“So what do you do?”
It’s kind of a long story!
Currently, the short answer is that I’m a freelance communications professional. I write and edit grants, web copy, reports, online courses, RFPs, etc. I can also help you polish your manuscript, or bring that vague and woolly book idea into focus.
But over the years, my career has been nonlinear — a series of digressions. I’ve facilitated meetings, taught a university course, managed volunteers and interns, and developed programs and publicity materials. I like trying and learning new things. I’ve listed a few highlights on this page.
I occasionally lead a “career explorations” meetup group, because I like talking with people about the unexpected paths they’ve followed. As traditional industries decline, new opportunities arise, and our priorities shift, many of us find ourselves navigating continual change in our working lives.
Contact me here if you’re interested in working with me. I can provide a CV and/or copywriting portfolio upon request.
In recent years, much of my communications work has been in the architecture and design sector.
I wrote the project descriptions for innovative architecture and design studio WORKSHOP’s website, part of an extensive brand refresh that the firm undertook with the help of a team of designers.
I’ve been researching, writing and editing online courses for AEC Daily, a leading provider of online continuing education resources for architects and engineers.
I spent a year as a public relations associate at Kriss Communications, specialists in architecture, design and hospitality communications services. (A highlight of my Kriss Comm experience was booking a troupe of Morris dancers as a surprise for a client. It’s a good story! You can read it here.) I’ve also done proposal writing for design firm Beehive, written grants for the Game Arts International Network, and helped individual artists and writers with manuscript development and grant writing.
(Photos: Site visits with Kriss Communications, 2018)
From 2014 through 2016, I was Global Cities Coordinator at Jane’s Walk, an annual festival of free, community-led walking conversations inspired by Jane Jacobs. During that time, the festival grew internationally from 135 to over 220 cities. I was there to support the network of independent City Organizers, creating resources for them and organizing online events where they could meet and exchange ideas. Working with interns and freelancers, I produced guides, toolkits, and a series of “Meet My City” videos profiling City Organizers in San Jose, Philadelphia, Detroit, Charlotte, and Akron.
(Photo: Screen shot from “Meet My City: Detroit”)
I volunteered for years at the Subtle Technologies Festival, and then did volunteer coordination and event assistance for their programming at Evergreen Brick Works in the summer of 2017, which focused on Indigenous understanding and uses of plants as medicine and food. A series of culinary workshops hosted by artist Lisa Myers brought guest scholars, artists, food advocates and cooks from various Indigenous communities together to cook and talk about wild rice (manoomin). A series of walks through the forests and marshes of the Brick Works, co-presented by First Story Toronto and Wild Foragers Society, introduced participants to local plants and their uses and meanings.
(Photo: Manoomin workshop — view of the mirror above the table in the teaching kitchen at Evergreen Brick Works)
As well, I’ve done volunteer coordination with Toronto’s Mini Maker Faire (now Maker Festival), and with Jane’s Walk Toronto (before I worked on the Global side). I helped with web copy and event planning at the Toronto Festival of House Culture, a small independent festival of intimate musical performances in backyards and living rooms. In 2019 I volunteered with Bespoke Collective to talk to patrons at the Toronto Biennial and gather their impressions of the festival experience. And, years ago, I was a regular volunteer at the long-running annual Scream In High Park, which at one time was Canada’s largest single-day literary event.
(Photo: Robot battle at Toronto Mini Maker Faire, 2013)
In 2011, I contributed to TXTile City, a new-media audio storytelling archive about the history of Toronto’s textiles industry, created by the Murmur Project and the Textile Museum of Canada. I interviewed local clothing designers and entrepreneurs including Shelli Oh, Comrags founders Judy Cornish and Joyce Gunhouse, and Kingi Carpenter, founder of Peach Berserk. For a time, you could walk to the locations on the project map and listen to each interview clip by dialing a number on your phone. The cellphone component of the project is no longer active, but you can still find the clips on the website.
(Photo: Kingi Carpenter in the old Queen St. West location of her shop, Peach Berserk, 2011)
In 1999/2000, I conducted, transcribed and edited interviews with dozens of friends and colleagues of the artist, activist and musician Mendelson Joe. The result was Alien: The Strange Life and Times of Mendelson Joe (ECW Press, 2000).
At York University, from 2004 to 2011, I did an MA in Philosophy and completed the coursework component of a Ph.D. My research interests were in philosophy of psychiatry and psychology, and I designed and taught a second-year, 90-student course titled “Philosophy and Psychology.” I also led undergraduate tutorials for several years.
A paper I presented at a conference in Oxford in 2008, “Mad Tourists: The ‘Vectors’ and Meanings of City-Syndromes,” which discussed Stendhal syndrome and related conditions, was published in Configuring Madness: Representation, Context and Meaning, ed. Kimberley White. (Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2009).