Steering Committee

  • Ayesha Valliani

    Co-Founder & Co-Director
    Ayesha Valliani is one of the Co-Founders of The Elements Experiment, and a Master’s student at the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. Her academic interests in different models of negotiating minority rights, citizenship, and faith come from having grown up in South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, where issues of multicultural accommodation are understood in drastically different ways. Co-founding The Elements Experiment was the ideal way to discover how Canadians understand and share their own versions of citizenship and community building.

    - Ayesha Valliani
  • Alison Colpitts

    Communications Coordinator
    Given Alison’s love of spreadsheets, the Communications Coordinator was a natural role for her to fill. Her main task is to find and keep track of Elements contacts nationwide to advertise the project and to garner submissions. Alison has a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago and works at promoting civic and political engagement in Canada. In her spare time, she likes to bake while singing along to show tunes.

    - Alison Colpitts
  • Helen Mo

    Conference Coordinator
    Helen Mo is on the Elements Experiment steering committee and will coordinate the conference taking place in October 2014. She is an enthusiastic supporter of the interdisciplinary, boundary-defying Elements mandate. Helen’s academic interests are strewn across the fields of literature, history, and (most recently) the anthropology of religion. For her doctoral project, she will examine how an ethnic evangelical subculture coalesced around Chinese churches in Toronto’s suburbs.  Being both a former English teacher and arts aficionado, promoting young people’s creative and intellectual contributions feels as natural and necessary to Helen as breathing.

    - Helen Mo
  • Saliha Chattoo

    Marketing Coordinator
    Saliha Chattoo is proud to be a member of both the Elements steering committee and the Elements marketing team. She runs the Elements Facebook page, helped organize the launch party, and is looking forward to the upcoming marketing projects for the Elements conference in October 2014. Saliha has a background in theatre and journalism, and holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Classics and an M.A. in Religion and Culture. She is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto and is the managing editor of Religion Beat, a forthcoming blog for the Religion in the Public Sphere initiative at the University of Toronto.

    - Saliha Chattoo
  • Simon Coleman

    Steering Committee Member
    Simon Coleman is Jackman Professor at the Department for the Study of Religion. He has long had an interest in the connections between aesthetics and religion. In 2012 he co-organized an art exhibition on migration and sacred materialities in downtown Toronto, and in 2013 worked on a project with ArtHeart Community Art Centre in Regent Park. He is a faculty member of the steering committee.

    - Simon Coleman