Devon Jackson is crafting an impressive resume. Less than a year after graduating from the Arts Administration and Cultural Management program in 2017, he's made a mark in the worlds of literature, theatre, music, and art. But this won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows Devon's interest in the arts. In fact, one of the things Devon most appreciated about his Humber program was its interdisciplinary approach to culture. We spoke with Devon via email to hear how he uses this approach in his own work.
I work at the Writers' Trust of Canada as their events co-ordinator. The Writers' Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing. Currently, I am working on an event called Politics and the Pen, an annual fundraiser held in Ottawa at the Fairmont Château Laurier that brings together politicians, writers, diplomats, and notable arts and business leaders in benefit of the Trust.
Creatively, I am in the process of writing a play about Eliza Grimason, one of Sir John A. Macdonald's closest supporters and confidantes, for the Kingston-based theatre company The Cellar Door Project. In Toronto, I am working with theatre company Human Cargo on a project called Broadview, going up in March at Crow's Theatre. Both projects are socially-conscious pieces, examining how gender, class, and history influence our contemporary perspectives and biases.
Immediately after I finished at Humber, I worked at SummerWorks Performance Festival as associate producer of programming, working on the logistics and operations side of Canada's largest curated festival of performing arts.
I also worked with the Basement Revue/RPM as their production and communication coordinator for New Constellations, a nation(s)wide tour of music and art featuring both new wave Indigenous musicians and writers as well as other Canadian musical and literary talent.
A local theatre company called commonplacetheatre also produced my play, No Bombs on Mondays. This was the first production of one of my plays since moving to Toronto.
Humber's postgraduate certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management program is curated so that each individual course informs a broad, holistic understanding of Canada's cultural landscape. Its instructors stress the ethos of advocating for our country's artists and cultural leaders; this is something that I use as a standard in my daily work as an arts administrator.
As an artist, it has been important to me to balance the use of the left and right sides of my brain. Attending the program at Humber built a bridge between these two hemispheres, reinforcing and informing my dedication to creation, curation, and cultivation of my own art and the art of my peers.
One of the most valuable parts of the program is the variety of disciplines that cross-pollinate throughout the year. The Arts Administration and Cultural Management program is unique in that it becomes a co-op of sorts, attracting students interested in areas like theatre, visual arts, music, opera, heritage, literature, film, and circus. The opportunity to experience these different worlds through your peers is an amazing opportunity for developing both breadth and depth of interest across Canada's cultural industries.
Photo Credit: Siamak Badie