The Weeknd, Culture Shift and Postal Codes

April 28th, 2016

Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), joined us at the 2016 International Cities of Migration Conference on March 2 in Toronto  to share his views as a leader in the culture sector on  “Changing Governance in Changing Times.”

After the panel discussion (see below), Bailey shared his thoughts in a candid interview on why diversity and representation is still an important issue in 2016;  what people should know about Toronto and what Toronto can show the world; and, why our postal codes shouldn’t define who we are.

What’s a tangible sign of culture shift in the arts sector in Toronto?

Bailey: ‘The Weeknd’ is a tangible sign of a cultural shift in the arts sector for many reasons.  This is a man who is from an immigrant family from East Africa, he is now one of the biggest stars in the world; he just performed at the Academy Awards; he had what many have called the song of 2015 with “Can’t Feel My Face;” and he came out not of the existing infrastructure to develop talent in Canada (musical talent),  but out of grass roots, independent, organic organizations that have nothing to do with the typical conduits that get talent to that kind of success. So you know, small clubs, people organizing their own events , kids making beats in their bedrooms and basements in the far outer reaches of the suburbs of Toronto. That produced The Weeknd –and that, I think, is a very positive sign for the health of the cultural shift.

For more, watch the full interview:

Interview with Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival, COM2016, March 2:


Cameron Bailey, TIFF, joined us as a distinguished expert to talk about “Changing Governance in Changing Times” at the 2016 International Cities of Migration Conference held on March 2 in Toronto.

Watch the full COM2016 plenary panel discussion:

Changing Governance in Changing Times, Toronto, March 2, 2016

While our cities and urban regions have become more ethnically and racially diverse over time, their leadership: political, social, cultural or economic, remains pale, stale, and male. This disconnect continues in spite of the overwhelming, global evidence which shows that diversity in leadership leads to innovation, better decision-making, and increased market growth.

How do we harness diversity at the decision-making table? We asked civic leaders about strategies they are implementing to disrupt the status quo and align the power structure of leadership to reflect the lived realities of our shifting populations.

After all, it’s 2016.

  • Shaama Saggar-Malik, Founder and Executive Director, DiPA – Diversity in Public Appointments (London, England)
  • Sayu Bhojwani, Founder and President, The New American Leaders Project (New York)
  • Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival
  • Myer Siemiatycki, Professor, Ryerson University (Toronto)
  • Moderator: Bob Ramsay, President, Ramsay Inc. and Founder, RamsayTalks (Toronto)

The “Changing Governance in Changing Times” plenary session was organized by Cathy Winter, Program Manager, DiverseCity OnBoard, at the Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University.

More on COM2016 programme and speakers.

Source: 3rd International Cities of Migration Conference, Toronto, March 2, 2016: “Diversity Drives Prosperity.” Presented by the Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University, COM2016 convened local government and community leaders, practitioners, experts, activists and policy-makers for a one-day forum and in-depth analysis of the issues and opportunities created by today’s global flows of migration.

COM2016 was a preconference of the 18th National Metropolis, Toronto, March 3-5, 2016, co-hosted by the Association for Canadian Studies.



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