Humans of INKspire

Anastasiia Danylova

“Who inspires you?”

“The first person that comes mind is Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe is one of the most famous figures in the history of American art, and her work is very inspiring. At a time when the art world was dominated by men, she managed to build a successful career without sacrificing her unique artistic vision and, most importantly, she didn’t let anyone define her sense of self as a woman. The challenges she faced and risks she took still feel very relevant today.”

Anastasiia Danylova

“Tell us about yourself.”

“I’m originally from Ukraine, but I came to Canada to get my Master’s degree at the University of Toronto. Right now I’m studying within the “Information in Culture” stream of Communication and Media Studies. I work at the Peter Triantos Art Galleries and do some volunteering for the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. I also do work for INKspire. When not immersed in academia or work I write, read, draw, dance, and try to enjoy different art events in Toronto.”

“Can you elaborate a bit on your studies?”

“My studies are at the intersection of media, culture and society. The best way I can describe my field is that it’s a critical study of the way media and communications technologies reflect, represent and influence the world. It encompasses a number of disciplines, including cultural studies, critical information studies, and political economics, and therefore allows those that have been trained in it to explore a variety of different social and political issues in a unique way.”

“What part of media studies do you like the most?”

“It’s hard to say. For someone who grew up reading books like George Orwell’s 1984 or Zamyatin’s We I have always been interested in the role of surveillance within cultures. It’s very thought-provoking to explore how surveillance technologies mediate people’s identity and behaviour. When surveillance technologies are so deeply integrated into daily life you just stop being conscious about them and start taking them for granted.”

“Do you think media can have a negative influence? How do you turn media into a positive thing?”

“I think it can be quite challenging to define “negative” and “positive” influence or what’s good and what’s bad; it depends on the perspectives you take. For instance, is the influence of surveillance technology positive or negative? Surveillance is a necessary part of a daily life, because people believe they will be safer with it. However, a lot of state and structural things are masked behind the illusion of safety and necessity. It’s not all black and white.”

“How did you choose your career path?”

“To be honest I’m still at the stage of exploring my career path. Finding the right one for me is definitely not an easy task. I think that in the media-dominated cultural landscape, media and communications have become the most exciting and powerful subjects to work with. I would say that communications and marketing is something I would like to pursue, preferably in the arts and culture sector.”

“Why are you interested in the arts?”

“I think it’s the emotional connection I can have to art. I believe that art makes people complete human beings, free to explore a full range of expression. Art makes me think and experience things I would never stumble upon on my own. I can’t imagine my life without art.”

“What do you like about working for INKspire?”

“INKspire is an important platform that gives youth an opportunity to express themselves. I thinks it’s crucial to give young people a safe space to discuss and explore social and political issues they are interested in. I feel passionate about helping youth reach their potential. It’s important for me to highlight their achievements and to give them tools to showcase their talent. It’s very socially rewarding to work for INKspire.”

“What motivates you everyday?”

“Nothing motivates me more than listening to Elvis Presley in the morning. It just sets my mood for the day.”

“What is your biggest fear? Why?”

“Hatred, bigotry, racism. It’s very scary that some people are still conditioned to hate someone else on the basis of their skin colour, sexuality, religion or culture. If we were taught to share love and kindness with each other, this world could be a beautiful place.”

“Finally, what was the biggest thing you learned in your life?”

“My quality of my life is essentially my doing. Accepting my environment and working with the right mindset is the only way for me to move forward. Positive thinking is very important.”

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