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Christine Karcza

The Christine Karcza Disability Leadership Award (Karcza Award) is a bi-annual award administered by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and is presented to an individual who identifies as d/Deaf, Mad or d/Disabled. The award recipient will receive a cash prize of $5,000.

The recipient will demonstrate leadership within the performing arts in one or more of the following areas:

  • advancement of accessibility for d/Deaf or d/Disabled audiences
  • advancement of opportunities for d/Deaf and d/Disabled artists or arts workers
  • development of skills or mentorship of d/Deaf or d/Disabled artists or arts workers
  • leadership of commitment and excellence of practice as a d/Deaf or d/Disabled artist

The Christine Karcza Disability Leadership laureate will select a leader of their choice who is an emerging d/Disabled or non-d/Disabled leader (in the areas listed above) to receive a cash prize of $2,500.

A disability activist and rigorous advocate of access in the arts, Christine Karcza worked tirelessly and passionately with leading cultural organizations, including the National Arts Centre, the Stratford Festival, the National Ballet, the Toronto Fringe Festival, the Royal Ontario Museum, Creative Users Projects and Mirvish Productions, building awareness of the many barriers that exclude disabled people everywhere.

The vision for her consulting company, I Can Do This, was for people with disabilities to be given the opportunity to be active cultural participants and leaders. As a mentor she inspired many to advocate for the same vision. Christine’s sudden death left ambitious and collaborative projects unfinished and many grappling with the loss of a leader and mentor.

Thank you for the generous support from the following individuals and organizations who have demonstrated their leadership and support of the Christine Karcza Disability Leadership Award: Irving & Rosalie Abella, Peggy Baker, Sophie Borwein, Lisa Henderson, Richard Hillyer, Linda Hutcheon, Maruja Jackman, Patricia Jackson, Alexander Karcza, Peter Lewis, Elizabeth MacCallum, David Mirvish, Louise A Paul, Katherine Spence, Mavis Staines, Ian Wallace, Richard Wernham, Joan York, Anonymous (x3), Jackman Foundation, Luminato, PK Fashion Inc, Stratford Festival of Canada.

Recipients - Click for Info

Emily Maxwell

2023 Christine Karcza Award Recipient

Eligibility Criteria

Deadline for nominations: Please note that the Karcza Award in biannual and will next be presented in 2025.

Individuals eligible for the Karcza Award must identify as a person who is d/Disabled, a person with a disability, or a d/Deaf person. Applicants do not need to earn a living income. Applicants must be a resident of Ontario.

  • A person with a d/Disability/disabled person is defined as a person who experiences barriers to participation due to inaccessible or exclusionary designs, systems, attitudes, physical environments, and identifies as blind, neurodivergent, Mad, chronically ill, or with a physical disability.
  • A d/Deaf person is defined as a person who is d/Deaf or hard of hearing.
  • The deceased are not eligible.

In order to nominate an individual for the Karcza Award, please supply the following information:

  • Nominator’s Name, Title, Company (if applicable), Phone and Email Address (*can self-nominate*)
  • Nominee’s Name, Phone/Email
  • Nominee’s Bio
  • Headshot or Photograph of the Nominee (if possible)
  • Cover Letter (Why you feel that the nominee should be awarded the Karcza Award, up to 2 pages)
  • Letters of support and/or testimonials for the nominee (up to 5 pages)
  • All applications must be submitted in English or ASL
  • Accessibility accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. (ie. video/audio submissions) Contact Dora Awards Manager Scott Dermody at or 416.536.6468 x 2.
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