The Dias:stories Team
Ananda Gabo is a multi-disciplinary designer and community organizer who loves to explore complex systems. Their breadth of work has led them to working in kitchens, as a forager, researching hardware manufacturing in Shenzhen, working in a robotics factory, deploying mutual aid, food justice education, and creating space for community based biology projects. Although vast, their explorations stem from a desire to build skills of extreme resiliency.
They are a big fan of music, gaming, and finding delicious snacks.
Pivoting from her career as a touring musician, in 2018, April begun her solo foray into sound art. She mentored under pioneering sound artist Christina Kubisch at the Darmstadt Summer Course New Music Festival, studying and recording "hidden" electromagnetic sounds as well as site specific, immersive sound installations. April attempts to create sonic works that gently ask one to question socio-political systems and reality. April values amplifying unheard voices, and has made 19 documentaries for CBC Arts that feature groundbreaking artists and musicians. As a Filipinx-Canadian artist, she is a strong believer in empowering others with the knowledge to be an autonomous artist and strives to build conscious communities. She regularly gives artist talks and workshops, and infuses working on community projects into her artistic practice. She has worked with emerging artists at the Kapisanan Philippine Art Centre, Venus Fest and Girls Rock Camp. She has taught related courses at various universities.
Casey Mecija is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at York University and holds a PhD from the University of Toronto. Her current research theorizes sounds made in and beyond Filipinx diaspora to make an argument about a “queer sound” that permeates diasporic sensibilities. Her work suggests that media production enables diasporic people to create forms of belonging that defy racialized ascriptions born from racism, colonialism, and their gendered dimensions. She is also a musician and filmmaker, whose work has received a number of accolades and has been presented internationally.
Immony Mèn is an artist, educator, and community-based researcher. He is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University. As an artist, he has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been awarded municipal, provincial, and federal arts council grants to support his work. His research focuses on developing a theoretical framework for understanding (Khmer/Cambodian) diasporic experience through media praxis, critical race theory, and various forms of community engagement. Men’s practice takes the form of research-creation projects such as interactive installations, interdisciplinary performances, social artworks, and participatory community projects. Works include Receipts, Post-Colonial Hot Ones, Traversal Residency, Passing through the Heart, Shadows!, Cite, Chthulucene, Powers of Kin, Everything in Place, and Taking Care of Business.
Lilian Leung is a designer, artist, and community-based researcher currently located in Tkaronto and the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Their current practice circles new and evolving methods of placemaking and placekeeping in virtual reality, experimental storytelling, and interactive documentary as space of reconstruction and spaces of (post) memory.
They are a recent MDes graduate from the Digital Futures Masters program at OCAD University, and have received their BDes from the University of Hertfordshire, UK and Diploma in Graphic Design & Illustration from the IDEA Program from Capilano University, BC.
Diasporic Dialogue Guest Speakers
Jeanette Kong creates films that explore the history and culture of the Hakka people through a deeply personal lens. As a Jamaican-born, Chinese-Canadian documentarian, she has produced and directed several acclaimed films about the Chinese from Jamaica.
Most recently, she completed her second feature A Brief Record of My Father’s Time at Sea about her father’s travels from China to Jamaica in 1949 and the family’s immigration to Canada in the early ‘70s. It premiered at the 2021 ReelWorld Film Festival.
Abhi and Sam Elkana
Abhi and Sam are game developers in Toronto who are interested in using video games as a medium to convey unique stories and interactions.
Venba is a narrative cooking game, where you play as an Indian immigrant mom, who immigrates to Canada with her family in the 1980s. Players will cook various dishes and restore lost recipes, hold branching conversations and explore in this story about family, love, loss and more.
Jeffrey Yoo Warren
Jeffrey Yoo Warren (he/him) is a Korean-american artist-educator, community scientist, illustrator, and researcher in Providence, RI, who collaboratively creates community science projects which decenter dominant culture in environmental knowledge production. Jeff is a member of AS220, a facilitator with Movement Education Outdoors, and part of the New Old art collective with Aisha Jandosova, hosting art-making and storytelling with older adults.