Emily Pohl-Weary (Executive Director) is an award-winning author, editor and arts educator. Her teen novel Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl is forthcoming this September from Penguin in Canada and Skyscape in the U.S. Previous books include young adult mystery Strange Times at Western High and ghost love story A Girl Like Sugar. She edited the anthology Girls Who Bite Back and literary conga line Kiss Machine. Emily has led writing workshops for schools, libraries, and community agencies across North America. For three years, she facilitated the Sagatay Men’s Writing Group for First Nations, Metis and Inuit men living in transitional housing (through Na-Me-Res). She has worked as an acquisitions editor for educational publisher McGraw-Hill Ryerson, holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and is a PhD student in Adult Education/Community Development at U of T/OISE. In 2008, she founded Toronto Street Writers for 16-29 year-olds in the neigbourhood where she grew up.
Jesse Hirsh (Director) is an internet strategist, researcher, and broadcaster based in Toronto, Canada. He has a weekly nationally syndicated column on CBC radio and owns and operates Metaviews Media Management Ltd., which is a combination of a think-tank and a consultancy that engages in research, strategic consulting, and runs events. Jesse is also actively involved with MacLaren McCann, one of North America's most successful multi-disciplinary advertising agencies, as a member of their Idea Council, which serves as a combination advisory board and think tank for the company. For two years, he was the host of an interfaith show on the Rogers and OMNI networks called 3D Dialogue. Educated at the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto, his passion is educating people on the potential benefits and perils of technology.
Irfan Ali (Operations Manager) is an emerging writer and poet. Until very recently, he was one of the main program coordinators at the LOFT Youth Program at the Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. In this role, he developed several new initiatives, including a series of life skills workshops for at-risk youth, a music industry arts workshop, silkscreening workshops, and a tutoring program. Since finding his inner writer as a member of the Parkdale Street Writers, Irfan’s poetry has earned him a place in the competitive Diaspora Dialogues mentoring program. He is working on a poetry manuscript, a graphic novel with graffiti artist Logan Miller, and an online web-series.
Kalpna Patel (Art Coordinator) is a craftician and bookseller who lives and works in west-end Toronto. Working primarily with metal, paper, and wool to produce handmade jewellery, accessories and stationery, Kalpna has been operating her own craft and design business under the name Old Weston since 2007. When she's not selling books or making things, she's helping to run crafty events around the city, or constructing storefront installations and event decor for other creative small businesses.
dianah smith is a Jamaican-born, Ottawa-raised writer, teacher and arts educator. She is the Founder of ‘A’ is for Orange (www.aisfororange.org), a reading series featuring queer Caribbean emerging writers. Dianah is the recipient of several grants, including (most recently) a Writers’ Works in Progress grant, Ontario Arts Council, to complete her first novel. For the past year, Dianah has been the writer-in-residence at Parkdale Street Writers. She has been published online with No More Potlucks and Rabble.ca and in The Best of Rabble 2009, Siren, Flirt, and Shameless Magazines.
Josh Hehner is variously a paramedic (formerly with Toronto EMS, now involved in international humanitarian work in emergency medicine, as well as medical support for Toronto sports teams and at large concert and sporting events), a martial artist (2nd degree black belt with 16 years experience studying and teaching Aikido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), and an educator with over two decades of teaching experience in a variety of fields (including martial arts, rock climbing, outdoor education, emergency medicine, First Aid and CPR). He is also co-founder of, and Director of Community Medicine Programs for, a Peruvian-Canadian charity called Para el Mundo (PaM), which works in northern Peru in the areas of community medicine, education and social services.
Adhimu “Mindbender” Stewart is a hip hop lyricist and historian, and a Canadian culture documentarian. He has performed with EL-P, Pharoahe Monch, Del and others, played countless shows across North America, received international press, and inked distribution deals with Urbnet and Sonic Imprint (UK). He has been featured in movies with 50 Cent, Mos Def, and Don Cheadle, and written for Pound and Now. Mindbender has been a Parkdale Street Writers program assistant since 2009.
Marc Weisblott is the editorial director of Metaviews. His media experience dates back to the earliest FM radio days of the University of Toronto's CIUT, followed by a long association with Eye Weekly, and contributions to other print media outlets in the U.S. and Canada. As the first professional blogger in Canada, he developed original online content for the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail, with countless stories, trends and memes examined along the way. Recently, he piloted the social media news service Mondoville, and was the national affairs reporter for Yahoo! Canada.
Daniel Joseph is currently a PhD researcher at Ryerson University in their Communication & Culture program. He is also a research associate at the Counterpublics Working Group for the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University, and a regular contributor to Metaviews. His main interest lies in understanding the role videogames play in democratic society, with a focus on the political economy of productive digital labour as well as Canadian cultural and regulatory policy. Daniel has also written extensively about military videogames, gamification, political games, MMORPG's and digital economics.
Chris Reed is Artistic Director of Small Print Toronto, a non-profit organization that stages writing workshops and literary events for young people and children, that he founded during the four years he spent running This Is Not A Reading Series for Pages Books & Magazines. He spends his days working as Publicist at University of Toronto Press. Chris is the author of the forthcoming novel, Beat Surrender.
Vikki VanSickle is Program Director at Small Print Toronto, and host of their Children Story Jam workshop series. Her celebrated novels include Words That Start With B and Love Is a Four Letter Word. Vikki spends her days working as Publicity and Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins Canada.
Edward Keenan is a senior editor and columnist for The Grid magazine in Toronto. In addition to running a freelance writing business as a sideline to his full-time job, Edward has received media executive training through the Rotman School of Management, has experienced the writer-editor relationship from both sides of the desk, served in management in both small and large companies and once owned and operated a restaurant. A Ryerson University School of Journalism dropout, he has been a visiting lecturer in various courses on writing and publishing at the University of Toronto and Centennial College, and has taught and mentored dozens of editorial interns over the course of nearly a decade.
Melissa Reiter is a lawyer at Koskie Minsky LLP. Melissa’s experience includes mergers and acquisitions, Canadian and U.S. investment fund work, negotiations, business analysis, strategy and licensing, both in Canada and cross-border. Melissa is actively involved with The Equality Effect, a Canadian charity which aims to use legal and policy reform to address human rights abuses and the inequality of women and girls in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi. She is also Honourary Counsel for Water for People - Canada, a charitable, nonprofit, international humanitarian organization dedicated to the development and delivery of clean, safe water and sanitation solutions in developing nations. She blogs about law & feminism on The LRMC.com.
Steph Guthrie is a feminist advocate and community organizer specializing in social media activism, events, and stakeholder engagement. As founder and executive director of Women in Toronto Politics, she coordinates events to promote women’s voices in discussions about Toronto politics on and off council floor. In July 2012 she led a spontaneous effort to hold accountable the creator of a video game inciting violence against feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian. She co-organized Take Back the Block (#TBTB) parties in two neighbourhoods affected by a string of public sexual assaults in downtown Toronto in September 2012. She has been a panelist on TVO current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin, as well as co-producing an interactive, live-streamed meet-up with the same program called Trolling for Trouble: Online Actions, Offline Consequences. Steph holds a Master of Arts in Communication & Culture from York and Ryerson Universities. Check out her online resume if you like, and follow her on Twitter at @amirightfolks.
Dan Speerin is an award winning comedy writer, YouTube partner, filmmaker and the creator and producer of three Canadian television series. As past host of two current affairs series “The What Is” (ichannel) and “Dan Speerin’s Truth Mashup” (Rogers) he’s interviewed top politicians, newsmakers and has covered everything from elections to riots. Dan’s passion comes from combining social media and satire to highlight the issues facing the world today. He currently hosts “Truth Mashup Radio” a weekly comedic podcast dealing with the most interesting and underreported stories in Canada. He can also frequently be seen as the comedic voice of Generation Y across Canadian media. When he’s not tweeting jokes, Dan likes to rework his bio in the third person.
Seb FoxAllen is a Toronto-based writer and satirist. He writes extensively on the relationship between technology and culture for Please Revise and INSERTIMAGE, with particular emphasis on notions of language, politics, media, gender, and governance. He is the co-host of the Academy's Campaign School podcast, and a frequent contributor to content-farms from across the internet. Seb tweets primarily under the name @purpledocket, though he may admit to others if you accuse him nicely.
Idil Burale is an organizer, social commentator, and political blogger who is not afraid to tell it like it is. Active in Rexdale, Idil mobilizes around the discourse of community building and the politics of belonging. Her background in Political Science and Diaspora Studies at the University of Toronto provided the impetus of unsettling dominant narratives of immigration, multiculturalism, and integration. Idil is not satisfied with the status-quo and is constantly working towards social inclusion through storytelling. Having appeared on TV Ontario, CBC Radio, and CHRY Radio, Idil inspires audiences with her authentic and intelligent presentations on identity politics, media narrative, and the consequences of the singular story. You should follow her on Twitter @IdilBurale and read her blog.
Orla Hegarty is a Management Scientist and a deprofessionalized intellectual. She speaks, writes, performs and consults on a wide variety of topics including (but not limited to): math phobia, mediation using storytelling, social enterprise entrepreneurship, moral innovation, technology management, food justice and feminism. She has been online since prior to the dawn of today's WYSIWIG internet and currently maintains an active presence on the accounts located on her splash page.
Brian Cauley is a broadcaster, audio producer, installation artist, and writer. He is currently the host of Constantly Varied, a podcast that discusses fitness, nutrition, and people doing amazing things. He helped produce the CBC national Summer series, Babel, as their Sound Designer and has produced a variety of web-content for The Current. Brian has studied podcast production at The Banff Centre and has a Masters in Media Production from Ryerson. His installations have been commissioned by organizations like Nuit Blanche and TEDx. He can be regularly seen around Toronto drinking coffee, riding his bike and lifting heavy things. Find him on Twitter @briancauley.
Caleb Trudeau is a program assistant for Sound Poets' Circle and Impossible Words. He has worked as a facilitator for his own workshops geared towards Aboriginal youth that focus on traditional knowledge and understand how to heal using a holistic approach. Caleb decided to correlate the teachings he gained from elders and infuse it with hip hop culture, in hopes of gaining the attention of Urban Aboriginal Youth. His hope is to help youth younger than himself find a positive outlet for being active and aware of the conscious enjoyment of life. He is also a writer of his own poetry, rhymes, short stories, and biographies. In recent years, he has begun to perform as a hip hop artist, who is mildly known in the local scene as The Grimace, and has performed in battle rap leagues, outside clubs, in alleyways, and on street corners. His influences come from an array of fiction/non-fiction, music of most kinds, and of course people (more non-famous than famous ones). His love for hip hop is not one that is solely based off of the music the culture generates, but rather the self-expression, the positivity, and the communal vibe.