Matriarchal Strategies

This event is in the past
Open to: Public

Matriarchal Strategies is a roundtable discussion with guests Nicole Kelly Westman, Dan Cardinal McCartney, Vidya Crawley and Hélène Day Fraser. Part two of a series on Place-Based Responsibility hosted by the DESIS Lab in the spring of 2021.


Feb 24, 2021 4:00PM – 5:30PM

Add to Calendar: iCal Google


Online Attendance

Open to Public?



How are matriarchal forms of wisdom learned and shared through informal and often invisible networks? How do we honour and take responsibility for these ways of knowing, and how do they inform our understandings of how we contribute to community and place?

Guests include Nicole Kelly Westman, Dan Cardinal McCartney, Vidya Crawley and Hélène Day Fraser.

Facilitated by Laura Kozak, this discussion is intended to look beyond academic sources and methods of knowledge-sharing. It is also an acknowledgment of forms of intelligence that are often discounted or overlooked within patriarchal and capitalist ontologies.

Nicole Kelly Westman is a visual artist of Métis and Icelandic descent that recognizes, with an indebted gratitude, the artists that came before her and strenuously forged space, the curators that place care at the fore of their labour, the communities that foster confidence in her practice, and the institutions and organizations that implement policies prefacing relations of trust. As an artist, she enjoys practices of listening, watching, hosting, poeticizing, foraging, and sharing. Westman was previously the Director of Stride Art Gallery, holds a BFA from Emily Carr University (2012), and is currently working at 221A as the Education and Learning Programmer. Her writing has been published in C Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly, Instudio Magazine, and Luma Quarterly.

Dan Cardinal McCartney is an interdisciplinary artist and emerging curator who holds a degree from AUArts (2016) in Drawing. He is of Mikisew Cree, Dene (Chipewyan), and Métis family lines from Fort Chipewyan, and is a foster care survivor raised in Fort McMurray. As a Two Spirit, transgender artist, Dan sifts through topics of intergenerational trauma, his personal connection between Indigenous diaspora/gender dysphoria, and family secrets/legacy.

His focus is on mixed media collage, moving images, and performance. Dan's work has since been featured in Fix your hearts or die at the Alberta Gallery of Art; let’s talk about sex, bb at Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, and Off-Centre: Queer Contemporary Art in the Prairies at the Dunlop in Regina. He is currently the Assistant Director at Stride Gallery in so called Calgary, AB.

Vidya Crawley is a leading alternative business educator in Western Canada who designs and facilitates inclusive, experiential programs for entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and local economic development. They bring nearly 20 years of global experience in advancing social purpose initiatives from the grassroots to the boardroom. Drawing on diverse practices of creative leadership, systems thinking, social justice, business design, and go-to-market strategy, Vidya believes in the power of showing up with head, heart and hands to transform the status quo.

Hélène Day Fraser is a designer, researcher and educator whose textile and garment-based work addresses concerns and developments in the areas of: sustainability, new digital technologies, craft and legacy practices of making and generative systems. Her creative practice explores modes of social engagement, identity construction and clothing consumption habits. It is informed by a past professional career in fashion and manufacturing. Since 2011 Hélène has led the cloTHING(s) as Conversation research initiative. She is also a co-founder of Emily Carr’s Material Matters Research Center. Her research is affiliated with the Emily Carr DESIS lab, the International Local Wisdom Network and the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. It has been published in numerous national and international design research conferences and symposiums and recieved funding from SSHRC, NSERC, GRAND-ADNODE and Emily Carr University’s President’s Research Fund.

The Emily Carr DESIS Lab supports research that advances design for social innovation towards sustainability. DESIS envisions a future that supports resilience, equity and diversity across human and ecological systems through social innovation, design and environmental justice.

This event is part of a series of discussions on Place-Based Responsibility in the Spring of 2021. Invited guests will focus on those living and working in ways that express care for place: Indigenous artists and ethno-botanists; community organizers, activists and social workers; gardeners and waste remediators; front-line workers in housing and housing advocacy; advocates for cultural labour; and artists engaged with land and material.

Discussion of these themes will be used to set a compass for subsequent, longer-term collaboration. Most importantly, these activities will initiate and strengthen meaningful relationships between community stewards and knowledge-holders and the community at Emily Carr.

For more information please contact

This event is made possible through funding from the Vancouver Foundation.