Panel Discussion: Arts & Creative Programming in Vulnerable Communities

In exploring this year’s theme of “Moving Music in our Communities”, Winter Roots Roundup is pleased to present a panel discussion about the growing role of artistic and creative programming in vulnerable communities. This free, public talk will welcome four passionate Edmonton-based individuals who work to address social justice issues in our community through a variety of educational, artistic, and support roles.

The discussion will be chaired by Dr. Christine Stewart, a University of Alberta professor in the English and Film Studies Department.

When: Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Where: 3-47 Old Arts/Convocation Hall Building, UAlberta North Campus



Hip Hop artist; Co-director (Hip Hop in the park); CJSR host (The Hip Hop Buffet)

Biography: KazMega is not a rapper, nor is he a poet, nor is he a producer or composer, or beatmaker. He is a journeyman welder of artistic expression, trained to apply hot fiyah to seemingly inflexible topics and forge completely new yet sturdy observations. While artistic expression welding pays significantly less than say– welding metal, it has provided the opportunity for building communities, safe spaces, international bridges, and potentially schools. Expect sparks to fly, supplied materials to bond together, and the exchange itself to become the trade. Hard hats will not be permitted on site, but thinking caps are mandatory!

Rylan Kafara

Inner City Recreation Coordinator (Boyle Street Community Services and Bissell Centre); PhD Student (Physical Education and Recreation Department, UAlberta); Blogger (

Biography: Rylan completed an MA in history at the University of Alberta in 2012. He studied the positive effects that participation in music scenes had for vulnerable communities in Seattle, Washington. After finishing his degree, he began his work with the Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program to create and sustain physical health and mental wellness activities in Edmonton’s urban core. This program employs these activities as tools of personal empowerment and community development, and its success draws greatly from the stewardship role that participants have in the program. Rylan also teaches a course called The History of Punk and with the University of Alberta’s Humanities Program. He believes that supporting people to pursue their educational and creative interests leads to social change.

Maigan van der Giessen

Musician, emcee (Tzadeka); Creative Lead and Education Coordinator  with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights

Biography: Maigan van der Giessen has a BA from the University of Alberta in Political Science and Middle Eastern and African Studies and has a passion for art therapy, ethnomusicology and activism. She has worked on and off at the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights since 2009, developing and delivering unique programming that explores social justice and human rights issues through artistic expression.  Maigan is the Creative Lead for JHC which allows her to envision (and put into practice) how art and dialogue can be used to support, engage and uplift vulnerable individuals and communities. Maigan is a mother, emcee (Tzadeka), musician, visual/installation artist, facilitator, event promoter and youth mentor.

David Prodan

Community Development Manager (E4C and Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness)

Biography: Coming Soon!