Category Archives: collaboration

Imagine Yukon’s Awesome, Global Digital Presence

On November 20, 2020, 31 Yukoners gathered via Zoom to talk to each other about big ideas from the starting points of:

How can we build a true Yukon digital platform to put our collective foot forward to the vast online population?

Chart showing the evolution of Yukon from a place to a global brand to a future global digital brand

What would Yukoners and Yukon businesses have to build together to achieve such an awesome, global online presence? What kinds of content would we need to have, what kinds of digital technologies would we use to create awesome digital experiences, and what kind of visionary web presence would we create to be a global online force?

Here is the full zoom recording with annotated chapter markers as well as a written summary report:

Several Yukon-led territorial and national projects were featured as part of the exchange of ideas and experiences:

  1. https://yfnarts.ca/ – online store for Yukon Indigenous arts and products (Charlene Alexander, YFNCTA)
  2. https://yukononlinemarket.ca/ – just launched online store for artisans and crafters (Jasmine Roush, Willow Gamberg, Yukon)
  3. https://availablelight.watch/ – launched in October 2019, ALD makes Yukon films and shorts available to Yukoners and the world for viewing and renting (Braden Brickner, Yukon)
  4. https://digitalartsnation.ca/ – national digital literacy and intelligence project (Inga Petri, Yukon)
  5. http://digitalinnovationcouncil.ca/ – conversations, insights from digital practitioners in the arts and culture sector (Inga Petri, Yukon)
  6. https://yukonorganics.ca/ – sharing food orders to get high quality foods into remote locations at good prices (Scott McKenzie, Yukon)
  7. Creative Lab North (Melaina Sheldon & Jayden Soroka, Yukon) – in development
  8. ThePitch.ca: Online Showcase for the Performing Arts (Debbie Peters, Yukon) – in development
  9. Yukon Transportation Museum – developing digital products and services (Janna Swales, Yukon) – in development

Guest speakers also contributed greatly to the conversation by expanding on approaches to digital technologies and opportunities: Tammy Lee, Culture Creates (Montreal), Margaret Lam, Bemused Network (Waterloo, ON)

For more on Inga’s digital vision take a listen to Yukon Entrepreneur Podcast Series recorded as part of Yukon Innovation Week 2020.

Yukon Innovation Week 2020 November

Interview about Digital Innovation in the age of COVID-19

As part of Yukon Innovation Week, Kari Johnston interviewed Inga Petri about her work in arts & culture in the digital world. I discuss my mission to help artists and arts & culture organizations use digital technologies in profound and new ways and build successful digital business models. It’s not about merely building a website, but about leveraging the latest web technologies and ways in which web 3.0 works to secure viable spaces for artistic and cultural expression and experiences.

Part of Yukon Entrepreneur Podcast Series

Yukon Innovation Week 2020

Friday, Nov 20, 2020 from 3 pm to 4:30 on Zoom. Register now.

Imagine: Yukon’s awesome, global digital presence

This session is designed as a bold conversation where current limitations are cast aside and we imagine a world of our own making.

Imagine

People around the world are flocking to the Yukon: for fun, entertainment, cultural experiences, our multi-facetted histories, outdoor experiences, guided tours, culinary extravaganzas, unique Northern products. And they are doing that online right now.

Let’s talk

How can we build a true Yukon digital platform to put our collective foot forward to the vast online population?

What would Yukoners and Yukon businesses have to build together to achieve such an awesome, global online presence? What kinds of content would we need to have? What kinds of digital technologies would we use to create awesome digital experiences? And what kind of visionary web presence would we create to be a global online force?

How do we develop a business model that returns the revenue generated to Yukoners and Yukon businesses, while maintaining the technology backbone of this made-in-Yukon solution?

This conversation is inspired by a readiness to embrace the persistent new digital age that might follow the life-altering effects of COVID-19. It also connects to several other conversations in recent years about creating a digital window or storefront for the Yukon.

Who this is for: YOU!

  • web developers, extended reality media makers, technology builders and innovators and so on
  • tourism businesses, wilderness guides, cultural centres, heritage and museums and so on
  • visual and performing artists, musicians, makers of wearable art and cultural expressions and so on
  • people from all four levels of government, anyone with access to innovation funding

Register in advance for this open conversation here. 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Presented by Strategic Moves as part of Yukon Innovation Week 2020

Reflection on Arts, Culture and Digital Transformation Summit in BanffWritte

Republished https://digitalartsnation.ca/2019/12/22/reflection-on-arts-culture-and-digital-transformation-summit-in-banff/

I am grateful to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for inviting me to participate in this digital transformation summit in November 2019. Following is a responsive personal reflection on:

What do you think are the most promising ideas and activities for moving forward in a digital transformation in the arts?

Two ideas stood out to me: first, worldviews matter to how we regard and evolve our digital presence; second, the Canadian arts world is a latecomer to the digital realm—especially not-for-profit arts and arts service organizations—but it is working hard to catch up.

Indigenous Worldviews in the Digital World

These ideas kept coming back to me in several presentations, panels and hallway conversations. Bringing Indigenous worldviews and worldviews from outside western European traditions to bear on the way we conceive of the digital realm and its uses offers tremendous hope for our collective future well-being. The winners and losers paradigm that has driven digital innovation appears to reinforce—rather than improve —the real world dynamics between advantaged and disadvantaged groups; the colonizer and the colonized; the recent immigrant of colour and the predominantly white settler of European descent. By bringing the values, ways of connectedness and accountability of Indigenous peoples in Canada as well as people of colour to the forefront, we could draw on values-based frameworks of belief, thought and action that largely have eluded digital advances.

Catalytic digital investments bring art and technology together

The arts in Canada are working hard to catch up on understanding and making use of the digital realm for good. The Canada Council for the Arts said that only 39% of core applications to the Digital Strategy Fund have been funded during the first half of the fund’s life. This suggests a low understanding of the types of digital intelligence and digital transformations this fund envisioned among a majority of applicants. On the other hand, for many funded projects it is this catalytic investment that has been bringing digital technologists, strategists, consultants and not-for-profit arts organizations in closer contact. This contact appears to have begun to shift the conversation toward a greater understanding of the opportunities and challenges of the digital realm.

As new digital technologies and methods combine with massive increases in data speeds during the next decade, every sector of the arts and every stage in the creative production process will see new kinds of disruptions that challenge their traditional bricks and mortar models. By bringing technologists, digital visionaries, artists and arts organizations together to define mission-critical sector-wide issues and develop effective, scalable digital solutions, the Canadian arts sector can exert, at last, some influence in the digital world.

Digital Strategy Fund: Funded Projects 2017 – 2019

Canada Council for the Arts announced its unique Digital Strategy Fund (DSF) in March 2017 with a sense of urgency: “The fund is part of a catch-up movement for the vast majority of the arts sector, which is at risk of being less and less visible and less supported by citizens (…)” As a strategic fund, it is time-limited and was to operate from 2017 to 2021. The Digital Strategy Fund is worth $88.5 million.

UPDATE August 12, 2019

Canada Council for the Arts’ Strategy and Public Affairs supplied to me new tables on August 9, 2019. My initial analysis was based on Canada Council’s grants database information. That public information does not include the amounts committed by Council to multi-phase projects as those funds will be released based on interim project report. The different between the Grants data base as of August 9, 2019 and the actual allocated pending reports is just over $7 million, i.e. $36 million as opposed to close to 29 million. Another difference was in the year to which projects were allocated, i.e. many of the projects marked 2019 actually belong to the 2018-2019 fiscal year and are now marked 2018.The basic point of the analysis remains: less than half the available fund have been allocated so far leaving significant opportunity space for new applications to the fund.

Tables below are updated using the new data supplied by Council.   

I hope it will illuminate where funding has gone and help see where the digital opportunities spaces might lie for the upcoming September 18, 2019 deadline for the next full round of funding.

Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund 2017 to 2019

Table1 Digital Strategy Fund 2017 to 2019

In total, the DSF has spent $36 million for 352 projects for an average of $102,961 per project. (*IMPORTANT NOTE: The total number of projects funded is 352 over this period, however, multi-year projects are counted in each of the fiscal years in which funding is awarded.) 2018 saw nearly seven times as many projects funded, resulting in a quadrupling of funding allocated. The average funding in 2018 is substantially lower because it includes a round of funding for core funding recipients that maxed out at $50,000.

$36 million represents only 40% of the total ear-marked funding.  It is clear: there is tremendous opportunity to obtain funds for bold digital experimentation in and a great deal of learning about the digital realm  with the remaining $52 million over the next two years.

Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund - Four Funding Streams

Table 2 DSF Funding Funding Streams

During these first two years, Digital Literacy projects have 25% of all funding allocated.  Public Access and Citizen Engagement stream received 29% of funds – representing 16% of projects, while the Transformation of Organizational Models received about 26% of all funding for close to 10% of all projects.  This assumes all multi-phase projects will proceed beyond their initial phases and the allocated funds will be disbursed. The Special digital projects for core grant recipients makes up about one fifth of the funds spent, but half of the projects. The multi-phase projects while few in number represent a very significant investment of the life of the projects in particular when they meet their go/no go metrics positively.

In a sector that by and large is lagging in the adoption of contemporary and leading digital tools and methods, these figures paint an encouraging picture: Not only are arts organizations embarking on becoming well versed in the use of digital tools but a considerable number are working toward producing, marketing and distributing participatory and receptive arts experiences by experimenting with and leveraging the tools and methods of the digital realm; and 34 projects representing $9.5 million ($5.7 ,million of funds have been released pending multi-phase project go decisions for later phases) are looking at what digital transformation might look like for their organizations and sectors.

These projects are predicated on partnerships and generating significant benefit for more than the lead applicant. As such seeing a segment of the arts and culture sector embracing this opportunity to obtain risk capital for strategic organizational model and business model experimentation in the digital world is encouraging.

Canada has become highly urbanized, with about 17 million Canadians living in the six largest urban centres, and more than 80% living in urban and sub-urban areas of Canada. This begged the question about the geographic distribution of funds so far.

Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund Cities vs the Rest of Canada

Digital Strategy Fund Cities vs the Rest of Canada 2017 – 2019

The six largest urban centres across Canada have received 68% of all funding even though their general population comprises about about 47%. This suggests that there is a greater concentration of organizations and activities in the digital realm in the largest cities. Nonetheless, $11.5 million have gone to cities under 1 million as well as smaller jurisdictions including a few in rural and remote places. The average level of funding per project is on par when we exclude the special projects at about $103,000. Still, one of the promises (opportunities, challenges) of the digital realm is that it might create a more level playing field for geographically disadvantaged and systematically excluded places and people. There is a need to explore how smaller communities can build the capacity needed to access more of this funding. 

Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund 2017-2019, Regions

Digital Strategy Fund 2017-2019, Regions

Further analysis shows that every region in the country has benefited from the Digital Strategy Fund; and it matches quite well to the size of population, with only the three Prairie provinces under-performing significantly by the measure of general population.

Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund 2017 to 2019, Provinces and Territories

Table5 Digital Strategy Fund 2017 to 2019, Provinces and Territories

Perhaps not surprising given their population base or remoteness, the Northern Territories and PEI  have received funding for only 1 to 2 projects each so far. While on a population basis this would be deemed adequate, it does not reflect the depth and breadth of the arts and cultural communities.

In my  work with arts and cultural organizations in every province and territory in Canada over this decade, I have seen exceptional arts communities in unlikely places and without exception they have an interest in staking a claim in the digital realm. I expect and hope to see more winning proposals from strong local arts and culture sectors in Nunavut and Yukon as well as Vancouver and Gulf Islands, BC Interior, NWT, Newfoundland, rural Maritimes  as well as cottage country in Ontario.

Bottom line: with 60% of the ear-marked funding envelope not yet spent, the time is ripe for a plethora of proposals for the September 18, 2019 deadline. Plus there is money available for Digital Literacy projects under $50,000 to succeed any time you need them – indeed, you can apply as often as you need under this component!

Let’s get on it! Let’s talk!

Notes: I collated this spreadsheet DSF_2017to2020_Aug2019 from the data points on Canada Council for the Arts’ proactive disclosure website. It represents 337 projects and is based on a data pull on August 2, 2019.

The funding database for DSF does not specify the artistic disciplines or whether it belongs to an equity-seeking group

The three funding streams allocate either up $250,000 for single phase or $500,000 for multi-phase projects, and up to 85% of total eligible costs for a new project or 50% to refine or optimize an existing one. By any measure this is a significant and unique investment in the arts and culture sector in Canada. New in 2018 was that Digital Literacy projects of up to $50,000 can be submitted any time to be approved internally at Canada Council within a few weeks, ie without convening an expert jury. Also new was that the expectations around having a partnership lead these projects has been loosened to specify that it must benefit a wider group.

Three rounds of funding have taken place: the first closed in fall 2017 with funded projects announced in April 2018, the second one closed in fall 2018 with projects announced in April 2019, and the third one targeting organizations that receive core funding from Council was published in summer 2019.

 

Let’s work together on digital

On August 31, from 1 to 2:30 pm Eastern (10 to 11:30 am Pacific), our next online convening to discuss current digital projects and those in development takes place. Let us know you are joining in: What’s Your Digital Project? – Part 2

Through the Digital Innovation Council for the Performing Arts, CAPACOA has shared  draft plans for Phase 2 of the Digital Innovation Council for the Performing Arts. These are a  series of potential digital projects identified over the course of Phase 1, Digitizing the Performing Arts: An Assessment of Opportunities, Issues and Challenges.

We know several people/organizations are looking at data strategies, especially semantic web and semantic web automation to enhance live event discoverability, business back-end platform improvements and perhaps revolutions, and more.

Participants in these conversations are moving to digital actions; sorting out what they want to do next and how to collaborate with a profound spirit of generosity. We all figure funding for the truly worthy breakthrough digital projects will follow. For some a key avenue for public funds will be through their eligibility for the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund, that will become available in the fall of 2017. Others may need to follow a tech start up model. It is a brave new world we are beginning to inhabit and get our bearings.

Join the conversation, listen in, meet potential collaborators: What’s Your Digital Project? – Part 2

Published! Digitizing the Performing Arts: An Assessment of Opportunities, Issues and Challenges

The thrill of release! Yes, we published today our latest national report – already billed as landmark 😉 – titled  Digitizing the Performing Arts: An Assessment of Opportunities, Issues and Challenges. It is also available in French:  La numérisation des arts du spectacle : Évaluation des possibilités, des enjeux et des défis.

I hope that this assessment provides a springboard for new conversations and digital capacity in the presenting field.

The question at the core of this work is who will be the digital intermediaries for the performing arts; and whether the presenting field can carve out a digital space that supports and benefits the entire performing arts eco-system. Doing so, I think, would require both a transfer and an expansion of the arts presenting expertise we see on the theatre platform to new digital platforms.

Presenters historically have been the dominant platform where performing arts and audiences connect. The theatre, stage or the festival site literally act as a platform. With that, this report seeks to begin to answer – or at least inform – big questions:

  • Can live arts presenters re-invent distribution of performing arts at digital scale?
  • How will Canadian artistic talent be nurtured and supported to grow viable careers and earn fair compensation in the digital realm?
  • How can we, and should we, as a free, vibrant society assure a broad diversity of voices that reflect all of Canada is heard in digital spaces as well as live performance spaces?
  • What is the future of live Canadian theatre, dance, music and other performing arts as digital technologies and capacities of data networks continue to advance?

This report by CAPACOA and Strategic Moves is the culmination of several years of conversations that emanated from our study on The Value of Presenting: A Study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada. We are grateful for an initial round of financial support from Canadian Heritage to undertake this assessment.

On a personal note, I so appreciate and enjoy working with my colleague-client, Frédéric Julien, Director of Research and Development at CAPACOA. He is a tireless advocate in the arts; and equal parts smart, rigorous in his thinking and affable. Thank you, Frédéric, for your work and your collaboration!