‘We want to belong to a common narrative’: Devyani Saltzman on systemic changes in Canadian arts

(Photo credit: Liat Aharoni/ The OJA)

Devyani Saltzman was born into the arts and culture world, the daughter of two filmmakers—one Jewish, one Indian. Raised on production sets, she went on to write dozens of articles for newspapers and magazines, become the founding curator at Toronto’s Luminato festival and work at numerous arts institutions, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, where she was the director of public programming from 2018 to 2021.

Her current goal is to change the behind-the-scenes makeup of the arts world. Despite how diverse the industry seems from audiences’ perspectives, she says, boards are still largely white and many institutions run in an old-fashioned, top-down way. Even when people of colour are included, it’s easy to feel like a token gesture.

In this episode of Rivkush, The CJN’s podcast featuring Jews of colour, Saltzman sits down with Rivkush for an in-depth conversation about her career, the state of the arts industry and how things can change for the better.


Rivkush is hosted by Rivka Campbell. Michael Fraiman is the editor and prodcer. Our theme music is by Westside Gravy. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.