October 2015


The Code Mobile: teaching girls across Canada to be computer wizards

Technology is the future—and women should be a part of it.

That was the message driven into my brain by Melissa Sariffodeen, 27, the co-executive director of Ladies Learning Code, when we spoke on the phone one Wednesday morning. She had just returned from a 20-hour road trip with the soon-to-be-famous code mobile, a truck whose purpose will eventually be to travel across Canada teaching young kids how to use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and much more.

Ladies Learning Code is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide women and youth with the resources they need to learn programming and technological skills. Their ultimate goal is to teach 200,000 Canadian women and youth to code by 2020. They do this through a series of workshops tailored to women, young girls, and kids between the ages of eight and 13. The organization itself was founded by in 2011 by four women who wanted to teach themselves to code. Sariffodeen was one of these four women.

“The organization was started largely in self-interest in this problem that we had and this idea that we wanted to learn to code,” she said. “I never thought it would catch on so much, but I think that’s so telling of the need. When we started out, we wanted to do it. We just didn’t realize there were thousands of other people who wanted to as well.”

Now, four years later, the organization operates in 23 cities across Canada. Their latest campaign includes a truck, or a mobile computer lab, that will be driven across the country. We asked Sariffodeen about this newest initiative and why it’s so important to teach young kids, in particular young girls, how to code.


Q: Why a truck?

I went on a road trip a couple of years ago and I drove to Montana from Toronto and back. I thought ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be so cool if ladies learning code did this?’ I think I tweeted about that idea and started speaking with partners and sponsors and spent two years trying to make this happen. Finally, the stars aligned.

One of the big barriers to a lot of the things we do for youth is that not everyone has access to technology, there aren’t readily available computer labs or a laptop that’s easy to access. So, how can we make it easier for them? By having a truck—it’s a travelling computer lab. It would be easy for us to bring our technology and our program to communities across the country.

The Code Mobile. Photo provided by Ladies Learning Code.
The Code Mobile. Photo provided by Ladies Learning Code.

How would it work?

We are running this crowd-funding campaign right now and as part of that you can make donations to guarantee that we come visit you, and then the trip will be planned in a couple ways. So, one of them will just be the surrounding areas of the community we are in. We will go to Montreal and we will visit communities within a 200 km radius. We will pick the major cities we are in as base camps and then visit the surrounding areas. Then, we will combine that with requests for visits. So people have been requesting visits already, whether its through our Indiegogo campaign, or if its just through the form in general, we will bring that information together and that’s how we will plan our route.

Have you gotten many requests?

I would say we have 40 to 50 requests so far. It’s going to be challenging to pick where we can do, because we can only do so many stops during the summer. But, that’s the idea. Request the truck to come to your community, and maybe we won’t come specifically to your summer camp but maybe we will pop up in your local parking lot and you can come and visit us that way.

What’s inside the truck?

The idea is that inside the truck there may be room for a couple of people to learn to code, but it will mostly be storage of our pop-up lab. We want to make sure we can teach a lot of kids, or at least a reasonable amount of kids, at a time. The truck actually pops out with a massive tent with tables, chairs, and laptops. We have the capacity to teach about 40 kids at a time out of the truck.

You have 12 days left in the campaign at the time of this interview. Do you think you will reach your funding goal?

I hope so! I think we have a few big pushes left, and I think as we start to get closer the community will rally to support us. They have been so generous so far, and I think we can pick up some momentum even in the last couple of days. Fingers crossed.

Why is it important to get out there and teach young people—young girls in particular—to do stuff like code and use HTML?

Technology isn’t going anywhere, and we think it’s really important that we equip kids with the skills they need to thrive in the future. It’s the same way we teach math or social sciences. It’s not so we have a bunch of mathematicians or social scientists. It’s because we want kids to have a basic understanding of how the world works. And since technology is such a critical part of the world, it just makes sense that they know a little bit about how this stuff works.

And the reason why we want more girls specifically, is that right now the technology we use is largely built by men. If we can start to have more women create it, the idea is that you have this more diverse perspective in technology. A lot of problems that are more unique to women could be solved by women. Technology could speak more to the population using it if it’s built by a population that is representative.

What has been the response from the young girls you have taught so far?

We have lots of stories about people who have gone on to take computer science in high school. We had one girl specifically who scored the highest score in her advanced placement on her computer science exam and is now going to university. We have another story about a young girl who started a company at 11 after being inspired at one of our programs. The response so far has been very positive in the demographic we are teaching—8-13 year old girls—but they are still young and they are just starting to enter high school or graduate high school so, that’s an exciting thing. We will start to see over the next couple of years the impact that our programming is having and that shift that will hopefully happen—I’m optimistic—in technology.

Photo provided by Ladies Learning Code.

What are some of the things you are teaching these young girls?

We teach so much stuff, from basic HTML and CSS, web languages which are our most popular languages because, I think, they are the most accessible. They are written in pretty standard English. But for youth and adults we also teach other languages like Ruby and Python and Javascript. We have app creating programs for youth coming up. And then we also do technical skills. So, how do you edit photos? How do you create digital art? (The basics of) 3d printing and robotics.

Once the crowd-funding campaign is done, what’s next for Ladies Learning Code?

Figuring out this trip I guess! The code mobile was a really big initiative for next year, but we also want to layer in a set of resources we can leave in these communities. So, taking the programs we’ve run over the last few years and packaging them in a nice and compelling way. That way, when we go to this nice rural community in BC, we can make sure we leave them with enough that they can keep learning this stuff on their own, at their schools, or in their community centres.

To request a visit by the code mobile, click here.

To contribute to their campaign, visit their Indiegogo site.

*This interview has been condensed for publication.

4 Steps To A Respectful Halloween

Some may call it the most wonderful time of year. Who wouldn’t? Dressing up in costumes so theatrical that no one recognizes you seems like an excellent excuse to eat your child’s Trick-or-Treat candy. That too, without judgment – or being caught.

However, it seems that in the midst of attempting to win the prize for best costume,   enthusiasts are oftentimes seen as unintentionally – we hope – engaging in cultural appropriation. What you may see as an accurate portrayal of a Native American or Aboriginal attire is seen as racist and insensitive to someone else.

Well fear not gremlins*, we are here to help!  Before picking out your costume, take these steps to ensure you have a blast without offending anyone. Already have your costume picked out? Make sure you take a peek anyways! It’s better to go as a sexy cat than “Mizz Ghetto Fabulous,” amirite?

Good luck!

Step 1: Do your research. 

You may think that Geisha costume looks hot on you, but do you even know what a Geisha is? The cultural significance behind every country’s attire is not something that can be picked up and replicated over night. Whether it’s as simple as a dreadlocks wig or as grand as a Bollywood dream costume, knowing what is cultural appropriation and what is not can help you make the right decision when choosing an outfit for the night. Afterall, buying a $50 costume that inaccurately appropriates a culture is just a waste of money. Take off the ‘sari’ and put a cape on. Superwoman is so much more empowering. And can’t be worn wrong.

Step 2: Question what is sexy 

As body positive as we’d like you all to be, there are certain boundaries on what can be considered sexy. If you want to channel your inner Britney and be a sexy school girl, you be it! Just make sure it makes sense.  Therefore, suddenly deciding to don a niquab on Halloween after thousands of women are scrutinized for it on a daily basis  may seem a little insensitive. Remember, it’s not a costume, it’s a religious practice. And let’s face it, you can’t wear a little black dress and call it a burqa. Now you’re just wearing a LBD with a veil. The same concept can be applied to other costumes; Sexy Native Girl, Scottie Hottie, or anything that deals with cultural practices in a promiscuous matter. By choosing a Halloween costume that promotes diversity and tolerance (think: pumpkin), you can make a difference in the cultural awareness movement!


Step 3: Look beyond culture 

Now that you have educated yourself on cultural appropriation and the importance of avoiding cultural costumes, let’s look at another big issue; race. Unfortunately, the most popular costume this year has been Kanye West – shutter glasses… and blackface. Although wearing foundation 10 shades darker than your natural skin tone was probably done with the intention to be an accurate version of Kanye West; if you’re not black, you shouldn’t pretend to be black. It’s offensive. And those Caitlyn Jenner costumes? Sorry, but no. The LGBT community and visible minorities have continued to fight in an ongoing battle for freedom from all types of stereotypes and prejudices. Therefore, the best thing to do is avoid representing them in the scariest night of the year. Because the only thing scary about you donning a black face is your lack of education. Ouch.

Step 4:  Educate others 

Congratulations for taking the time in seeking knowledge on how to have a respectful Halloween. However, the last step can prove to be the toughest. It is now time to embark on your journey through the night and educate others on a culturally aware and socially inclusive holiday. Teach others the meaning of cultural appropriation and discuss why their costume should be considered offensive. Change can only come through educating others.  Remember the true meaning of Halloween: candy.

Don’t forget to have fun! Happy Halloween! 🙂



20 creepy Halloween costumes from the past that will freak you out

Halloween costumes aren’t as scary now as they were before. Our costumes are made of plastic, are colourful and vibrant, and even the “frightening” witches or zombies look like cartoons. But, back in the day, people took Halloween seriously. The goal was to make yourself—and your children—look like the walking dead, or if anything, something straight out of a horror film. Most kids wore paper bags or impressive masks, while others chose a more traditional clown getup. Either way, they were absolutely terrifying.

Here are 20 of the most skin-crawling, creepy, and seriously disturbing pictures on the Internet. You can thank Google for this wondrous collection.


1.I think it also has to do with the farmland behind them…

2. Apparently, using paper bags as masks is the most cost-efficient way to freak out your neighbours. via buzzfeed via buzzfeed

3. Remember that cute bumblebee costume you put on your child. Instead, why not try a pig mask.

4. Current day masks are made of thin plastic—these giant full-head masks are incredibly creepy (and probably heavy).

5. At least the outfits aren’t creepy. It’s Mickey Mouse!! Just don’t look at the heads.

6. Nothing is sacred.

7. When in doubt, put a skull on your child’s head. The perfect outfit.

via pinterest
via pinterest

8. Note: Clowns are still creepy today, and this is why.

via pinterest
via pinterest

9. I don’t even know how to caption this one. Who knew sloths could be scary?

10. And we wonder why some children are so violent?

11. No one would dare mess with these ladies.


12. This looks like something straight from a horror movie.

13. How to traumatize your 2-year-old infant 101. Dress like this on Halloween.

14.You do have to admire the workmanship on those heads.


15. What’s scarier than a clown…a child clown.


16. The old church really sells this picture.

17. This is both creepy AND brilliant! I kind of want to try it next Halloween.

18. These are some seriously decked out ghosts.

19. These kids know how to make truly frightening masks. Now, imagine its dark out.

20. Ready for the apocalypse.

Halloween recipes for the adults: Graveyard Taco Dip

Just because I’m not going trick-or-treating, doesn’t mean I don’t like to celebrate the great Hallows Eve. My favourite thing to do is to invite some friends over, eat, drink, and listen to the Monster Mash. But, all of the Halloween recipes out there include a ton of sugar and, let’s face it, candy.

So Saturday night, when the kids have gone into sugar commas, invite a few of your friends over for a more sophisticated evening of Halloween delight. This recipe is deliciously easy and extremely festive. It is sure to impress!

Graveyard Taco Dip

First layer:
1 can refried beans or refried black beans

Second layer:
2 cups sour cream
1 pkg taco seasoning

Third layer:
2 avocados, mashed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp mayonnaise

Fourth layer:
1 cup salsa

Fifth layer:
1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and taco seasoning. In another small bowl, mix the mashed avocados, minced garlic, and mayonnaise.

In a small Pyrex dish or pie plate, layer the beans, sour cream mixture, avocado mixture, and salsa. Sprinkle the scallions on top.

Chill at least an hour, or until ready to serve. (The dip can be made a day ahead and kept, covered, in the refrigerator.)

To make the tombstones and tree, cut the shapes you want out of 2 large tortillas. Place the cut-out shapes on a parchment paper lined cookie tray and bake at 350 degrees until the tortillas are nice and brown. You can add text to the tombstones with a black food safe marker. Put the tombstones and tree in the dip just before serving.

Repost from:

It’s not all about the wages for Ontario teachers

Let us tell you about a friend of ours named Matt.

Matt is a local teacher who, before and after school, voluntarily coaches volleyball, soccer, and football. He doesn’t mind. In fact, he loves it!

Unfortunately for Matt, as of today, Ontario elementary teachers won’t be supervising any extra-curricular activities at schools. This means that school programs like musical activities, student council, and sports teams will be put on hold until further notice. This decision was made by Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) as an escalation to their negotiations with the province. The job action also means that teachers won’t be able to produce report cards for kids in Kindergarten to Grade 8.

“The Liberal government and OPSBA have ignored all attempts by ETFO to get them to return to the central bargaining table, including an offer to refer one issue to binding arbitration. If OPSBA and the government want a deal, why are they not responding to our efforts to resume bargaining? Why are they not back at the bargaining table with us?” said ETFO President Sam Hammond in a statement.

“Our members do not undertake this escalation of strike action lightly, but they understand that reaching a fair and reasonable agreement will not happen unless OPSBA and the government are present at the bargaining table.”

So, why are these teachers still on work-to-rule after roughly 14 months of negotiations?

For a lot of teachers, including Matt, the issues isn’t about wages. It’s about class sizes and control of their own programming. Under the current negotiations, the school board has the final say on classroom size and how schools deal with special-needs students. With budget cuts, special-needs students aren’t receiving the resources and the help they require, which makes it even more difficult for teachers to aide them in their studies. Classrooms right now consist of about 30 kids. To supervise and teach this many children at a time is challenging, and it makes it difficult for teachers to give students individual attention.

Meanwhile, Premier Kathleen Wynne has said she may order the school board to dock teacher’s pay starting in November in light of the job action escalation—which doesn’t make sense considering extracurricular supervision is voluntary. The message the Premier is sending teachers is that they should be paid less for not doing something they actually aren’t paid to do in the first place. I doubt this will go over well with the ETFO.

After saying this, it is a shame that children won’t be receiving report cards in November. They deserve to see their academic progress. But, the Ontario government needs to take teachers’ claims seriously and bring the ETFO back to the negotiations table. And they have to realize it isn’t all about the money, despite the fact it’s a message that the media and the government seems to be pushing. People like Matt just wants to be able to do his job to the fullest of his ability, and that includes smaller class sizes and more resources for his students.

So Ontario, think about this: If “Phase 3” of the job action is to cut extra-curricular activities, what’s next? Probably another strike. Let’s try to avoid that if possible.


GlobeTrotter Woman: Luggage and handbags for the professional woman

The 21st century businesswoman is a traveller. Deals are now brokered on trains, planes and automobiles, and important meetings can happen at a moments notice. It’s important to have the necessary equipment to deal with these types of business scenarios, and GlobeTrotter Woman has you covered.

GlobeTrotter Woman offers sleek and elegant luggage equipment and accessories that will meet the needs of the professional women on-the-go. The items they sell are unique and stylish—each has been hand-selected to ensure the highest quality. The products are presented in a beautifully clean website that is easy to navigate, so you can shop from the comfort of your home.

The company’s goal is the following: “We want to bring you a touch of elegance and practicality as you conquer the world.” And their products really do meet that criteria.

Their Ultra-Light Luxurious Luggage Set is made of jute tweed and consists of five elements. It has two wheeled Pullmans, one duffel bag, one carry-on and one garment bag. The entire set is priced at a reasonable $239.99. Other products of note include a security-friendly laptop bag (which is TSA compliant) and a genuine leather carry-on rolling laptop briefcase. Both are professional looking and practical—two aspects that are common in all of GlobeTrotter’s products.

Travel accessories include high resolution binoculars, phone charging wallets, and suitcase GPS trackers. The company also offers sport gear and electronics. All of these items are great to have in your bag in case of emergency meetings or trips.

The company also launched their G Lux Line this week, which includes a number of elegant and classy high-end leather bags. These gorgeous bags are made to order, by hand, in Italy.

GlobeTrotter is a startup that understands the international aspect of business and knows that professional women deserve to use the best tools out there .



Tips for travelling alone as a woman

I spent the month of September travelling across Europe. I ate snails in Paris, rode a gondola in Venice, visited flower markets in Amsterdam, and walked through the colleges in Oxford. This was my first time travelling internationally, and I did so on my own.

There are a million articles out there about why travelling alone is something every woman should do. They cite the newfound confidence a woman can achieve and how much she’ll learn about herself.

At the same time, every article cites safety concerns—be careful when getting in a cab; don’t dress like a tourist (whatever that means); be aware of your handbag. Sometimes, its enough to frighten you. I know that before I left for my trip, my mother’s friends helpfully told us about all the times their daughters were pick-pocketed or attacked while abroad.

The Government of Canada even writes about how to safely travel as a woman. The page is called “Her Own Way” and begins by stating in a matter-of-fact manner that “Women travel for countless reasons, whether to discover new frontiers, pursue business opportunities, or simply to rest and relax – not unlike men.” Thanks for the clarification Ottawa.

While I may mock some of the information presented on this website, they do make a few valid points. For example, always do research before you travel to ensure there are no cultural differences you should be aware of, especially when it comes to gender. Accept the cultural practices of the country you are visiting—if women dress more conservatively in that country, it is polite to do so as well. Be safe when travelling in dark and lowly-populated areas. Only use legal forms of transportation.

Actually, a lot of those tips apply regardless of gender.

Some of the information, however, is a bit over the top. The Overseas Romance section explains that “while abroad, a foreign affair with a fairytale ending may be more than a flight of the imagination, but it may also be fraught with danger and disappointment.” I wonder if this would ever appear in a travel tips page for men. By the way, there is no “His Own Way” page posted by the Canadian Government.

I agree that women can be more vulnerable when they travel. I noticed that many of the pedlars and vendors at the tourist destinations I visited flocked towards women—single women in particular. They would yell “Hey, Lady Gaga!” as I walked by and would follow me or grab at my hands. Usually people back off if you make your intentions clear. Essentially, as long as you were cautious and aware of your surroundings, you were fine. Be smart and your travel experience will be amazing.

Here are some of my travelling tips:

1. Pack light: Pack only what you need, which I know is easier said than done. It’s better to have the freedom to bring items back home with you. I packed two dresses and that was enough to keep me comfortable on my evenings out. It also allowed me to buy a few items without going over my weight limit.

2. Do what you want to do: The best part of travelling on your own, regardless of your gender, is that you get the opportunity to do what you want, without having to compromise with your friends or colleagues. Take advantage of that and do as much as possible!

3. Take chances: Always try something that you’ve never done before. I like to think I developed a “never say no” mantra. Sadly, this mantra cost me a pretty penny, but it was worth it!

4. At the same time, make sure you are safe: It’s great to take risks and try things you’ve never done before. In fact, I encourage it. However, if that risk puts you in harms way or makes you uncomfortable, feel free to say no.

5. My final tip is to save up enough money to travel comfortably—because staying in hostels and participating in the “backpacking experience” is only exciting for the first week. After that, you’ll dream of a clean bathtub and room service. If you are going to travel—go big or stay home.

And, in case you were wondering: My two favourite destinations were the French Riviera and Oxford. Stay tuned for a post about those fantastic experiences.

#MoreWomen: Elle UK’s new feminism campaign

There has been a lot of discussion about the number of women elected into the House of Commons on Monday night. It was all over the news—Canadians were excited that the number of women elected was so high, while others were astonished that 26 per cent of elected seats was being considered “high.”

It all reminded me of a video I saw on my Twitter feed last week. The video was posted on Youtube by Elle UK as part of their November feminism issue.

This editorial film—which was created by Alex Holder and Alyssa Boni in partnership with RSA, Electric Theatre Collective/The Line and Wave—takes photographs of powers of authority such as the British Parliament and uses photoshop to remove all the men. What’s left is a powerful image of how few women are really in positions of power within these international governing bodies.

The campaign is incredibly powerful in its simplicity, which is why its astounding that its viewership is under 850,000 (or at least at the time of this post). You can see the video below:

The goal of this campaign is to create positive dialogue about gender equality.

“Our new initiative #morewomen, will celebrate the global power of women’s collectives in a playful, engaging way. Smart, successful women are too often portrayed as one-offs: fierce individualists concerned with their own success,” Elle UK wrote about their campaign. “There are too many instances in business, music, art and media, where women are represented by a single female.”

I hope everyone takes a look at the video above and continues to share it on social media, even when the campaign comes to an end. It’s important to remember that even though more women are being hired in positions of authority, it is still not representative of the billions of women living on this planet.

We really do need #MoreWomen. What do you think?

The Women of the House

The bar was crowded last night—and it wasn’t because the Jays were playing. Instead, everyone was watching Peter Mansbridge count down the moments until the polls officially closed. The question on everyone’s mind: who would be the next Prime Minister of Canada?

The event I attended was hosted by Women in Toronto Politics, a non-partisan group that promotes inclusive political discourse. It was held at the Handlebar, a woman-owned bar near the Kensington Market in downtown Toronto. Over 100 women—and some men—spent their evening drinking party-designated beverages and discussing Canada’s political future. Was it a bright one? Should we be concerned?

By 9:45 p.m. the CBC had called a majority government for the Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau. There were a few cheers from the crowd, but mostly everyone was mesmerized by the local riding results skimming across the screen.

One thing was blatant by the end of the night: there were a fair number of women elected Monday night, but not quite enough.

Of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, 88 women will be representing the people of Canada.

Most consider this progress. Fourteen more women were elected this year compared to the previous federal election. At the same time, it only equates to about 26 per cent of the seats available. See the party breakdown below:

The event at Handlebar was called “Women are Watching” and was meant to act as a safe space for women and allies to discuss politics without fear of persecution. A lot of the women present had worked for their local MP, but wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people on election night. As the results rolled in, I could hear conversations bubbling about what this new government would mean for health care, child care, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Islamophobia. Many were disappointed that women’s issues such as pay equity and employment were hardly discussed during the extraordinarily long campaign.

I spoke with Abby Plener, Communications Co-Lead for Women in Toronto Politics, who explained the importance of diversity when it comes to Canada’s elected representatives.

“It’s important our diverse population feel represented by politics and its leadership – this applies not just to women, but LGBTQ folks, people of colour, and people of diverse faiths and cultural backgrounds. However, when we talk about diversity in politics, its important to discuss not only how diverse our representatives are, but also whether the policies our representatives put forth are serving diverse groups.”

Spirits were high at the end of the night as the Conservative Party was pushed out of office after nine years of power. But, no one was under the illusion that this new government would be a miracle worker. As one of the attendees said as she watched the Liberal seats pile up: “it could be worse.”

Gingger Shankar’s Nari premiers at TIFF

Gingger Shankar is a singer, violist, and composer. She comes from a musical family and has toured the globe for a long time. With a couple of film scores already under her belt, fans can now look forward to Shankar’s own project, Nari, which celebrated its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film captures the story about the singer’s mom and grandma and their involvement with the huge Indian music explosion into the West in the 1960’s and 1970’s with George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.

When and why did you decide to be a singer?

I grew up with music my whole life. I can’t even tell you when it started. I just remember being around a lot of concerts, being around musicians and rehearsals. I think it was sort of natural that I became a musician. I don’t think I could’ve been anything else.

You’re the only woman in the world that plays double violin! What sparked your interest in learning how to play it?

The double violin is an instrument that covers the whole orchestra range. It covers the piano, viola, bass, and cello. The reason I wanted to play it was because I travel to a lot of music festivals travelling and with a violin, viola, and trying to take everything was really difficult. I wanted one instrument that covered the whole range. The double violin did this and it’s amazing because it has a very unique sound to it and it covers the whole orchestra range. I’ve been playing it for over 10 years. It’s a great instrument to sort of use for live performances and my film scores.

Tell me about Nari.

It’s a short film documentary and performance piece. So altogether, it’s a multimedia piece. My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. And she gave me these scrapbooks. I knew [my mom and grandma] were part of the music scene at that time but I didn’t know how much. Once I knew they were on every record cover, and they recorded music, conducted orchestras, sang, and travelled, I knew there was a story to be told, especially as women. I think sometimes women get overshadowed by the men so it was important for me to tell their story.

Shankar’s grandmother and mother; Lakshmi and Viji Shankar.

What was your thought process during the making of this project?

I was talking to my partner during this project, Dave Liang. He’s from the Shanghai Restoration Project. We had worked on another project before. I was telling him about these scrapbooks and he immediately looked at me and said “You have to do something with them!” We started on this journey together and then we brought on our artistic director, Yunfan Sun, who took these beautiful photographs and started animating them. It really started from the music, though. We had these recordings of my mother which had never been released and they were so beautiful. We started remixing them and building a whole new record out of them. It was from this that the whole project sort of came about.

How was the experience of bringing Indian influences into Western culture?

It’s basically North and South Indian culture. We were really lucky because we had talked to Cameron Bailey about this project, as well as Nobu Adilman. He completely got the music and knew what it was about. There’s also a very large population of South Indians in Toronto so we were welcome with open arms. It was very exciting.

Who are your musical inspirations?

My mother is probably my biggest musical inspiration. I also listen to a lot of Indian and Western music. I love Madonna as much as I love a classical Indian artist.

Any upcoming projects for your fans to look forward to?

Yeah! I’m currently working on my own eclectic pop record called Beautiful Imperfections. We’re starting to do a lot of shows on that and it will be released early next year.

Follow her on Twitter @GinggerShankar!