Carly Stasko is a self-titled “imagitator” (who agitates imagination) for connection, wellness, equity, diversity and hopeful futures. Her interdisciplinary art practice includes writing, political theater, visual and street art, rap, dance, film and bead working. Her work as a culture jammer is featured in several documentaries as well as Naomi Klein’s groundbreaking work NO LOGO.
Carly Stasko has 20 years of experience as an interdisciplinary community artist and 10 years as a coordinator and manager in the Integrated Learning and Community Engagement program of the University of Toronto’s Hart House. She recently stepped into a role as a cross-sectoral associate officer at the Ontario Arts Council.
Carly is also a former television producer with CBC Newsworld’s live debate show CounterSpin and continues to work as a freelance podcasted and radio personality. Her writing has been published in journals, magazines and books. Carly founded the Toronto Youth Media Literacy Project and mentored a team of student podcasters at Hart House in collaboration with First Nations House and the Centre for International Experience to create the Storyweaver podcast that centered on IBPOC and LGBTQIA+ stories and perspectives.
Carly’s short documentary Dancing in the Doctor’s Office won an Audience Choice Award at the 2023 Junction North International Documentary Film Festival in Sudbury. Her short film The Power of Dance won Best Short Doc and Best Short at the 2022 Centre for Indigenous Theatre Showcase.
Carly has a BEd and a Master’s in Education focused on art, healing and social justice pedagogy and emphasized the power of art to engage citizens on issues that impact them.
Why you might ask am I featuring this picture of a heart-shaped metal tin filled with vintage buttons that I found at a second hand store? The simple answer is that it called to me and I’ve learned to trust my creative instincts. It’s colourful, fun, full of possibilities, the variety of buttons reminds me of the variety of projects and art practices I engage in. Buttons help hold things together and make connections. Each one has a story. Because I bought a bag of random buttons from the second hand shop I can’t help but imagine the different garments they came from the the lives they touched. This is an example of the ways I am drawn to stories all around me and how I can get inspired by little things. I also chose it because this website, like everything is a work in progress, sometimes you just have to pick something and not be too precious about it and just get to creating. When you trust the creative process, you can play and discover and experiement in ways that lead to unexpected outcomes. What do the buttons make you think about? Do you have a favourite? Why?