Speeches & Presentations
Institutional Change Work





Charles is currently a Lecturer in cultural pluralism in the arts at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Project Lead for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario and Artistic Director of the wind in the leaves collective. His new book, Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Gonna Come, was released in June 2012. This book contains essays and articles by: award-winning poet George Elliot Clarke, dancers and choreographers Charmaine Headley (Collective of Black Artists), Kevin A. Ormsby (Kashedance), Amanda Paixao (doctoral candidate in dance at York University and Natasha Bakht who also teaches human rights law at the University of Ottawa; theatre and movement artists Amanda Paixao and Shahin Sayadi. This book also features toolkits on community engaged arts prepared by the Neighbourhood Arts Network, the Independent Media Arts Alliance and National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition, and, the Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario.

Charles poetry has appeared in Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, Descant, Dandelion, Amethyst Review, By-Words, Canadian Forum, Quille and Quire, Fiery Spirits (Harper Collins), Poetry Toronto, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Acta Victoriana, Revival Journal (Ireland), Prairie Fire, Anti-Racism in Education: Missing in Action and will be forthcoming in the Great Black North (edited by Valerie Mason John and Kevan Anthony Cameron, Frontenac House) and Men In the Company of Women (Lenore Publishing House, San Francisco) . He has edited three collections of poetry - Teeth of the Whirlwind (Black Perspectives), Bantu (Black Perspectives), and, Sad Dances in a Field of White (Is Five Press) which includes the works of Dionne Brand, Marlene Nourbese Phillips, Claire Harris, Cyril Dabydeen, Lillian Allen, George Elliot Clarke, Clifton Joseph. charles was the founder of the Black Perspectives Cultural Program in Regent Park and recently received a grant from the Ontario Arts Councils Writers Reserve Grants Program and the Toronto Arts Council Writers Grants Program. He is currently working on a collection of poetry entitled travelogue of the bereaved.

His first book, Partial Lives, appeared through Williams-Wallace Press and a chap book, Fleurette Africaine (wind in the leaves collective), was released in February 2012. charles won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada, received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council Writers Reserve Program in 2009 and the Toronto Arts Council Writers Program 2012. He founded the wind in the leaves collective which is an interdisciplinary performance group combining his poetry with music, dance and visual arts. the collective has received grants from the Toronto Arts Council and the Toronto Dominion Banks Then and Now Program. the collective has performed at Lab Cab at Factory Theatre, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, Diasporic Dialogues Friday Night Series, soundspoetic at ArrayMusic, Dancemakers and two of the collectives pieces were showcased at the 2012 IMPACT Festival of Performance and Theatre Arts in Kitchener.

• leads the Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) since 2009 and in this role has organized several forums involving Aboriginal and racialized artists as performers and panelists addressing issues of pluralism in the arts. Some of these artists include: Lee Pui Ming, Olga Barrios, Kevin A. Ormsby, Sampradaya Dance Creations; Kaha:wi Dance, Sandra Laronde (Red Sky Performance; Shahin Sayadi (One Light Theatre); Majdi Bou Matar (MT Space); George Elliot Clarke; Sara Diamond (OCAD) and many others;

• has served on juries for the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts;

• organizes a lecture series and programs at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Some of these lectures have been provided by Andrea Fatona (OCAD); Scott Miller Berry (Images Film Festival); Deanna Bowen (Video Artist); Gina Badger (Fuse Magazine); Ravi Jain (why not theatre); Nina Lee Aquino (Cahoots Theatre) and many others;

• has been a panelist on both the IMPACT Theatre, Performance Festival (2009) and Prismatic Festival (2010), CARFAC National (2012) and Canadian Dance Assembly (2012).

• studied poetry with Armand Schwerner (City University New York) and poetry and drama with William Packard, editor of the New York Quarterly Magazine, at New York University and Herbert Berghof Studios. He also studied drama at the Frank Silvera’s Writers’ Workshop in Harlem.

• written and edited several non-fiction essays and books which have appeared in U. of T. Press, Alberta Law Review, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canadian Scholars Press and Captus Press Inc. His book on racial profiling Conflict, Crisis and Accountability: Law Enforcement and Racial Profiling in Canada was released in October 2007 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

• authored several papers for the Canadian Bar Association: Ten Years Into the Future: Where Are We Now After Touchstones for Equality?; Concerns on Increasing Tuition Fees at the University of Toronto; Response to the Provost Study of Accessibility and Career Choice in the University of Toronto Faculty of Law; and Comments on Methodologies To Study Accessibility to Law Schools. The latter piece has now been published with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Missing Pieces V (2004). He also guided the CBA in its production of Take Action on Equity and Diversity, a resource guide and toolkit for law firms which is accompanied by an educational DVD on preventing harassment and discrimination

• presented a paper for the Chief Justice of Ontario’s Fourth Colloquium on Professionalism entitled Who is Afraid of the Social Constructionists? Or Shedding Light on the Unpardonable Whiteness of the Canadian Legal Profession This paper was published by the Alberta Law Review and by Captus Press.

His paper Tuition Fee Increases and the History of Racial Exclusion in Canadian Legal Education has appeared in the fall, 2004 Canadian Diversity (Vol. 3:3). He has a book with Sumach Press entitled Feminism, Law, Inclusion: Intersectionality in Action edited with Gayle MacDonald and Rachel Osborne. He has contributed a chapter (Racial Profiling Then and Now) to a book on racial profiling compiled and authored by Carol Tator and Frances Henry (Racial Profiling in Canada). He has also contributed a chapter to a book Interrogating Race and Racism edited by Vijay Agnew for U. of T. Press and he was commissioned by the Ontario Hate Crimes Community Working Group to prepare a report for its consideration in 2006. His report is entitled Hate Crime Victimization and Links Between Hate Bias, Violence and Racism.

Founder and Artistic Director - wind in the leaves collective

Founder and Project Lead - Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario

Grants Received: Toronto Arts Council Writers Grants, and, Ontario Arts Council Writers Reserve Grants

CPPAMO: Cultural Pluralism in the Performing Arts Movement Ontario    (January 28, 2012)

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Black History Month Celebration    (2010)

Canada Dance Festival    (2009)

Wind in the Leaves Collective    


   © 2008 - 2013 charles c. smith

e-mail charles: charlescsmith@rogers.com