Jessica Lynn Whitbread No Pants No Problem

Jessica Whitbread works in the realm of social practice and community art, often merging art and activism to engage a diversity of audiences in critical dialogue. She prides herself in her ability to make difficult conversations seem fun and effortless. Whitbread often uses her own her own body and experience as a queer woman living with HIV, as the primary site of her work. In her head the entire world is a pantless tea party, full of awkward yet playful interactions that challenge hetero-normative and mainstream assumptions about bodies, sexuality and desire. Her ongoing projects include No Pants No Problem, Tea Time, and PosterVIRUS (AIDS ACTION NOW!).

Whitbread was the youngest and first queer woman to be elected as the Global Chair for the International Community of Women Living with HIV – ICW (2012), the founder of the first International Chapter of Young Women, Adolescents and Girls living with HIV (2010) as well as a long standing Steering Committee member for AIDS ACTION NOW!, and a Board member of the Canadian HIV Legal Network. She is currently the Community Relations & Mobilization Manager for ICW in the Global Office.

Although she might seem like she is a girl about town, she can most often be found in her house, baking food for friends and hanging out with her Pomeranian.

Curriculum Vitae



Party Out of Bounds: Nightlife as Activism Since 1980, La MaMa Gallery, New York City, curated by Emily Colucci and Osman Can Yerebakan

Queer Threads: Creating Identity and Community, MICA, Baltimore, Maryland, Curated by John Chaich


It’s Not a Secret, Installation, McColl Center for Art and Innovation, Charlotte, North Carolina (Solo Show)

Space Date, Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (Solo Show with Morgan M. Page)

Fall Winter Residence, McColl Center for Art and Innovation, Charlotte, North Carolina

Re/Presenting HIV/AIDS, William H. Van Every Gallery, Davidson, North Carolina

Queer Threads: Creating Identity and Community, Lesley Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, NY, Curated by John Chaich

Strange Bedfellows, College Art Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois, Curated by Amy Cancelmo

Tea Time: Mapping Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV, NDQ, Montreal, Quebec, Book Launch

Tea Time: Mapping Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV, , Book Launch

Tea Time: Mapping Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV, NDQ, Montreal, Quebec, Book Launch


Space Date, Rats 9 Gallery, Montreal (Solo show with Morgan M. Page)

Transgression: Breaking the norms of gender and sexuality, Caesar Chavez Student Centre Gallery, San Francisco, Curated by Carolyn HoAds for People: Selling Ethics in the Digital Age, Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Curated by Lisa Smith

Ephemera As Evidence, La Mama Gallery, New York City, curated by Joshua Lubin-Levy and Ricardo Montez

Strange Bedfellows, Root Division, San Francisco, California, Curated by Amy Cancelmo

Strange Bedfellows, Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University,  Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Curated by Amy Cancelmo

A Day Without Art: PosterVIRUS, Hen House, Toronto, Canada

Tea Time: Mapping Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV, Dynamite Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Recipe and Ambiguous Dating Station, Installation for Sweaty Bones, Hen House, Toronto, Canada


A Day With(out) Art: PosterVIRUS, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada

Radical Queer Semaine X Pose Vernissage, Radical Queer Semaine, Fresh Paint Gallery, Montreal, Canada

Foundational Sharing 2, a salon of art, conversation, and readings, New York City, Curated by Aldrin Valdez & Ted Kerr


A Day With(out) Art: PosterVIRUS, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Reflections Over Tea, Zig Zag Gallery, Toronto, Canada


Social Practice/ Performance/ Installation:

No Pants No Problem, Performance and Installation, 2004 – present

Canada: Vancouver; Montreal; Winnipeg; Toronto – International: New York; Melbourne, Australia; Bangkok, Thailand; New Orleans; Washington, DC; New Orleans; San Fransisco; Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tea Time: Mapping Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV, Performance, 2011 – present

Canada: Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Victoria, Vancouver – International: Nairobi, Kenya; Bangkok, Thailand; Amsterdam, Netherlands; New York; Kingston, Jamaica.

Intergenerational Feminist Banner Making, Social Practice, 2013 – present

Kampala, Uganda; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Nairobi; Kenya; Harare, Zimbabwe; New York

Space Date, Collaboration with Morgan M. Page, 2012, 2013

Inspirational Women’s Tea Parties, Performance, Toronto, 2010 – 2013


Professional Experience:

  • International Community of Women Living with HIV, 2014 – present, Community Relations & Mobilization Manager
  • International Community of Women Living with HIV, 2014, Interim Global Director
  • AIDS Activism History Project, Carlton University, 2013, Researcher and Community Organizer
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Toronto, 2013, Consultant
  • Plus ou Moins: Open Conference on HIV, Access and Visibility, Montreal, 2013, Project Coordinator and Visionary
  • Canadian Treatment Action Council, Toronto, 2012 – 2013, National Project Coordinator/ Capacity Building Coordinator
  • Shampoo, Toronto, November 2005 – 2013, Hairstylist/Curator
  • Positive Youth Outreach, Toronto, 2009 – 2012, Youth Support Worker
  • York University, Toronto, 2011 – 2012, Teaching Assistant
  • York University, Toronto, 2010 – 2011, Graduate Assistant
  • Global Network of People Living with HIV, Amsterdam, 2010, Consultant
  • Planned Parenthood Toronto, Toronto, 2009 – 2010, Positive Prevention Project Peer Educator

Selected Events and Conference Presentations:

  • Funders Concerned About AIDS Philanthropist Conference, Washington, DC, The Rise of Women’s HIV Advocacy, Panelist
  • ATHENA, ASAP & Global Fund, Geneva, Switzerland, Global Fund Gender Equality Training, Participant
  • US Conference on AIDS, New Orleans, US, Positive Women: Exposing Injustice, Presenter
  • Beyond Failure: Thinking Critically About HIV Prevention, Research, and Services, Montreal, Canada, Hunter or Ally? The poaching of young women living with HIV from peer led networks, Paper Presentation
  • UN Commission on the Status of Women 58, New York City, US, High Level Meeting on HIV and Gender Based Violence, Participant
  • Activate T.O., Toronto, Canada, Fuck Positive Women, Lecture
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, New York City, US, Positive Women: Exposing Injustice, film Screening and Panelist
  • Canadian Association of HIV Researchers, Montreal, Canada, Tea Time: Building Communities of Women Living with HIV, Poster Presentation
  • The Normal Heart, Toronto, Canada, Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure, Moderator
  • XIV International AIDS Conference, Washington, Canada, 30 Years of the Epidemic: A Woman’s Perspective, Panel Speaker
  • The Normal Heart, Toronto, Canada, Community-based Activism, Panelist
  • UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, New York City, US, Official Canadian Delegation
  • Sexual Health Research Symposium, Toronto, Canada, Criticisms of Community-Based Research, Panelist
  • ACT Community Health Forum, Toronto, Canada, Living Well with HIV: From Youth to Long Term Survivors, Guest Speaker
  • Y-PEER Partnership Meeting, Istanbul, Turkey, Women Living with HIV: The Empty Chair at the Table, Panelist
  • XVIII International AIDS Conference, Vienna, Austria, MTV/Paramount/Viacom Leadership in Motion, Keynote Speaker
  • Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) Youth Consultation, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Invited Participant
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Skills Building Symposium, Youth Satellite, Montreal, Canada, Facilitator and Presenter
  • University of Western Ontario, London, Canada, Guest Lecturer
  • UNICEF and Permanent Mission Canada: Consultation on Gender and AIDS, New York City, US, Gender Dimensions of Young People Living With HIV, Presenter
  • Y-PEER Annual Partnership Meeting, Tunis, Tunisia, Young Positives, Presenter
  • 411 Initiative for Change, World AIDS Day Event, Toronto, Canada, Presenter
  • University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, Guest Lecturer

Artist Talks:

  • In Conversation: Fredrick Weston and Jessica Whitbread, Bluestockings, New York, NY
  • Positive Assertions, The LGBT Center of New York, New York, NY
  • GenderFest, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MA
  • United in Anger: Arts-based Activism in Canada (PosterVirus lecture), Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
  • A Day With(out) Art: PosterVIRUS,  Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
  • Art and Activism: Community-Based Actions in the HIV Movement, XIV International AIDS Conference, Washington, DC
  • Women + Femmes +, Radical Queer Semine, Montreal, QC
  • A Day With(out) Art: PosterVIRUS, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
  • Tea Time Tragedies and How to Avoid Them, Encuentro: A Popular Education Gathering Conference, York University, Toronto, ON
  • Empower: Youth, Arts, HIV/AIDS Activism Manual Launch, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON


  • Hyperallergenic, Creating Queer Communities Through Art, written by Emily Colucci
  • Visual AIDS, So Many Ways to Love, written by Ted Kerr
  • Xtra, FUCK POSITIVE WOMEN, written by Andrea Houston
  • Toronto Life,
  • PositiveLite, LOVE POSTIVE WOMEN
  • Toronto Standard, Arts-Led Activism Wins the AIDS Day, written by Sholem Krishtalka
  • Positive Frontiers L.A., Revisitation Righs: poster/VIRUS And A New Era Of Response, written by Ted Kerr
  • Xtra, In Your Face: AIDS ACTION NOW! commemorates 24 years with new poster campaign, written by Jonathan Valley
  • PositiveLite, PosterVirus 2012, written by John McCullagh
  • The Gaily, But Things Are Changing: AIDS ACTIONNOW! Launches Second Poster/Virus Campaign, Ian Salt Bradley-Perrin
  • No More Potlucks, The Positive Side, CBC Radio,
  • Xtra, No pants, no problem ON THE TOWN / Relive your teen years at playful underwear fundraiser, written by Serafin LaRiviere
  • Xtra, In Your Face: Dare you to look deeper: Art campaign challenges HIV/AIDS sterotypes and taboos, written by Jonathan Valley
  • No More Potlucks, AIDS ACTION NOW! Fuck Positive Women
  • Community Feministing, No Pants? No Problem, written by Tracy
  • 2B Mag, No Pants No Problem: After Montreal, Washington, DC, written by Jordan Arseneault
  • I Like You Podcast, #57 Positive, by Elah and J.P


Whitbread, J. (2014). Tea Time: Mapping Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV. Toronto, Jessica Whitbread Press.

Whitbread, J. (2013). Hunter or Ally? The Poaching of Young Women Living with HIV from Peer led Networks. Montreal: Beyond Failure.

Whitbread, J. and G. Mallias (2013). Facilitator’s Training Manual and Workbook. Toronto: CTAC publication.

Whitbread, J (2012). Tea Time as Participatory Research: Mapping Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV. (MES final paper). , Toronto: York University

Whitbread, J (2012). Tea Time: An Overview of an Emerging Method. (MES final paper). Toronto: York University.

Whitbread, J and K. Ngui (2012). Reflections Over Tea: Making Friends the Old Fashion Way. (MES final paper).Toronto: York University.

Governance & Committee Experience:

  • The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, 2014 – preset, Board Member
  • The International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW), 2012 – 2014, Global Chair
  • AIDS ACTION NOW!, 2010 to present, Steering Committee Member
  • Positive Youth Outreach, 2008 to 2012, Advisory Committee Member
  • The International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW), 2009- 2014, North American Representative for the International Steering Committee
  • HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario, 2009 to 2010, Board of Directors, Vice Chair

Research Experience:

  • Tea Time: Mapping the Informal Networks of Women Living with HIV, York University, September 2011 to 2012, Principle Investigator
  • Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS), Young Women and HIV Sub-Committee, November 2011 to 2012
  • Research with Purpose, AIDS Committee of Toronto, 2010 to 2012, Co-Investigator
  • Ontario Women’s Study, Young Women Affected by HIV Sub-Committee, 2011, Advisor and Focus Group Facilitator
  • Young People Living with HIV in Networks of People Living with HIV and Youth Led Organizations, The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), September 2010 to 2011, Regional Research Assistant


  • Master’s of Environmental Studies, Building Communities to Ignite Social Change, York University, Toronto
  • Graduate Diploma in Environmental and Sustainability Education, York University, Toronto
  • Community Worker (graduated with honors), George Brown College, Toronto
  • Sociology/Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality, Concordia University, Montreal


  • McColl Center for Art and Social Innovation, Wesley Mancini LGBTQ Artist in Residence, 2014
  • CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention: Student/Trainee Awards Program, 2013/2014
  • CIHR HIV Community-Based Research Program Master’s Award, 2011/2012
  • University Without Walls Fellowship, 2011/2012
  • UNESCO Chair International Regional Training Program, Kigali, Rwanda, January 2010
  • UNESCO Chair International Leadership Training Program, University of Connecticut, Hartford, CT, August 2009


  • Ontario Colleges Premiere’s Award, 2014
  • Leading Women, Building Communities Recognition Award, 2011
  • The Phyliss Eileen Edwards Memorial Award, 2009
  • The Pinball Clemons Scholarship, 2009
  • Outstanding Community Worker, 2009
  • Citation for the City of Toronto, 2008


  1. Image Journal #30 | Maria Shell
    September 15, 2014

    […] I made a new friend. Her name is Jessica Whitbread. She is my neighbor at the condos and at the studio space. Jessica’s art merges art and activism, and you can read more about it here. […]

  2. Image Journal #31 | Maria Shell
    September 29, 2014

    […] Jessica Whitbread and myself at the beginning of the evening. She did my hair which I […]

  3. This Week – Nov. 17 – 23 | HappeningsCLT
    November 17, 2014

    […] you have had the opportunity to meet Jessica Whitbread, chances are you have been captivated by her intense energy. Whitbread recently exhibited work in […]