But wait, what is "UKAI" →
UKAI Projects (UKAI) makes space for cultures to grow.
We free up resources from systems that are dead and dying and make them available for new projects to emerge.
We move into cracks or unoccupied spaces in existing structures.
We use the tools of the system to dismantle the system and free up resources for new production to happen.
We connect creators to others doing similar work around the world.
Incubators exist to help startups grow. Incubators are being increasingly leveraged globally to catalyze economic and community development. This is an admirable pursuit but raises important questions about the types of activities that are being supported and the forms that positive development takes. The moral foundations of capitalism are dominating more and more aspects of our culture. Unsurprisingly, incubators echo this, with an emphasis on economic growth, competition, and acquisition.
Ferment is a year-long collective exploration for around 20 cultural producers looking to sustain themselves creatively and financially while drawing on different ways of understanding the world. Projects centre on leveraging the tools of capitalism toward different ends. The 2019 cohort is exploring urban development, national borders, artificial intelligence, and financial instruments.
Board of Directors
Neha Kohli is a comedian, actor and writer as well as a Chartered Professional Accountant. Neha is a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory Program as well as recipient of the 2018 Diversity Fellowship which is awarded by The Second City to the 15 brightest new, diverse voices in comedy. She has appeared on The Second City Toronto Mainstage in the student shows “It’s Funny Because it’s Trudeau” and “Wack Mirror.” Neha co-wrote and starred in the Luminari ad I Am A CPA (Rant) (that went viral and had over 200,000 views online). Neha currently teaches for the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants, is a Professor in the business school at Centennial College and a program designer and facilitator at Artscape Launchpad. She has founded her own tax consulting practice, which specializes in tax consulting for entertainers. You can catch her producing and hosting her very own monthly comedy variety show called OTHER at The Second City Training Centre. Neha is passionate about comedy, entrepreneurship and community building. Are you still reading? Cilantro.
Amy Gottung is a culture and non-profit strategist, researcher, fundraiser, and organizer. She works collaboratively, internationally, and intersectorally with partners to advance timely, responsive creation and ways of creating.
Her clients range from grassroots collectives to leading regional institutions, and span sectors that include social service, television and film, live performance, and adult education.
Amy has held leading positions in creative and development departments in New York and Toronto, including those at PBS/WNET, Florentine Films, and Tapestry Opera. As a producer, she has managed complex projects and large teams for platforms ranging from live broadcast television, to art-tech hackathons, to international festivals (Luminato et al.). She is currently ED of Long Winter, Toronto's eclectic all-ages, pay-what-you-can music and art series.
Amy holds a SSHRC-funded M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B. Mus from McGill University. She is based in Toronto, Canada, where she creates, consults, coaches, and organizes with great people making interesting work.
For seven years Omer Ismael has worked as a project lead, either in the manager or coordinator capacity in the fields of local community development, arts administration, 21st Century Education and social enterprise.
Graduating from York University with a Bachelor of Arts, Omer worked as a manager of AVNU, a collaborative organization consisting of 8 of Toronto’s top youth training and development organizations. He is also a Canadian Race Relations Delegate, a Studio Y Fellow at Mars Discovery District and serve on the MLSE Launchpad Research Advisory Committee. He has had the pleasure of facilitating over 100 workshops to youth on behalf of the Royal Ontario Museum, Luminato Festival, the City of Toronto and other arts organizations.
Nikki Cajucom is a serious dabbler, a recovering Executive Director, and is curious about the cosmos. Compelled by her experience as a second-generation child of the Filipinx diaspora, Nikki found solace in exploring ancestral trauma through bridging old and new practices.
From 2015 to 2018, Nikki led Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture, a charitable community organization based in Toronto. She retired from the organization in March 2018 and continues to support Kapisanan as a strategic consultant.
Her multifaceted experience with the creative community at large crosses international borders, with clients and partners ranging from local grassroots initiatives, academic and fine art institutions, interdisciplinary festivals, corporate businesses, and more.
When Nikki is not at her desk coordinating learning opportunities at Artscape Daniels Launchpad, she volunteers with ArtReach Toronto’s Program Advisory Committee, FACTOR Canada’s roster of jury members, and seeks joy from libraries, performing (in all the ways), and finding cracks of beauty in the grotesque.
Through organizational design, leadership development and strategy facilitation, Jerrold supports partner organizations to synthesize their ambitions and the needs of their stakeholders, communities and users. His practice focuses on creating spaces for people to come together so that different things can happen. When we design interactions with intent, we get better outcomes. When we make things special, we survive better because taking pains convinces us that the activity was worth doing.
Jerrold was the previously the Director of Creative Ecology Leadership at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the Director of Innovation and Program Partnerships for leadership programming at Banff Centre. He spent 10 years at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and was tasked with creating opportunities for the Centre's different communities to come together and create together. Indigenous leaders, oil executives, artists, researchers, non-profit leaders, and local community members had different needs and expectations. Designing spaces that didn't privilege particular ways of seeing the world was an ongoing challenge. He had lots of practice.