Stage Door News

Toronto: Luminato launches the Newcomer Professional Residency 2019-2020

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

This fall, Luminato launches a new initiative that brings together a warm village of cultural organizations to welcome a select group of newcomer professionals who are starting their first jobs in Canada at the Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence, led by artist Helen Yung. The Laboratory’s Newcomer Innovations and Interventions project has hired 10 professionals who have been in Canada for more than a year but have not yet been able to secure a job in their field of expertise.

This multiphase project begins with a four-week “professionals in residence” in Luminato’s offices and neighbouring studios. Cathy Gordon, Luminato’s Festival and Community Engagement Manager, with the support of CEO Anthony Sargent and Artistic Director Naomi Campbell, has rallied several arts organizations and an independent artist based in Artscape Youngplace to open their doors to this group of newcomers. The village of supporters includes: Small World Music, artist Lyla Rye, Koffler Centre for the Arts, Inspirit Foundation, Knife|Fork|Book, and Intergalactic Arts Collective Studio. Some of the organizations are lending their space, while others are hosting the Laboratory’s team for networking meetings. 

With the support of Luminato, Canada Council for the Arts and a host of partners including cultural and social organizations beyond Artscape Youngplace, The Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence has created this program to inspire employers, policymakers, and the general public to reimagine how newcomer professionals can be better supported in their settlement journey.

For the 2019 cohort 10 newcomer professionals were selected through a job application, interview, and onboarding process that was more personalized than usual.  “These are highly-trained, experienced professionals from abroad,” says Yung. “As newcomers, they have experienced significant challenges gaining the trust and interest of Canadian employers. As artists, we are offering them a unique, short-term opportunity to collaborate and explore innovative ways of working with artists. Evidence from our 2016 pilot project suggests that creative, immersive experiences like this can help newcomer professionals land the ‘real jobs’ they are looking for.” 

The multidisciplinary group of newcomers, whose expertise includes accounting, engineering, business, technology, human resources, psychology, math and marketing, are working collaboratively in a creative process designed by Yung with artistic collaborators lo bil, Mark Campbell, Sharada Eswar and Nava Waxman. The newcomer professionals will receive training in creativity and other innovation competencies, a professional letter of recommendation, and a unique experience that will help their profiles get noticed by Canadian employers. 

Working collaboratively with artists, the newcomers will leverage their multidisciplinary backgrounds to produce original works of art. “In terms of what they will create,” Yung says, “the possibilities are open. Some examples might include performance art, film/photography projects, public art, intervention art, fashion, and storytelling." Their creative adventures with established artists will culminate in an exhibition that will open at Luminato in June, 2020.

In addition to the artwork co-created by the collaborating artists and professionals-in-residence, Yung will create installations for the 2020 exhibition that will unpack the topic of settlement, and create a context for these unusual, cross-sectoral artistic collaborations.

Link to attached PDF > bios for newcomer professionals and artistic team.