Artist-run centres emerged in Canada in the 70s and 80s as a reaction to the formal art institution, which was completely inaccessible to regional contemporary artists. Decades later, the artist-run centre system has become an establishment unto itself, with thinking from the 70s and 80s built into its system frameworks. Today, these centres often find themselves to incorporate non white artists and staff leaders into their organizations in any meaningful way. Responding to funder demands to become more equitable, these centres often have BIPOC community members on speed-dial when they’re looking for board volunteers to check off boxes on grant applications, but the relationship remains thin and fragile between these centres and expanded communities.

This panel on Institution + Access will reflect on the challenges and potential of the artist-run centre system to serve and represent the totality of their communities.

Hybrid in-person + zoom event

 Zoom registration here 


Franci DuranPraba PilarTamara ToledoFacilitator: Cecilia Araneda


Francisca Duran is a Chilean-Canadian experimental media artist who creates films, video installation, and 2D, photo-based, mixed-media works about history, memory, power and violence. Duran has exhibited internationally at film festivals and venues including International Film Festival at Rotterdam, HotDocs, Arkipel, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Kassel DOKFest, Los Angeles Film Forum, John Hansard Gallery and VideoPool Gallery. Duran holds an M.F.A. from York University and a B.A.H. from Queen’s University. Her practice has been supported by research, travel, and production grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

Photo credit: Justine McCaloskey


Praba Pilar is a queer diasporic Colombian artist creating performance art, social practice, digital/electronic installations, experimental public talks, and workshops in museums, universities, festivals, galleries, and streets around the world. Pilar has a decades long practice critical of extraction-based approaches to technology.

In search of better electric dreams, she is sharing approaches rooted in hemispheric resistance and resurgence by engaging the public through reflection, generosity, and criticality. Her most recent project, The Techno-Tamaladas, has been awarded MACLA’s Cultura Power Fellowship, Headlands Center for the Arts’ Community Rapid Response Fund Award, and the California Arts Council’s Local Impact Award. Pilar has a PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis, is presently teaching in Critical Studies at California College of the Arts, and can be visited online at


Tamara Toledo is a Chilean-born Toronto-based curator, writer, and artist. Toledo is co-founder of the Allende Arts Festival and of the non profit arts organization Latin American Canadian Art Projects-LACAP. For the past fifteen years, she has curated numerous exhibitions and projects offering spaces and opportunities for Latin American and Latinx artists. She designed the Latin American Speakers Series for which she has invited internationally renowned contemporary artists and curators to Toronto to articulate and discuss issues of identity and intercultural dynamics in contemporary art granting opportunities of hemispheric encounters and exchange.

Toledo has presented her work at various conferences in Montreal, New York, Vancouver, Chicago, Mexico City, and Toronto. Her writing has appeared in ARM Journal, C Magazine, Fuse, Canadian Art, and Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture Journal of the University of California.  Her practice follows an intersectional approach and touches on aspects of resistance, resiliency, and representation within decolonizing frameworks. Toledo is presently the Director/Curator of Sur Gallery, the only space dedicated to contemporary Latin American art in Canada, and is PhD Art History and Visual Culture candidate at York University.


A Chilean-Canadian filmmaker and media art curator Cecilia Araneda came to Canada as a child as a refugee after her family escaped Chile’s military dictatorship. She holds a BFA (hons) from York University and an MFA from the University of British Colombia. Her short films have been presented at film festivals and art museums around the world, and have been recognized with a number of national and international awards and distinctions. Araneda has more recently completed her first feature film, Intersection, staring Carmen Aguirre, to be released in fall 2022.

From 2006 to 2017, Araneda served as the longest-tenured Executive Director of the storied Winnipeg Film Group, the largest independent media arts centre on the prairies. In 2005, she co-founded the Winnipeg-based WNDX Festival of Moving Image. In 2014, she co-founded Mujer Artista, a group of prairie-based Latin women artists. In 2019, she became the first ever prairie recipient of the national Joan Lowndes Award from the Canada Council for the Arts, for her independent curatorial practice.