We would like to extend a warm welcome to Hilda Nanning and Mollie Burke, who are joining returning board members Aileen Bahmanipour, Sara Ellis, Jennifer Huang, Michael C.K. Ma, Madison Mayhew, and James Spetifore to form the 2022/23 Board of Directors. Keep scrolling down to read their bios. This year’s slate was confirmed at our Annual General Meeting on July 29, 2022.

The society would like to thank outgoing board members Roxanne Panchasi and Alena Webber for their contributions. Roxanne had been with UNIT/PITT since 2019, and was the curator and creator of La Commune 2021 Free School & Artist Residency, one of UNIT/PITT’s most ambitious recent programs. Alena joined the board in 2020 and has co-chaired the Human Resources Committee alongside Madison Mayhew. Last year Alena provided guidance during the relaunch of UNIT/PITT’s Membership and Donation platforms.

There are still two vacancies on the Board of Directors for 2022/23. We’re committed to providing leadership positions to Black, Indigenous, racialized, trans, Two-Spirit, queer and disabled people, and people with lived experiences of poverty. If you’re interested to learn more, you can contact Board Chair Jennifer Huang at governance [@] unitpitt.ca

Aileen Bahmanipour (Secretary) is an Iranian-Canadian artist based in Vancouver since 2014. She has received her BFA in Painting from the Art University of Tehran and MFA in Visual arts from the University of British Columbia. Bahmanipour has exhibited her work in a body of solo and group exhibitions in Iran as well as in Canada, including her solo and group exhibitions at Vancouver’s grunt gallery, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Gallery 1515, Hatch Art Gallery, and Two Rivers Gallery. She is the recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant in 2017, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Artist in 2019, and Early Career Development grant from BC Arts Council in 2019. Website

Mollie Burke (she/her) is a visual artist living and working on unceded coast Salish territory. She employs dissonant aesthetic strategies to explore themes of embodiment, abstraction, and waste. She holds a BA from McGill University in art history and cultural studies, a diploma of fine art from Langara, and a Masters of Fine Art from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She was awarded the Bill Watson award for excellence in printmaking, the Barbara and Arne Vengshoel scholarship for excellence in visual arts, and the SSHRC graduate research scholarship. She recently completed residencies at Griffin art projects and Material Matters design research lab. 

Sara Ellis (Archive Committee Chair) is the Art Librarian at UBC’s Music, Art & Architecture Library. Her background is in libraries and education: in addition to experience in academic and special library settings and public library service, Sara has worked as an art history instructor, developing curricula and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes, and road-tripping to explore arts and culture sites and historic small towns.

Jennifer Huang (Board Chair; Board Development Committee Chair) has a background in art history and english literature and is interested in photography, video art, archives, and community based initiatives. Her goal is to work toward creating accessible and informative spaces and platforms. She also maintains a photographic practice. Website

Black and white photograph of Michael C.K. Mah against a white background, from the shoulders up, smiling

Michael C.K. Ma is a faculty member in the Department of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia. He works in the area of social justice, community advocacy, anti-racism, and harm reduction. His current research is in the area of drug use. He is a founding member of The Social Justice Centre, and a current member of the Vancouver District Labour Council. In the past he was very active with the Chinese Canadian National Council – Toronto Chapter and the Metro Network for Social Justice. His academic training is in sculpture, art history, and social/political thought.

Black and white photograph of Madison Mayhew tending to a large leafy plant, smiling

Madison Mayhew (Vice Chair) is a writer, musician, and cultural worker interested in the environmental and economic specificities of the Pacific Northwest coast, working within Marxist understandings of aesthetic production, urban/rural space, and history. She is based in Vancouver, BC and works as the Admin & Governance Coordinator at 221A Artist Run Centre Society. She holds a MA in Comparative Media Arts from SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts (2021) and a BFA in Critical and Cultural Practice from Emily Carr University (2017).

Hilda NanningRSW, RCC, was a performer in the underground Vancouver art scene in the early 80’s where the Unit Pitt emerged with its name. Hilda’s background includes work as a community developer, community art advocate/producer, social worker and was the founder/director of the social profit, Vancouver ProChoices Community Therapy Clinic. Hilda maintains a poststructuralist, constructionist therapy practice and remains active in her pursuit to support experience across the divides of individualism and capitalist agendas. At the centre of her work is a passion for dialogue that explores choice and resistance.

Black and white photograph of James Spetifore in a touque, against a concrete background

James Spetifore is a screen printer, artist and graphic designer based in so called Vancouver BC. Being involved in the local arts and culture scene is one of his biggest passions and aside from being involved with UNIT/PITT, he is also involved with CiTR & Discorder Magazine as a graphic designer, is currently on the board of directors for Unibrow Comedy and Zine festival, and has also founded Good Luck Studios, a print studio based out of Red Gate Arts Society.

Andrea Valentine-Lewis (Treasurer) (she/her) is an independent curator and writer based on the unceded and traditional territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations – what is colonially known as Vancouver, BC. In 2022, her curatorial projects were presented in several spaces around Vancouver including Equinox Gallery, Burrard Arts Foundation, and Duplex Artist Society. Valentine-Lewis holds a BA in Art, Performance and Cinema Studies from Simon Fraser University (2018), and an MA in Art History from McGill University (2020) where her thesis research was supported by SSHRC.