School of Cities / Event

Creative Communities Commons | Imagining New Worlds

Shannon Litzenberger is an award-winning dance artist and cultural leader working at the intersection of art, ideas and transformational change. The embodied co-creative practices she works with in studio are central to her work in leadership development, organizational culture change, and public policy. She works across corporate, academic and social benefit spaces, with organizations like the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Western University’s Ivey Business School, University of Toronto, Trudeau Foundation, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Cultural Pluralism for the Arts Movement, among others.

Leslie Ting has been creating immersive, music-driven performances since 2014. Her definitive work, Speculation, combines her specialized background as a classical musician and former practicing optometrist. In 2021, Leslie was nominated for the Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Theatre Director. She is an artistic research fellow at the Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence, an Associate Artist with Toronto-based performance company, Volcano, and a board member of the new music publication, MusicWorks.

Creative accessibility is a throughline of Leslie’s artistic practice. With an interdisciplinary approach, she asks her collaborators to share in the development process to consider multiple perspectives in order to foster empathy, spark advocacy and create social change.


We are a group of accomplished, civically engaged artists interested in systemic transformation. We are seeking a forum where we are supported and compensated to contribute meaningfully to the project of reimagining how our world is organized and governed, in service to a more inclusive, caring, interdependent and sustainable society. The pandemic has offered a space of reflection and recognition of the harmful ways we are living together. However, a hasty return to ‘business as usual’ is now closing a window of opportunity for the kind of necessary culture shift that will bring about the better world we are longing for. Artists are too often triaging systems we are not participating in creating. Through the proposal of dedicating some of our time and energy as a cohort of fellows, we are making a commitment to maintaining a space of disruption where real transformation is possible. Working in collaboration will seed and amplify our capacity, learning and impact.

Dina Graser specializes in urban projects that build and engage communities, with a focus on equitable economic development. She has a wide-ranging background in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, and moves easily between many worlds, including transportation, housing, the law, the arts, and public engagement. Dina takes a strategic, creative and pragmatic approach to connecting people and communities to build consensus and make progress on complex problems. Dina has been active on numerous policy initiatives and programs and recently held the position of Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Arts council.

About The Creative Communities Commons (CCC) Speaker Series

The CCC exists to provide a node of open participation and the free exchange of intellectual resources and expertise among academia, the arts sector, community leaders, civil society, the private sector, and the public sector who share interest in:

  • Arts and culture as a sector within every human community, as well as
  • How the arts and culture sector interacts with the other sectors in our communities (like the environment, housing, immigration, public health, and transportation)