Zainub Verjee - a synoptic profile

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Zainub Verjee is a major driving force on the global cultural landscape distinguishing herself as a thought leader, innovator, policy maker and administrator. Acknowledged in publications and many citations, inclusive of a textbook case by UNESCO: her career is marked by cutting edge work as a curator, producer, cultural provocateur, theorist and avant garde artist.

Over three decades, as an institution builder, Zainub brings a global understanding in culture management, project management, program development, and corporate strategy. Her work encompasses the wider Culture sector: contemporary arts, heritage, library, museums and archives, communities and cities, and innovation. In her broad ranging work, she has demonstrated her leadership and management skills such as, in building the Western Front Centre into an international contemporary art centre of repute; in developing the cultural plan for the city of Vancouver (Vancouver Arts Initiative) and city of Mississauga (Master Plan for Arts & Culture); and, developing new initiatives and strategic partnerships at the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage (e.g.: Digital Culture initiative; Artist-University Research Alliance program, Artist-Scientist collaboration) and many others.

At the Canada Council for the Arts, Zainub oversaw 11 national funding programs and at the Department of Canadian Heritage she managed portfolios and developed policy with a multi-sectorial focus dealing with: 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games; Table on New Technologies; 2017 Diversity; International Atelier on Culture, Inclusive Citizenship and Social Cohesion; Culture and Technology Task Force and Aboriginal Affairs Branch. She developed strategic plan for short & long term investments in the Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities across two National Directorates and programs: National Arts Training Contribution Program, Arts Presentation Canada, Cultural Spaces, Canadian Arts and Heritage Sustainability Program, Cultural Capitals of Canada, and, Fathers of Confederation Program.

Her work has resulted in numerous appointments to Boards and committees at all levels of governments, autonomous institutions and not-for-profit organizations: Expert Committee for Opening and Closing Ceremonies - Vancouver Olympic Games 2010; Advisory to the President, Simon Fraser University 2006; and, public appointments such as B.C. Arts Board that led to formation of the first B.C. Arts Council through Bill 12; Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund National Assessments; Vancouver Art Gallery, B.C. etc.

She regularly contributes to publications and is invited to speak nationally and internationally, on cultural policy, cultural management, art, cultural diplomacy, relationship between culture, civil society and technology. Her professional and intellectual pursuits include:

  • Cultural Politics of Muslim Identities, Institutions, Societies and Cultural Practices
  • Canadian Contemporary Art, Contemporary Asian Art, Islamic Art, Contemporary Arab Art

She was the co-founder and Festival Director of the critically acclaimed In Visible Colours: An International Film/Video Festival & Symposium for Third World Women and Women of Colour (1988–90). As a media artist she locates her practice in the politics of identity, culture and technology. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally including the prestigious Venice Biennale and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York and resides in private and public collections such as Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada.

Verjee was co-founder and Festival Director for InVisible Colours: An International Film/Video Festival & Symposium (1988–90), participated in the Vancouver Arts Initiative (1991–93), was Executive Director of the Western Front (1991–98), and sat on the B.C. Arts Board (1992–95), whose work led to the formation of the first B.C. Arts Council.

From 1999 to 2005, Verjee was Senior Program Officer Media Arts, New Media, Canada Council for the Arts, and Senior Policy Analyst to the Arts Policy Branch at the Department of Canadian Heritage, Gatineau, in 2006–2007. From 2007–2008 she was Director, Office of Arts and Culture, in Mississauga. Since 2009, she has been Principal Consultant at MetaCulture, a global boutique research and strategy consultancy in Culture, Water, Cities & Innovation.

As a media artist Verjee locates her practice in the politics of identity, culture and technology. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally. She regularly contributes to scholarly publications and has been an invited speaker on cultural policy, arts, relationship between culture and technology on an international stage.