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Blair Francey, M.A.

Executive Director, Co-Founder

Blair is currently the Senior Design at Trajectory Brands Inc.

In August 2007, Blair established BFdesign, a boutique design agency offering branding, website design, marketing strategy and print design to a variety of organizations from small not-for-profit to large-scale educational institutions, including: Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation, Toronto Fringe Festival, The Chang School of Continuing Education (Ryerson University), Oakville Symphony, Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Glenn Gould Foundation, and Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.

In 2012, Blair graduated with Distinction from Goldsmiths, University of London with a Masters of Arts (Design: Critical Practice). The program allowed him to explore his love of transit, civic-engagement and city-building through the development of two projects in particular; technology and narrative. This exploration culminated in his thesis project, Public Transit: Remixed, a look at designing a holistic transit system from an experiential, as opposed to an infrastructure, standpoint. He was selected as one of four finalists in the Global Engineering Innovation Challenge hosted by the Toronto chapter of Engineers Without Borders in March 2013 where he presented some of his ideas from Public Transit: Remixed to much enthusiasm.

In 2015, Blair and his colleague Jennifer Chan (Exhibit Change) co-founded the Department of Imaginary Affairs. The DIA made its public debut with an independent installation at the 2015 Scotiabank Nuit Blanche titled The East Side Stories.

Blair is also a graduate of the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada’s playwriting program (2004). In 1997 he was the youngest produced playwright at the Rhubarb! Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. He has also had a selection of monologues and scenes published in an anthology of queer writers, edited by Sky Gilbert.

Jennifer Chan, M. Des, SFI.

Director of Programming, Co-Founder

Jenn is currently the Design Strategy Lead on the Green Change team at the Jane Finch Centre.

In 2007,  Jenn founded Exhibit Change, design-driven community engagement firm that focuses on city-building and education initiatives.

Fundamentally, Jenn works with organizations and communities to help facilitate conversations between stakeholders, design participatory processes and help implement creative problem solving.

Jenn brings her educational background in architecture and design to help mould her thinking and approach to community engagement, city-building and education. Jenn holds a Bachelors of Architectural Science from Ryerson University and is working towards her Masters of Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

Jenn’s work has been broad to say the least and so at times it is hard to define or pin down. Here are a few examples of work she has participated on: program development and design labs for Girls E-Mentoring, a girls’ career mentorship program; and Green Change, a hub connecting community to place-making; strategic planning for Women in Toronto Politics, a grassroots group amplifying the voice’s of women in politics; Connected in Motion, a community of T1 diabetics connecting around sports; and Council of Educators of Toronto, a round table of universities and colleges focusing on accessibility to post-secondary.

All of this work has led Jenn to working with Blair on the inception of the Department of Imaginary Affairs and working on her 3rd Scotiabank Nuit Blanche installation (2nd in St. James Park). The inaugural project and installation called “The East Side Story” is just the beginning of this work. Together, Blair and Jenn envision a youth-led solutions design lab that focuses on civic engagement and city-building problem solving.

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Mathura Mahendren

Program Manager, The Stories of Us

Mathura is a design researcher by nurture, and a storyteller by nature. She holds a BHSc from McMaster University, and three-quarters of a MDes from OCAD University’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation program (#thesisinprogress).

From observing delegations at the World Health Assembly, to spending eight months embedded in The Gambian suburbia, and co-creating an adult summer camp digital detox in Haliburton, Ontario, Mathura’s desire to deeply understand the human experience has been her trusted compass on her winding trajectory to date. She believes in ways of being, doing, and leading that are equal parts soft and fierce, and is excited to experiment with what that might look like in The Stories of Us project.

In her spare time, Mathura is an old soul and enjoys engaging in old soul activities.

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