BCMA Virtual Conference 2020

BCMA is pleased to offer a virtual experience this year, with presenters from across the Province lending their voices and expertise! Click on a presenter to view their full bio.


In 2020, innovation has become a method of survival as museums, galleries, science centres, and cultural organizations are faced with a once-in-a-generation crisis. Join Tracy Calogheros (The Exploration Place), Johanna Martens (Kiwanis PAC), Michael Unger (HR MacMillan Space Centre), and Michael Schwartz (Jewish Museum & Archives) for a virtual discussion of how their organizations embraced innovation during COVID-19.

> Tracy Calogheros

Tracy has been the CEO for the Exploration Place, Museum + Science Centre in Prince George for the last two decades. Presently serving as the Past-President of the Canadian Association of Science Centres and as a Fraser Fort George representative to the Fraser Basin Council, her past roles have included work as the Vice Chair of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s Board of Governors, President for both the British Columbia Museums Association and Northern British Columbia Tourism Association. Tracy was honoured in 2017 with the Governor General’s Award for History in Community Programs for her work with the Lheidli T’enneh Nation and, in 2006, received the Association of Science and Technology Centres’ award for Experienced Leadership in the Field. Married with three adult-ish children, she is passionate about her community and the role her facility plays in its richness of life.


> Johanna Martens

Johanna Martens is the founder and owner of Myanna Consulting and the Executive Director for the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre. It is through her hard work and dedication that has made Myanna Consulting into the company that it is today and the KPAC into an innovative centre for the arts. Self-motivated and detailed orientated, Johanna has exceeded all expectations on every project and is no stranger to a new challenge and understands events, non-profits, and community inside and out.

Johanna is not only dedicated to building and growing a successful business, but also to building and growing a successful community. Johanna is involved in a number of boards and committees to help achieve this goal. Johanna has sat as the Regional Coordinator for Success By 6 & Children’s First for the south Peace, as well has sat on a number of community boards and committees such as; The Building Learning Together Society, Dawson Creek Harm Reduction Committee, Local Action Team Committee, and Early Childhood Educators of BC. Johanna also believes in giving back to the communities, as she is one of the founding members of the Stonewell Development Society. Johanna also works with other non-for-profit groups in helping them to achieve their fund raising, marketing, and/or organizational goals.

“I want my children to grow in the best community possible and the only way to ensure this will happen is to get involved”.

> Michael Unger

Michael is the Program Coordinator at HR MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, BC. He’s also the co-founder of the bar lecture series Nerd Nite Vancouver, which is now a podcast called Nerdin’ About. He’s also the manager of Sci-Cats, the Science Communication Action Team. He likes Star Trek, cheese, and baseball cards.






> Michael Schwartz

Michael Schwartz is Director of Community Engagement at the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC. He has developed innovative and award-winning public programs including exhibits, walking tours, a dinner series and podcast showcasing the diverse history of Jewish life in BC. He is co-creator of the Cross Cultural Strathcona Walking Tour and was recognized by the BCMA as a Changemaker in 2017. Michael holds degrees in History and Political Science from Concordia University and the University of Toronto.



Beyond the Black Squares: A Meaningful Conversation on Museums and Allyship

This panel – a bold, honest and meaningful conversation led by IBPOC museum professionals across Canada will reflect on the ongoing race revolution around the world, the unsilencing of racism within white-led institutions and specific calls to action on how museums can become true allies. The panelists will share their range of experiences and truths, but through those experiences offer meaningful solutions to museums and museum leaders.

> Sdaahl Ḵ’awaas – Lucy Bell

Haida Nation, PhD student at SFU
Former Head of the Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department at the Royal BC Museum
Member of the Haida Repatriation Committee

Lucy Bell, Sdahl K’awaas is a Haida museologist from Haida Gwaii. She has worked in the heritage and language management field for over 20 years, including serving as the Head of the Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department at the Royal BC Museum. She and the Haida Repatriation Committee have traveled the globe to bring home over 500 of their ancestors’ remains since 1996. She has witnessed great discrimination and racism in museums but she has also witnessed great friendship and allyship.








> Armando Perla

Armando Perla is an activist and independent curator based in Montreal, Canada. He is an International Advisor on Museums, Human Rights and Social Inclusion for the City of Medellin in Colombia. He has been part of the founding teams for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canada and the Swedish Museum of Movements in Malmo, Sweden. Armando is a board member for ICOM’s International Committee on Ethical Dilemmas.

Armando has been Associate Professor at the University of Winnipeg and the faculty of law at the University of Manitoba. He has worked in different capacities for Casa Alianza Guatemala, Lunds University Commissioned Education in Sweden, the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council in Canada and the Center for Justice and International Law in Washington DC.

Armando holds a Bachelor of Laws by l’Université Laval in Canada and a Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law from Lund University in Sweden. He is currently doing a Doctorate in Art History and Museology at the University of Montreal, where he is studying the impacts of institutional racism in the museum sector in Canada and the United States.



> 方靜怡 Denise Fong

Denise Fong (方靜怡) is a 1.5 generation Chinese Canadian with roots in Hong Kong,Toisan China, New Zealand and San Francisco. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia, with a special interest in public history, digital media and Chinese Canadian history. Since 2009, Denise has coordinated a number of historical research and public history projects, including SFU’s From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration and UBC’s Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past. She recently co-curated two Chinese Canadian exhibitions locally — Burnaby Village Museum’s Across the Pacific exhibition and the Museum of Vancouver’s A Seat at the Table exhibition.



> Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra

Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra is the Coordinator at the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley, co-curator of exhibits at the Sikh Heritage Museum, located in the National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford, BC and a sessional faculty in the Department of History at UFV.

She is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at UBC and is interested in looking at the affective experiences of museum visitors through a critical race theory lens. Sharn has a great passion for activist work and engagement in the community through academia and museum exhibits.


Taking steps to decolonize your institution’s practices requires time, empathy, relationship building, and emotional investment. Join Ta7talíya Nahanee and Chepximiya Siyam’ Chief Janice George for a facilitated discussion of how you can take meaningful steps to improve your practices no matter where you are in your decolonizing journey.

> Ta7talíya Nahanee

Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, is a decolonial facilitator & strategist catalyzing social change to transform colonial narratives & impacts through centred Indigeneity. She works within the intersection of class, culture and creativity focusing on social change through communications and deep engagement. She is the designer of a life-size board game and workshop called Sínulhkay and Ladders which aims to answer the question “what now” in this era of truth & reconciliation. Her approach has earned her the 2019 City of Vancouver Award of Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. Ta7talíya is also a 2020 Dialogue Associate with the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.



> Chepximiya Siyam’ – Chief Janice George

Chief Janice George graduated from Capilano University, North Vancouver BC, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM, USA.   She feels her education at these schools helped her excel as a teacher, adding to her most important traditional teachings. She is a hereditary chief, trained museum curator and educator. George also co-organized the 1st Canada Northwest Coast Weavers Gathering, with other Squamish Nation Weavers.



> c̓ris – Jordan Coble

Jordan was born and raised in the heart of the Okanagan and is dedicated to working for his Nation, community and people. Through the celebration of living history, Jordan strives to provide transformative experiences empowering the voice of the Okanagan/syilx people to be heard and understood as valuable to all walks of life in relation to past, present and future generations. Jordan ensures the application and interpretation of Indigenous knowledge is valued in a respectful manner to create and healthier relationships to serve as the stepping-stones in the reconciliation process. A more comprehensive understanding of the historical interconnectedness between people and place is essential in moving forward together and is rooted in Okanagan pedagogy. Jordan has been fortunate to lead the Sncəwips Heritage Museum to a number of awards as well as successful projects and exhibitions through collaborations and partnerships. In 2019, he has been elected as Councillor for Westbank First Nation and continues to sit on the Board of Directors for Sncəwips Heritage Society.