Canada’s leading cultural commentators and iconic
female artists. As the co-founder and lead singer of The Parachute Club, one of the most
critically lauded and commercially successful groups of the eighties, Segato had already
staked a claim as one of the few female artists of the time able to succeed on her own
terms.  Recently the bands empowerment anthem Rise Up was inducted into the
Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and this fall The Parachute Club will be inducted into
Canada’s Rock of Fame.
Segato’s experience as multi-disciplinary creator has seen her collaborating on cultural
project with numerous organizations focused on using creativity to build bridges, inspire
new talents, and break down barriers for those whose voice have been marginalized.
No matter what the medium, Segato convey’s a sense of hope using her passion, empathy
and charisma. This year, Lorraine was awarded the Order of Canada for her contributions
to the Canadian music scene and culture, as a pioneer in 2SLGBTQ+ Canadian history.


Born in London, England, Tonya Williams is an award winning actress and producer who has worked in the entertainment industry for the last forty-five years in Canada and the USA. She is best known for her nineteen years starring on the daytime drama The Young & The Restless as Dr. Olivia Winters. She is also the founder and executive director of Reelworld Screen Institute, Reelworld Film Festival and Reelworld Foundation since 2000. She founded Reelworld to address the lack of opportunities, access and inclusion in Canada for Black, Indigenous, Asian and People of Colour in the screen industries. Tonya currently sits on a number of boards including Wow Unlimited Media, The Black Academy, the Canadian Senior Artists Resource Network, is a founder and board member of the Black Screen Office, she also sits on the Telefilm Diversity & Inclusion Group, the Canadian Media Fund Black Industry Leaders Group, the Ontario Creates Advisory Committee and Canadian Creative Industries Coalitions Group. She was recently honored with the Visionary Award at The Black Academy’s second Legacy Awards ceremony, has won two NAACP Image Awards, an ACTRA Award of Excellence, a WIFT Crystal Award, the Harry Jerome Award and others. Tonya is based in Los Angeles.

MC7 Videos

MC6 Videos

The Canadian Artists Network’s 6th annual virtual conference, Maintaining Creativity 6, took place in the fall of 2021.

Scroll down to see videos of each chapter.

CAN also congratulates Elizabeth Doxtater, the winner of the third annual Visionary Artist Lifetime Award.  According to her nominator, Carol Leigh Wehking, “Elizabeth works primarily as a cornhusk-doll artist in her native Mohawk tradition. She is also a painter, writer, and oral storyteller. Elizabeth is a visionary artist deeply embedded in her Mohawk culture and traditions, and a sharer of her vision and talent.”

Click here to watch an interview with Elizabeth Doxtater

Maintaining Creativity 6 Videos

Videos of 'Maintaining Creativity V'

The Virtual Conference

Maintaining Creativity V took place in the fall of 2020. 

If you missed any part of it — or would like to see it again — here are the videos of each chapter.



Here are images from our first three conferences. You can also find videos in the video section.