CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: interConnect co-learning groups
Are you a media/visual artist, arts educator or a cultural worker? Have you been working on or are you now ready to start a digital initiative in the arts? Join a co-learning group for community and professional development; contribute to a snapshot of where digital transformation is heading in the arts!
Over the course of five meetings in the summer/fall of 2023, participants will share their experiences with digital projects, their success stories (and failures!), and learn from others working on digital initiatives in the sector. The groups will document their learning in an open knowledge base accessible to the wider arts community.
Co-learning encourages a peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge. All participants will learn from others in the group and have the opportunity to contribute to the discussions based on their own context and experience. With support from facilitators, the groups will self-direct to determine what they want to share back to the knowledge base, and how they want to engage in co-learning. This process will be supported by a knowledge connector.
What will the co-learning groups explore?
Building on previous research, we launched a survey in February 2023 to ask the arts community to rank topics related to digital technology and transformation in the sector. Based on our analysis of the survey responses we came up with three discussion areas (see below). We would like to thank everyone who participated and generously shared feedback!
The discussion areas are meant to be open to multiple interpretations. Participants will guide the discussions and decide collectively what directions to explore and outcomes to produce.
Discussion Area 1: All about Access to Culture
If we conceive of culture as art making and collaborating creatively across distances, disciplines, and lived experience, how is culture made? For whom is it created? How do connectivity, discoverability and other technological developments shape our cultural worlds?
This discussion area will put the human phenomenon of arts and culture in dialogue with the roles that technical infrastructures play in shaping it.
Two co-learning groups will be formed based on the interests expressed by applicants. Special focus could address the specific implications of this topic for Indigenous communities or for under-represented/equity-seeking communities.
Keywords: Art Presentation, Audience Engagement, Social Media, Critical Access, Media-Related Governmental Policies, Public Education, Discoverability.
Possible outcomes may include:
• Summary of how the initial questions changed after dialogue
• Case studies for understanding and implementing access
• Stories illustrating the real-world impact of government policies
• Indigenous-focused considerations of challenges and opportunities
• Ideas and reference resources to support improved practices
• Accessibility recommendations for media and visual arts archives
Discussion Area 2: A Digital Future For Us, By Us
How is the arts sector taking agency over its own digital future, and what opportunities are there for a more fair, diversified, and representative sector? How can we operate differently in terms of governance, sustainability, and public engagement? What initiatives currently exist?
This discussion area will put arts-led digital initiatives designed to improve the arts sector in dialogue with organizations who seek to better understand, support and utilize such efforts.
Two co-learning groups will be formed based on the interests expressed by applicants. Special focus could address accessibility considerations.
• A manifesto for a 10-20 year timeline for digital transitions in the arts sector
• A new curriculum to train the next generation of artists and arts leaders
• Alternate business models to support increasingly complex technical work (administrative and/or artistic)
• Case studies, successes, and failures of relevant initiatives and efforts
• Questionnaire to increase visibility of previous digital initiatives
• Models for archiving projects and ensuring sustainability of efforts
Discussion Area 3: Navigating Uncertain Times
How do you plan strategically in times of uncertainty or rapid change? Does technology help or hinder us? How do we account for equity, diversity and inclusion? What have we learned that can help us chart a course for the future?
This discussion area will bring together individuals who embarked on strategic digital initiatives before and during the COVID-19 pandemic with those who have plans to pursue similar efforts in different regions across Canada.
Two co-learning groups will be formed based on the interests expressed by applicants. Special focus could address complex multi-phased digital initiatives.
Keywords: Meaningful Co-Creation, Digital Strategy, Digital Housekeeping, Understanding Emergent Tech.
Possible outcomes may include:
• Identifying common mistakes or myths around strategic planning
• Advice and insights for those embarking on digital initiatives
• Project planning templates with annotations based on discussions
• Recommendations for the nitty-gritty realization of projects
• Assessment of the benefits and limits of select digital tools
What does participation involve?
Participants will be expected to take part in the project with a spirit of openness, willingness to try new things, generosity, engagement, and respect for differences. Participants will attend five virtual meetings with the same group of people over the course of five months (May to October 2023).
• Each co-learning group will have a facilitator to prompt questions and ensure all participants can contribute to the process of collaborative learning and documentation.
• A note-taker will also record insights, questions for follow-up, and examples of projects and success stories.
• Some reading and preparation may be required in order to fully participate and share at each meeting.
• During later meetings, participants will be invited to contribute to the knowledge base to document their insights.
We recognize the value of asking interesting questions and attempting to see a problem differently.
Are participants paid?
Yes! Participants will be paid 1200$CAD+taxes for their engagement, which includes preparation time, five meetings, and contribution to the knowledge base.
What do we mean by “contribution to a knowledge base”?
This initiative is engaged in generating and documenting practical knowledge to be shared with the wider arts community. The shape these contributions take may be different for each discussion area, and there will be space for each co-learning group to collectively determine their own outcomes.
Contributions to the knowledge base are not expected to be finished products, but living documents. Participants will be invited to share notes, comments and suggestions as well as take part in documentation activities during their meetings. The interConnect team will be able to provide some services such as editing and translation.
Concretely, the knowledge base is a website where participants can create their own entries, a bit like Wikipedia. Participants will be encouraged to learn to use this tool, but other forms of participation can be made available.
Why should you join this initiative?
First, we hope it will be fun! But there are also many other reasons why someone would want to join us:
• Be paid to network with peers in a community of practice.
• Connect with other artists and arts workers on shared topics of interest.
• Contribute to the sharing of knowledge about digital projects.
• Participate in the creation of outcomes by and for the arts sector.
Am I eligible to participate?
We invite you to apply if you:
•Are part of the broad independent visual and media arts sector in Canada (as an artist, arts professional/administrator, or member of an arts organization)
• Are willing to listen to and receive the experiences of others with openness and respect
• Are reasonably available to participate in this initiative between May and October 2023
Please note that discussions will be mainly in English, but informal translation to French will be possible to facilitate the conversations. People with “imperfect” English are very welcome to participate. If you require other interpretation services please let us know.
The co-learning groups will meet virtually. Participants who do not have a stable Internet connection will be able to participate by phone, but some Internet connection will be required, notably to contribute to the knowledge base.
If you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Benjamin J. Allard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Are there accessibility accommodations available for participating in the co-learning groups?
Yes, if in order to participate fully you need accessibility services, please let us know.
• ASL or LSQ interpretations will be available upon request to any of the co-learning groups.
• The meetings will be recorded for internal consultation. Automated services can produce captioning and transcripts (in English and French) if needed.
• We will provide informal translation from English to French.
For all other requests or questions, please contact Benjamin J. Allard (email@example.com).
Are there accessibility accommodations available for submitting an application?
Yes! You can complete the application process over the phone or through alternate means to meet your needs. Please contact Barbora Racevičiūtė (firstname.lastname@example.org) by email or via phone at 1-514-522-8240 ext. 2.
Do I have to be an “expert” to apply?
No! We are looking for participants from all levels of experience and a wide range of contexts.
Many folks have had to learn and adapt to changing technologies very quickly, and we find this to be a rich source of information, as everyone is learning at different paces and levels. This includes personal experience of barriers and challenges, which we understand as valuable knowledge that would enrich the discussion. Experiences and knowledge can be artistic, organizational, technological, gained through personal and informal practice or formal education.
It is crucial for this initiative that we hear from different perspectives, so we do invite you to submit an application!
What do we mean by digital projects?
Digital tools, practices and knowledge take multiple forms! We can say that it is the use of digital technology (Internet, data, coding, etc.) to create a product, service, experience or to rethink existing systems. Some examples are provided for each proposed discussion area, but other relevant subjects can include:
Accessibility and inclusivity in digital contexts, Algorithms, Artificial intelligence, Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, Blockchain, Cloud services, Connected objects/wearables, Cybersecurity and privacy, Digital methods of artistic presentation, Digital platform development, Discoverability, Interactive technology, Mobile Apps, Metadata creation and management tools, Semantic Web tools, Strategic data analysis, Streaming Technologies, Websites, and more!
Experiences with projects of any scope are welcome. You might have received a large grant from a public institution or developed a small independent initiative internal to your workplace/practice. Whatever the scale of your project, we invite you to participate in interConnect.
What are we looking for in a participant?
We are looking for participants who have been or are currently involved in digital projects, initiatives, and technologies, or who are preparing to start a digital initiative. We invite candidates who are willing to share their knowledge and experience in the sector, and we strongly encourage perspectives from under-represented communities.
We seek to select candidates that reflect a diversity of experiences and knowledge who can contribute to a meaningful co-learning experience. We will select participants in part based on expressed interest in the different discussion areas and the knowledge people are bringing in terms of communities, technologies, and insights.
What does the application process involve?
The application deadline has been extended to May 12th, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.
• Selected candidates will be invited to join a co-learning group based on a specific discussion area. If the candidate accepts, they will sign a contract confirming their participation.
• Submitting an application does not guarantee participation. Candidates not selected to participate will receive an email notification thanking them for their interest.
How do we select candidates?
Applications will be reviewed by the interConnect team and members of the Oversight Committee. The co-learning groups will be formed to reflect the diversity of our communities, factors such as geographic location, career level, role in the sector, subject matter expertise and interest in the discussion areas will be taken into consideration.
As mentioned, the discussions become more rich with a diversity of perspectives and skill levels, so if you have some interest and experience in digital projects, we encourage you to submit an application.
Please contact Benjamin J. Allard (email@example.com). This page will be modified to reflect frequently asked questions.
Want to keep up to date?
Subscribe to our newsletter by clicking the link below: