Harbourfront Centre and British Council, in association with The Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy proudly present The Borderless Citizen Project, a three-day conference exploring human migration through the lens of culture, leadership and public policy. The Project will bring together artists, creative thinkers and policy makers to seek new solutions to long-standing problems on themes including climate change, identity, inclusion and courage.

Taking place from November 18 – 20, 2019, the conference is co-chaired by Fiona Salzen, Board Trustee of the British Council and by Senator Ratna Omidvar, an independent Senator for Canada, member of the World Refugee Council and internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. Senator Omidvar came to Canada from Iran in 1981 and her own experiences of displacement, integration and citizen engagement are the foundation of her work.

The Borderless Citizen Project will feature a series of workshops, panel discussions and keynote addresses from influential and international leaders, including Dr. Eyal Weizman, founding director and principal investigator of Forensic Architecture and Indigenous author and activist Clayton Thomas-Müller, whose work includes capturing conflict and natural disasters around the world.

Renowned artists across theatre, dance, film, music and comedy will also lead Art + Practice Workshops, a series of participatory sessions for emerging and experienced artists, curious academics, and the public, to review current research and practice through a series of arts-based exercises and explorations.


The conference is free to attend. Advance registration is recommended. For more registration and additional programming please click here

KEYNOTE: Forensic Architecture with Dr. Eyal Weizman – Monday, November 18, 7:30pm 

The opening keynote will be presented by Dr. Eyal Weizman, founding director and principal investigator of Forensic Architecture, an organization that undertakes advanced spatial and media investigations into state and corporate violence, human rights violations and environmental destruction all over the world. Forensic Architecture’s team includes architects, software developers, filmmakers, investigative journalists, artists, scientists and lawyers whose investigations are presented in international courtrooms, parliamentary inquiries, United Nations assemblies, as well as in citizens’ tribunals and truth commissions. Recent awards include 2019 Designboom Design Prize for Social Impact and in 2018 they were nominated for the Turner Prize. Register here

KEYNOTE AND PANEL: Bearing Witness at the Borders: A Dangerous and Necessary Practice – Tuesday, November 19, 1pm

This afternoon discussion, led by Professor Joseph Wong, Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, will illuminate the work of artists, journalists and policy makers who are compelled to bear witness and by doing so, affect change. Joining the panel are Adrees Latif, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, Reuters, and Emmy award-winning journalist Adrienne Arsenault, co-anchor of CBC’s The National. Register here

KEYNOTE: Migrant Justice and Indigenous Self Determination: A Good Place to Start When Acting on Climate – Wednesday, November 20, 3pm

Forming a significant percentage of Canada’s workforce in the near future, Canada’s most historically marginalized populations will represent a major part of Canada’s economic power. Join Indigenous author, activist and filmmaker Clayton Thomas-Müller, together with Syed Hussan, coordinator for Migrant Works Alliance for Change, Dr. Anna Banerji, Post MD Education lead for Indigenous and Refugee Health, University of Toronto, and Eriel Deranger of Indigenous Climate Action for a conversation on the role of Indigenous knowledge in fighting the global climate crisis. Register here

CLOSING KEYNOTE: Solutions for a Global Citizenship – Wednesday, November 20, 5pm

Join Senator Ratna Omidvar, together with John Kluge, founder of the Refugee Investment Network and Manjula Luthria, senior economist, World Bank, to explore innovative solutions in development for borderless citizens. Register here


LITERATURE: Carrianne Leung – Tuesday, November 19, 10am

We have always lived in dangerous times, and writers and artists of conscience always rise to bear witness and create in troubled historical moments. Author and educator Carrianne Leung explores what humanity means and reflects on ethical responsibility in a writer’s work. The workshop will begin with a reading from her essay “Writing in a Dangerous Time”, followed by a talk, writing prompts and discussion. Register here

PHOTOGRAPHY: Am I Wrong to Love? – Tuesday, November 19, 10am

Join Gilad Cohen, Executive Director of JAYU, a charity that shares human rights stories through the arts, and Artistic Director of Am I Wrong to Love? – a portrait series of 20 LGBTQI+ refugees from 10 different countries who have been forced to flee as a result of their gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation. This interactive workshop revisits the Am I Wrong to Love? exhibition, offers mobile photography training, and explores the role the arts plays in creating spaces for social justice narratives. Register here

THEATRE:The First Two Days: Utility, Respect, and the Right Brain, Wednesday, November 20, 10am

In every process, the beginning is vital. This introductory workshop led by award-winning director, actor and Volcano Artistic Director Ross Manson explores how to take the first steps in a creative process focusing on three principles: utility, respect, and the right brain. Manson will look at approaches he developed for both theatre creation from the ground up (dance, opera, multi-disciplinary and intercultural performance), and directing an already existing play. Register here

MOVEMENT: No Woman’s Land, Jaberi Dance Theatre, Wednesday, November 20, 10am

Jaberi Dance Theatre’s No Woman’s Land, an interdisciplinary production integrating dance, theatre and multi-media, takes audiences on a journey that reveals the real plight and resistance of refugee women. Jaberi Dance Theatre is a contemporary performing art company committed to exploring social and political content that highlights the stories and lived experiences of racialized women, while providing a platform for intercultural collaboration and exchange. Register here