Artist Talk: Merle Harley

Artist Talk: Merle Harley

IMG_6134Join us on Thursday, March 23rd at 7pm at the Khyber Centre for the Arts for an artist talk from our E-Lab Artist in Residence Merle Harley!

Merle will be discussing her most recent work exploring the parallels between codes, algorithms, and systems within electronics, and those used within knitting and weaving patterns.

Thursday March 23rd, at 7pm
Khyber Centre for the Arts
1880 Hollis st.

Moving Forward: What Came From Our Visioning and Where Do We Go From Here

Dear CFAT Membership and Community,

A few weeks ago CFAT held a gathering inviting members and interested community to discuss how our centre can be of better service to artists (and those who want to be artists) working with digital and electronic technologies. This gathering helped give CFAT a clearer picture of how our communities understand the centre’s value and where the centre should prioritize its efforts to be of even greater relevance and service.

The following information is a summary of key themes that came from the discussions throughout the evening. This input is critical for assuring that those of us working on behalf of our members as board and staff are steering the organization in a way that reflects and is worthy of the artists we serve.

To those who were able to join us for the meeting, we are grateful for your generosity of time and spirit and we thank you for your help.

Couldn’t make the meeting? Want to give your thoughts? It’s not too late to contribute. Feel free to contact the CFAT board of directors directly ( or complete this brief survey (

In the coming months, CFAT will use this input as a lens through which we will re-articulate our organization’s mission and goals. Please keep in touch and look out for more information on how else you can be involved!

Becka Barker

Chair, Board of Directors


Theme 1: Membership, Access, and Community

  • What does it mean to belong or be ‘of’ the centre? Should a fee constitute membership? If not, what should?
  • Membership fees are a barrier to economically-marginalized artists (ie most of us).
  • CFAT dollars are great for offsetting equipment rental expenses, but can’t be used for membership.
  • More transparency/feedback loops for membership are needed to ensure will, direction, and activities undertaken by the centre reflect what members want and need.
  • Members need to feel they have ownership of the organization.
  • Membership needs to be more diverse and inclusive; membership and interested community identify the membership fee itself as an economic barrier to participation in the organization.
  • How can we be a group and a space that makes media artists want to get together, share their work, and support each other? Can we improve the space we’re in? What are our priorities for physical space?
  • How can we better connect artists to funding opportunities that support the creation and dissemination of their work?

Theme 2: Representation and Diversity

  • There was widespread acknowledgement by all present that CFAT must prioritize needs of historically-marginalized and -racialized artists, as we are missing out on stories, voices, and points of view that push, challenge, and help shape our understanding of art and the world.
  • Many articulated the concern of tokenism and thinking of this particular issue in terms that are accidentally exclusionary (i.e. framing this ‘issue’ only as outreach, or in terms of special programs).
  • The reason for increasing participation by artists who are racialized and/or otherwise marginalized should be to promote a broader array of stories, voices, and perspectives still missing from much of local contemporary art and the arts in general.
  • People of colour seeing themselves in stories/ideas explored by artists of colour is crucial to eventually normalizing such diversity.
  • The need for inclusion of racialized and other marginalized artists at CFAT must exist in all aspects of the organization: from governance, to staff, to membership activity, to participation in programming and production support/professional development programs.

Theme 3: Employment Fairness/Respect for Artists and Cultural Workers

  • Staff employed at CFAT need to be paid a living wage.
  • Artists’ work and art-related contributions outside of their studio practices (such as participation on juries) should be compensated, as it negatively impacts the artist’s ability to make a living otherwise.
  • That artist-run centre staff positions are normalized as ‘burn-out’ jobs (ie extremely high responsibility and highly-specialized expertise for very low wages) is problematic and needs to change.
  • Ensuring adequate support for staff to ensure a healthy and equitable working environment should be a priority.

Theme 4: Organizational Transparency and Funding

  • CFAT must strive for excellence not only in the artwork whose production and dissemination we support, but also excellence in organizational practices and policies.
  • CFAT should increase its organizational transparency at all levels (board, staff, committees, etc.) and improve communication with community.
  • CFAT needs to work toward becoming a more sustainable organization in terms of how it allocates its funds toward programs and projects, and it should become more open to unorthodox funding sources (such as crowdfunding).
  • CFAT needs to investigate anti-oppression and decolonization as positions to help us critique how the very manner of its existence might inadvertently contribute toward oppression rather than equitable access.
  • There was significant hope that Canada Council’s new funding model will give us an opportunity to reconsider our organizational structure.

Collaborations and Community Involvement

  • Artistic production through CFAT would benefit from collaborations with disciplines outside of CFAT’s usual ‘comfort zone’; increasing porosity (or even total dissolution!) of disciplinary distinctions with respect to media arts.
  • Partnerships CFAT establishes should be ones that help the organization grow and lessen organizational burdens for both parties.
  • Keeping relationships with ‘sister’ organizations healthy will strengthen our community.
  • CFAT has been sought out to help support the development and growth of media arts spaces for/with emerging projects, festivals, and groups. How can we best support such growth? What should CFAT’s role be when it comes to offering indirect support?

Send Us Your Plants!

Garden Party
For the next month and a half we’re looking for plant donations! They can be mature plants, cuttings from other plants, or even just seeds. In April we will be selling all the plants here at the Centre for our first ever Garden Party fundraiser.  If you have a plant you’d like to donate drop it off at anytime to Tori or Sally at 2238 Maitland st.

Say Hello to Our New Operations Director Sally Raab!


The Centre for Art Tapes is excited to welcome our new Operations Director, Sally Raab to the team!

Sally Raab is a multidisciplinary artist who dabbles in critical writing and curating, her work has been both published and exhibited in Canada and the United States; most notable at Lumière in collaboration with her husband and DIY techie Shawn Wolchyn, TRUCK Gallery’s +15 Space and the 2012 Calgary Biennial.

She has been enthusiastically involved in Artist Run Culture for over 6 years. A self-proclaimed governance nerd, she was the Programming Coordinator of Untitled Art Society and has sat on the board of a handful of artist run centres in Alberta. She currently chairs the board and sits on the programming committee of Eyelevel Gallery. Sally is very excited to be taking on the role of Director of Operations and working with such knowledgeable and devoted staff and volunteers.

Sally will start with us on Tuesday, February 31st. If you would like to reach Sally with any questions or to send her a congrats you can reach her at

Winter Fundraiser

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Poster by Jason Skinner

New date! Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Our cabaret fundraiser will be a night of music, short films, and performances. The night has been curated by long time CFAT member and former Programming Director, James MacSwain. The fundraiser will feature films by Josh Owen, Tim Tracey, Becky Welter-Nolan and Ann Verrall. Performances by Veronique Mackenzie. The night will include a silent auction and a chance to buy some of our CFAT shirts and totes designed by Paul Hammond.

Pick up your tickets here at 2238 Maitland st.

We are still confirming with artists so stay tuned for more exciting names!

Winter Fundraiser

Thursday, April 6th 2017

Show at 7:30pm

$10 per ticket

Member Vision Meeting: Take 2!


We unfortunately had to cancel our last meeting due to a snow storm, but we’re ready to try this again! The Centre for Art Tapes Board of Directors invites you to help build the vision for CFAT in the coming years. On Wednesday, January 25th at 6pm, meet us at CFAT and have your voice heard!

We want to know how CFAT is working for you. What parts of the centre are most used? What programs are the most important to you? How can we better support media artists? How can we better serve artists from historically-underrepresented communities? How can we provide a path toward becoming an artist for those who can’t afford a university degree? How can we improve our organizational accountability to our staff and to the membership as a whole?

We will work towards answers to these questions and more. The meeting is open to anyone in the community including current and past CFAT members.


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Image by Ryan Josey

2016/17 Media Arts Scholarship Exhibition

The Centre for Art Tapes is pleased to present OUT OF THE CENTRE: The 2016/17 Media Arts Scholarship Presentation. For 28 years, the CFAT Media Art Scholarship Program has provided local artists with the chance to explore an aspect of media art with which they have little to no experience. Scholars receive six months of one-to-one guidance from specially selected mentors, as well as workshops taught by experts in areas such as audio, video, production, editing, after effects and electronics. For the duration for the program, they have free access to facilities, equipment, and staff support.

This year’s presentation includes works by:

  • Jeighk Koyote (Mentor: Sam Decoste)
  • Tamar Dina (Mentor: Becka Barker)
  • Todd Fraser (Mentor: Lukas Pearse)
  • Ryan Josey (Mentor: James MacSwain)
  • Kate Ward (Mentor: Susan Tooke)

Thursday, February 9th at 7pm

Enter through the Centre for Art Tapes back door at 2169 Gottingen St.
Suggested Donation of $10