Mar 21, 2024

Ctrl+Shift: Sustainable Solutions to Signage and Beyond

Thursday, March 21 | 6:30 – 8PM ET 
In person at InterAccess and online 
, registration here (encouraged for in-person attendance, required for online attendance)


Moderated by Jasmine Sihra, this panel brings together arts professionals who have developed strategies for working sustainably within arts organizations. Panelists will offer key ideas and approaches on exhibition installation and design, public art projects, and resource-sharing to demonstrate how to implement eco-friendly practices in arts and cultural programming, with a focus on redefining “professionalism” within a sustainable lens. The panel will begin with a showcase of each panelists’ projects, followed by discussion and Q&A driven by the audience questions, concerns, and ideas around sustainability.  

This event is co-presented by InterAccess and FOFA Gallery (Montreal) in support of FOFA’s launch of their bilingual sustainable signage toolkit and as part of InterAccess’s Ctrl+Shift series. Ctrl+Shift is a strategy session series that invites influential artists, technologists, scholars, and community leaders to propose solutions to challenges that affect the creative community. Structured as a panel discussion, Ctrl+Shift seeks to facilitate productive conversations and actionable strategies that can elicit change in our shared creative landscape.  

In 2022, taking cues from the Centre for Sustainable Curating (CSC), the FOFA Gallery decided to stop using PVC vinyl lettering for their exhibition signage and instead began an initiative to experiment with more sustainable signage options. According to CSC, vinyl lettering is commonly used for exhibition signage for its affordability and professional look. However, PVC is a highly toxic plastic that does not biodegrade and has a lifespan of at least 1000 years, and as a result this plastic becomes toxic waste. Through a series of hands-on workshops, in-gallery experiments, collaborations with artists and conversations with others working on similar ideas, the FOFA Gallery developed and documented alternative materials and techniques for creating sustainable gallery signage.  

FOFA’s findings are compiled into a free downloadable bilingual (French/English) toolkit showcasing sustainable signage options that can be applied to a variety of arts and cultural programming contexts. The English toolkit will be launched on February 29, 2024, alongside the opening of mecromitic, a sustainably curated student-organized exhibition led by Dr. Kirsty Roberston, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Curating, at the ArtLab, Department of Visual Arts, Western University (London, ON). 

ASL interpretation will be available with the event recording.  



Suzanne Carte, speaking about the Artist Material Fund 

Suzanne Carte is an award-winning curator and cultural producer living in Toronto, Canada. She is the Artistic Director/Curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB), an institution at the intersection of contemporary art and craft, and the founder of the Artist Material Fund (AMF), a service that redirects waste in the arts sector, diverting material from the landfill and providing resources to artists. 

Previously, she was the Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), focusing on the integration of exhibitions and public programming for over a decade. Within her independent practice, she has curated exhibitions in public spaces, artist-run centres, and commercial and public art galleries and previously, she held positions as outreach programmer for the Blackwood Gallery and the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and as professional development and public program coordinator at the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. Suzanne holds an MA in Contemporary Art History from Sotheby’s Art Institute in New York and a BFA from the University of Windsor, and she was a member of the 2017 Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab. 


Charlene K. Lau, speaking about the Institute of Public Art and Sustainability and the Public Art Notice 

Charlene K. Lau is an art historian, critic, and the Curator of Public Art at Evergreen Brick Works. Her research interests include the historical and contemporary avant-garde in art and fashion, the Gesamtkunstwerk, time-based media, and transgression. She has held fellowships at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; Parsons School of Design, The New School; and Performa Biennial. Charlene has also held teaching positions at Parsons School of Design, OCAD University, Toronto Metropolitan University, University of Toronto Scarborough, Western University and York University. Her scholarly voice and curatorial work have been featured in The Guardian, PAPER, The Goods by Vox, The New Yorker and Studies in Costume & Performance; and her scholarly work has been published in Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, Fashion Theory, Journal of Curatorial Studies, The Routledge Companion to Fashion Studies (2021) and Visual Typologies from the Early Modern to the Contemporary: Local Contexts and Global Practices (Routledge, 2018). She has written art criticism for Art in America, Artforum,, The Brooklyn Rail, C Magazine, Canadian Art and frieze, among others. 


Kirsty Robertson, speaking about the Synthetic Collective

Kirsty Robertson is Director of Museum and Curatorial Studies in the Department of Visual Arts. Her pedagogy involves curating large-scale speculative and experimental exhibitions with students. Her research focuses on museums, visual culture, contemporary art, environment, and activism, clustered in a number of different projects. She is a founding member of the Synthetic Collective, a group of artists, scientists and cultural researchers working on plastics pollution in the Great Lakes Region.



Jasmine Sihra 

Born and raised in Tkaronto/Toronto, Jasmine Sihra is a Punjabi curator and researcher. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Museum Studies at Western University in 2020. She received her master's degree in art history from Concordia University in 2022. 

Jasmine’s career and research centres around the question of how the arts can be part of planning for climate futures. From 2022 to 2026, Jasmine will be working on her PhD in Art History from Concordia University, researching about climate change, futurisms, sustainable artistic practices, and sustainable curating. She served as the Curator of Sustainability and Engagement at Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts (FOFA) Gallery. 


Image of Life as we know it (2020), curated by Megan MacLaurin, courtesy of Natalie Logan. 

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