Equity, Diversity and
Inclusion in the
Cultural Sector:

The Role of Cultural Organizations
Virtual Conference
June 15 · 16, 2022
Thursday, June 16, 2022 · Theme 2

Understanding Civic Impact Through the Lens of Indigenous Cultural Knowledge (Presentation)

Sydney Pickering, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Connie Watts, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Nadia Beyzaei, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

From 13h:05am to 13h:45am (EDT)

In English | Simultaneous interpretation in French


As part of Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s Aboriginal Gathering Place and Mass Culture’s Research in Residence: Arts’ Civic Impact initiative, Sydney Pickering, Connie Watts, and Nadia Beyzaei will share their work in connecting with local arts-based organizations that create innovative projects with Indigenous and racialized artists and collectives. The aim is to share new ways of applying research methods and information gathering that are rooted in cultural practices to foster and promote Indigenous knowledge and ways. The research is infused with Indigenous protocols, ways, and knowledge to bring deeper engagement and understanding of Indigenous organizations and communities in the art and culture sector, and how Indigenous artists have utilized cultural production to create other forms of value.

The Researchers in Residence: Arts’ Civic Impact initiative is a collaboration between Mass Culture, the Canada Council for the Arts’ Research, Measurement and Data Analytics Section, the Culture Statistics Working Group (Federal-Provincial-Territorial Culture and Heritage Table), the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Toronto Arts Foundation.


Sydney Pickering (She/her)

Sydney Frances Pickering is a member of Lil’wat nation. She is currently living and working on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.

Her multi-disciplinary practice includes hide tanning, video, sound, beadwork and poetry. She uses her practice to tell her family’s story, speak about identity and what it is like navigating as an Indigenous person within a colonial society. Her work over the past few years is grounded by her continued connection to land-based material practices.

Connie Watts

Connie Watts is the Associate Director, Aboriginal Programs at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator, educator and designer of Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry. Born and raised in Campbell River, Connie has a Bachelor of Interior Design from the University of Manitoba, and a BFA from Emily Carr.

Her award-winning work is often rooted in forms and knowledge drawn from First Nations cultures, while her sculptural objects incorporate modern fabrication and design techniques. She has shown nationally and internationally. Connie’s Interior Design and Management projects include the interior of the Songhees Wellness Centre and managing the Vancouver 2010 winter Olympics’ Aboriginal Art Program. Connie has been affiliated with Emily Carr Board of Governors, the British Columbia Arts Council, the First Peoples Cultural Council, the Vancouver Foundation and the Contemporary Art Gallery, among other institutions.

Nadia Beyzaei (She/her)

Nadia Beyzaei is a designer, researcher, and educator working in the spaces of health and community engagement. Nadia is the Coordinator of the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr University and an instructor in the Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media. Through her role at the Health Design Lab, Nadia has been a communication designer and design researcher on Indigenous health, aging, and complex care projects, while supporting the dissemination of research both locally and internationally.