Insiders Speak Out: Creative Labour and Career Strategies in the Gig Economy

Insiders Speak Out: Creative Labour and Career Strategies in the Gig Economy

📆 November 24

🕑 2:30pm - 4pm


Please join us for a “fireside chat” about the interesting journeys our guests have taken to their present positions in arts and media management. All ACM students are welcome!
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Guests include:

Owais LightwalaWhy Not Theatre Shawn NewmanToronto Arts Foundation Robin SokoloskiMass Culture / Mobilisation culturelle Michelle van BeusekomIsumaTV Noor AléThe Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Beverly ChengThe Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
Beverly Cheng

Beverly Cheng is presently the Head of Communications & Marketing at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. 

Beverly is a storyteller with more than a decade of experience leading communications strategy for start-ups to global S&P 500 companies. She is motivated by developing integrated marketing plans that shape public perception and meet business objectives, while also creating compelling content that spark a sense of community.

Prior to joining The Power Plant, Beverly led communications across 16 international hotel brands in 23 markets as the Director of Communications at Marriott International. 

Beverly is also a former magazine editor, stylist and producer specialised in design, arts and travel. Her work has been published in The South China Morning Post, Tatler, Home Journal and Blog T.O. Writing remains a prime passion in her life and she continues to compose short stories. Beverly was chosen as a performer at the 2019 Hong Kong International Spoken Word Festival and she was a regular on women in leadership panels and podcasts.

To expand on her Bachelors in Art History from the University of Toronto, Beverly completed a two-year Masters in Art and Cultural Enterprise from Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London in 2021. For her final Masters thesis, she focused on the preservation of ethnic handicrafts from Southwest Chinese minority women, creating a model that could pass on the artistry to future generations.


Owais LightwalaWhy Not Theatre


Owais Lightwala is an arts leader and creative producer. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Performance at the Creative School, at Ryerson X University, where his teaching and research focuses on creative producing, entrepreneurship and arts management. Prior to that, he spent 8 years as the Managing Director for Why Not Theatre, where he produced sold-out runs of award-winning new works, national and international tours, presentations from around the world, and co-helmed the creation of innovative new producing models like RISER. He advises many arts organizations (including theatre and dance companies, music presenters, film festivals and more) as a strategic consultant, particularly on finding better ways of doing things, changing who’s on stage and in the audience, and anything to do with numbers. He is currently on the boards of TO Live, AMY Project, and Art Ignite. Along with his work in the arts, he is a prolific web and graphic designer. A lifelong learner, he was selected for the Impact Program for Arts Leaders (Stanford Graduate School of Business), has completed the CORe program (Harvard Business School), was a 2018 DiverseCity Fellow (CivicAction), a fellow in the 2018 Leaders Lab (Toronto Arts Council/Banff Centre), is a graduate of York University’s Theatre program, and currently pursuing his MBA at Ryerson X University.



Shawn NewmanToronto Arts Foundation


Shawn is the Research & Impact Manager at Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the evaluation of TAC grants programs and Foundation initiatives and initiating collaborative research projects that support the arts and culture sectors through bridging academia and industry. Having had an international career as a dancer and choreographer, and described as “[one] of Toronto’s finest dancers” (Paula Citron, Toronto Life), Shawn then completed his PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. He has taught in the Department of Gender Studies and the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s as well as the Department of Dance at York University. His research spans many artistic disciplines while focusing on representation and power in and through critical race, disability, and gender studies.


Robin SokoloskiMass Culture / Mobilisation culturelle


Robin Sokoloski (she/her) is based in Tkaronto/Toronto on the traditional lands of Huron Wendat, Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Métis and Mississaugas of the Credit. Robin has been working in the arts and culture sector for over fifteen years. Currently, as the Director of Organizational Development of Mass Culture, Robin is working with academics, funders and arts practitioners to support a thriving arts community by mobilizing the creation, amplification and community informed analysis of research.

For 10+ years, Robin was the Executive Director of Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC).

During her time there she launched the Canadian Play Outlet (a book store dedicated entirely to Canadian Plays), fostered a growing national awards program for playwrights, the Tom Hendry Awards, and led major changes within the organization.

Robin remains committed to Canada’s arts and culture scene by volunteering for various arts organizations as a way of staying connected to the local arts community and ensuring public access to artistic experiences. Currently, she sits on Ryerson University's Centre For Free Expression Advisory Committee, the Capacity-Building in Equitable Approaches to Evaluation Project Committee, and sits on the Cultural Research Network's Steering Committee. 


Michelle van BeusekomIsumaTV


Michelle van Beusekom works as a Senior Advisor for Uvagut TV, Canada’s first national Indigenous language television channel.  Her role is focused on laying the regulatory, operational, governance and funding foundations for the long-term sustainability of the channel.  Michelle has worked in Canada’s audio-visual sector for the past 25 years, most recently as Executive Director at the Documentary Organization of Canada, and before that as  Executive Director at the National Film Board of Canada's English Program where she led the creative direction, operations and finances for five production studios across Canada. Over 200 titles were released during Michelle's tenure in this role, including many award winning and ground-breaking projects. Michelle joined the NFB in 2006 as the Assistant Director General of English Program and twice served as the Program’s Interim Director General.  She was the internal lead on the development of the NFB's Indigenous Equity Plan. She has previously worked at the CBC and WTN as a production executive and as a programmer at the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival. Michelle produced the Gemini-nominated feature Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary (2008), the interactive documentary by the same name and Making Movie History: A Portrait in 61 Parts (2014), an interactive history of the NFB. Michelle has an MA in Social and Political Thought from York University and speaks English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.


Noor AléThe Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery


Noor Alé is a curator, art historian, and writer. She is the Associate Curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. Her curatorial practice examines the intersections of contemporary art with geopolitics, decolonization, and social justice in the Global South. She has contributed to curatorial research, exhibition management, and public programmes at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Art Dubai. Alé holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, and a BA in Art History from the University of Guelph. Alongside Claudia Mattos she co-founded AXIS, an independent curatorial laboratory dedicated to exhibiting socially-engaged contemporary art. She was awarded curatorial residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Shanghai Curators Lab.