Monday June 15th, 2pm to 3:30pm.

Flip It – challenging orthodoxies and shifting paradigms (Episode 2 of an ongoing series of Bite-Sized Talks)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvf-muqjgjE9Eh6qDSVZt8hBHY1CDCd-fQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Our room is monitored and we endeavour to keep it a safe space.
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This event will be streaming at facebook.com/biartsfestival.

Room opens at 1:30pm with music, talks underway at 2pm.

A diverse panel shares insights into disrupting and challenging what we take for granted. Hear from Ankur about how cancer research is evolving – take a journey in dance with Kristine, a longtime member of Toronto’s bi+ community, and scholar of Black history and lives – learn more about end of life decision making and green alternatives with Kirthan – and share a small part of the creative life of artist and community healer, Jay, who identifies as mad, trans and bi+.


With our special guest host and poet, Robyn Kaur Sidhu.
Robyn Kaur Sidhu (she/he/they) is a Queer, Punjabi-Canadian spoken word poet who is constantly pretending to know what they want to do with their life. They have performed on stages in Canada, America and the United Kingdom. They are a director for the Voices of Today youth poetry festival, is the Co-chair Communications of the SpeakNORTH Board of Directors, and a member of Hot Damn It’s a Queer Slam Board of Directors. They are also a youth educator of consent, race and 2SLGBTQ+ identity, and poetry. You can find Robyn in vintage cardigans and trying to be gentle with themself.

Today’s speakers include:

Jay Bryan – Resilience, Resistance & Community (a mad, trans, bi+ journey)
As a mad, trans and bisexual-identified artist and activist, Jay believes that art, social justice, and healing are connected. He will discuss his creative life and what resilience means to him, on both personal and community levels. Expect art and a few statistics on bi+ mental health, too.


Jay is a queer and whimsical unicorn who uses his imagination to stir up creative things. He identifies as trans, mad, and bisexual. Jay writes and illustrates children’s books, does performance art, and curates rituals. He believes that art, social justice, and healing are connected, which he cultivates in his art healing workshops and community support work. Jay has a specialist in Sexual Diversity Studies, and is currently doing a Masters in Spiritual Care. He also studies Expressive Arts Therapy at the Create Institute, on the path to becoming an art therapist in the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

Kristine Maitland – Come Dancing: It’s Only Natural
One year on Bi Pride day, I attended a Cabaret event. There was a slim bellydancer doing a routine. After she danced she went into the audience attempting to cajole people to dance with her. The goal was to have the audience have a good laugh at someone else’s expense. Except I was on to her. If she thought this 270 lb black woman was going to look silly on the dancefloor she had another thing coming. I had been dancing for over 35 years. It is time that we nip this “fat is funny dancing” thing in the bud. My talk will cover that the issue is not size or identity. Anyone can dance.


Kristine Maitland (she/her) is a Black Canadian bisexual cis female. She has been a part of the LBGTQ2SAI+ and arts communities since the early 1990s, including BiWoT (Bisexual Women of Toronto) and TBN (Toronto Bisexual Network) as well as Workman Arts and Storytellers of Canada. And she is also a dancer of long standing who has taught body positive dance workshops at the International Conference on Bisexuality (ICB) in 2006 and at the Bi Arts Festival in 2019. Her writing has been published in HuffPost Canada, TorStar Inc., Xtra, and the anthology Surviving in the Hour of Darkness: the Health and Wellness of Women of Colour and Indigenous Women. She is the founder of both The Many Black Histories, providing workshops and seminars looking at Black history from a world perspective and The Kristine Maitland Project, featuring vocals, dance and storytelling. kristinemaitland.ca

Kirthan Aujlay -Death Acceptance
What is death acceptance and how can you incorporate it into your life? This talk will include advice on how to create advanced directives (aka a living will), as well as ideas on how to think about death and your final wishes. I will also be talking about body disposal options that exist outside of traditional burial and cremation.

Kirthan Aujlay is a writer based in Toronto. She is proudly biracial and bisexual. Kirthan is passionate about death acceptance, green burial, and returning to a model of community death care. Kirthan is the founder of @that_goodnight on Instagram.

Ankur Chakravarthy -Why treating cancers is complex
Much popular attention to cancer is based on the idea of a search for one universal cure for all cancers. In practise, however, the ability to cure cancers successfully is largely a feature of early stage cancers, and the treatment of late stage cancers is complex, with a wide range of outcomes possible.

As we have understood more about cancers, we have come to realise that each cancer, while it shares common features with other cancers, may be created by wildly differing combinations of genetic and other changes. For a while, cataloguing these changes led to the hope that treatments could be tailored to tumours with specific genetic changes.
While there have been remarkable success stories using this approach, cures are still hard to come by because tumours are constantly evolving. Each individual cancer may contain smaller populations of distinct cells, some of which may be predisposed to becoming resistant to treatments. This is increasingly motivating the use of drug combinations and novel approaches such as personalised immunotherapy that may result in better outcomes, shifting the paradigm of cancer treatment even further from the search for a single cure.
Ankur Chakravarthy, PhD , is a CIHR Banting Fellow at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Their research focuses on the development of blood tests for earlier detection of tumours as well as understanding why some tumours respond to immunotherapy while others don’t.

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