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Shani Khoo Parsons (Canada/US, b.1970, Philadelphia) is an independent curator, designer, and founding director of Critical Distance Centre for Curators. With degrees in architecture (Temple University, Philadelphia, 1994) and graphic design (RISD, Providence, 2000) she has pursued a multidisciplinary, process-driven practice within independent and institutional contexts, and has produced an eclectic body of work ranging from intimate artist’s books to immersive exhibitions.

After moving to Toronto from New York, she became interested in creating a hybrid model for curating and exhibition-making, one that provides institutional support for independent curators at all stages in their professional development and advances sustainable practices for curatorial production and publishing, as well as opportunities for community building, professional development, and critical discourse. 

Now in its eighth year, Critical Distance has established itself as a not-for-profit space devoted to the support and advancement of curatorial practice and inquiry in Toronto and beyond. With a focus on critically engaged, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary practices, underrepresented artists and art forms, and community outreach and education in art and exhibition-making, Critical Distance is an open platform for diverse curatorial practices and perspectives, and a vibrant forum for the exchange of ideas on curating as a way to connect, engage, and inform people and publics across cultures, disciplines, geographies, and generations.

Independent curatorial projects include solo/group exhibitions and site-responsive installations featuring local and international artists working in all media, experimental thematic moving image programs, art book fair presentations, and discursive event series. Research interests include transdisciplinary, site-responsive approaches to exhibition- and publication-making; cross-cultural dialogue and collaborative frameworks for thinking, making, and being; and new collectivities in the arts and society at large.

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