Cat MacKeigan, PhD

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Cat MacKeigan is active behind the scenes in the arts and cultural sector and the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Nova Scotia. With over 15 years of experience working within and reporting on cultural policy, government-cultural relations, and innovations in economic development through the arts, Cat brings a novel perspective and queer voice to conversations around arts management, public policy, and institutional relations. Their cultural research and management practice bridges the gap between artistic practice and public policy interest. 

Cat regularly leads and collaborates on various research projects under the umbrellas of cultural, economic, and community development. These projects include strategic planning, program evaluation, governance reorganization, grants preparation, human resources management, communication plans, organizational review, change management, and economic impact analysis. Cat also works as an arts manager, teaches courses in technical theatre, cultural policy, and government policy towards business, and keeps active in their artistic practice through production management, technical theatre, live-streaming, and producing within the performing arts. Their practical experience in the arts is directly linked to their drive for capacity building in the cultural sector and across the Queer community through values-sharing, mutual understanding, and a shared experience base with other individuals.

Cat has multiple degrees including a Bachelor of Arts (honors) in Theatre (Bishop’s University, 2005), a Master of Public Administration (Dalhousie University, 2008), and an Interdisciplinary PhD with a focus on cultural policy (Dalhousie University, 2020). They have presented their research at regional, national, and international conferences. Select notable conference invitations include the BIA Conference in Campus Künzelsau, Germany (2019), the Creative City Conference in Halifax, NS (2017), TILT City in Vancouver, BC (2015), and Metropolis (2011) in Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal.

In their interdisciplinary doctoral study at Dalhousie University, Cat opened the field of public administration to investigate the institutional and organizational structures of arts support provided by the Nova Scotia Government and associated cross-sector relationships. They introduced a critical analysis of public policy administration and the consequences of this organization for how professional artists know and do their work. Through this institutional ethnographic research, Cat uncovered and examined policy consequences that contribute to an administrative skills deficit within the professional arts sector, high levels of burnout across arts administrators, and challenges experienced by artists, cultural organizations, and governing agencies when reporting on policy outcomes. Cat also identified policy and programming recommendations to effectively address these challenges that meet both the sector and the department’s interest.

Colleen MacIsaac (they/them)

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Colleen is a multi-disciplinary freelance artist based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. Former Managing Director of 2b theatre company and Chair of the Board of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op, Colleen is the current Artistic Producer of the Villains Theatre. Winner of the Bhayana Invisible Champion Award and the Halifax Mayor’s Award for Emerging Theatre Artist, Colleen’s work in comics has been nominated for national awards, their short animated films have featured in festivals on four continents, and they have worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for over a decade. A graduate of Emily Carr University, Colleen’s training in theatre has largely been acquired through trying things, making mistakes, and attempting to learn from those mistakes. 

Jess Smith

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Jess Smith is a non-binary person (identifying as genderqueer), they work as a legal coordinator in a large media company’s corporate office. They also assist small businesses, non-profits, and entertainers as a content creator to help their clients’ present their best selves online. In 2018, they began doing drag as Pat McCox, whose charming personality and slick style has won the titles of Mr. Fall Fest, Mx. Queer Halifax and 2019 Performance of the Year. They have previously set on the boards of both Halifax Pride and Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project. Jess currently sits on the board of Fierté Canada Pride as Atlantic Regional Director and acted as lead of the Governance Committee while the organization underwent a governance and policy restructure.

You can find them on social media platforms as @JessHFX.

Carol Dobson

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Carol Dobson has been an independent communications consultant for the past 27  years  She has worked on a number of significant public events including the Halifax-Dartmouth Canada Day Committee (18 years), building it to the largest July 1 celebration east of Ottawa. Other significant events she has guided include the 50th Anniversary of VE Day, the Halifax Garden Festival, Yorkshire 2000, and three International Gatherings of the Clans in Nova Scotia.  

She has also served as the PR advisor for Flamenco En Rouge, the Zonta Club of Halifax, and the Federation for Scottish Culture in Nova Scotia.  Carol spent 26 years as a contract writer for the Saltwire Network, with at least 10,000 articles published during this time.  As a storyteller, Carol has worked with a number of local tour companies writing and providing guided tours throughout the Atlantic Provinces.  With the COVID crisis, this important sector of the tourism industry has been crippled so Carol has been using her background in media and government relations to bring the issues faced by the ‘people movers’, including attracting the interest of the Financial Times of London.

Carol is a strategic thinker and problem solver who loves the challenge of helping organizations succeed.

Lorraine Albert

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Lorraine Albert is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, designer and freelancer whose work is rooted in conceptual ideation & problem-solving, specializing in brainstorming, branding and corporate identities. She is an attentive listener who has a knack for “pulling threads,” linking ideas, and making connections. Lorraine has a diploma in Graphic Design from Dawson College, a Bachelor of Fine Art from Concordia University and a Masters of Fine Art from NSCAD University. She has worked as a designer in Brisbane, AUS, as well as Vancouver, Montréal, and Halifax. 

Lorraine has been a panelist at the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD) conference in Halifax and presented a paper on alternative art pedagogies at the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC) conference in Banff, AB. She has co-facilitated a round-table addressing Land & Treaties at UAAC in Waterloo, ON. Lorraine has been a scholar at the Centre for Art Tapes (Halifax), and most recently participated in the Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art Summer Session on Indigenous Architecture in Winnipeg, MB. Her work has appeared in festivals, venues, galleries, and at various sites in Canada and Australia, including “Steps Forward,” a permanent public art installation on the Skyline Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. 

With a unique perspective in art and design, Lorraine has established herself in Halifax as a freelance Media Manager & Designer, working with local businesses and universities. She is currently a Social Media Coordinator & Design Researcher at Fathom Studio in Dartmouth, NS. 


Krista Tannahill

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Krista Tannahill is a social media and online marketing expert with a focus on helping artists, non-profits and entrepreneurs shine online. Whether you need support with your social media, online advertising or are just looking for new ways to be found online, Krista can help! 

I work with clients who want improve their online visibility. Whether you are looking for social media management support, Google My Business help, or online advertising services – I am here to help you.

Kayleigh Sheehan

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As a SAM Consultant, Kayleigh has worked with the Nova Scotia Talent Trust and Visual Arts Nova Scotia. She has also worked with 2b theatre company (Associate Producer), Zuppa Theatre Co. (Associate Administrator), the Nova Scotia High School Drama Festival (Administrator), and the Atlantic Film Festival (Box Office and Theatre Manager).

Kayleigh is a volunteer with Halifax Public Libraries and the Fusion Halifax Arts and Culture Action Team, and was a juror for the 2016 Theatre Nova Scotia Robert Merritt Awards.