Arts Futures Series

Arts Futures Series

A series of arts-focused digital skills and strategy seminars 

Register for Toronto Sessions
Register for Ottawa Sessions
Registration is $35 per session ($30 for members of IO and CHRC) and includes lunch and non-alcoholic beverages

For those who can’t join in person, sign up here for a reminder about the livestreams 15 minutes before they begin

Arts Futures is a summer seminar series co-hosted by Interactive Ontario and the Cultural Human Resources Council in Toronto and Ottawa (with a livestream of the Toronto sessions for those who can’t join in person!). It provides arts-focused digital skills and strategy training for artists, arts & culture organizations and interactive digital media producers. Wondering about arts applications for digital technologies such as virtual reality or blockchain? Arts Futures has you covered! Each session will feature two presentations related to the theme for that week and will offer a networking lunch between sessions.

Our hope is that participants will connect with each other and perhaps spark the beginning of new collaborations under Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund.

Sessions and Dates

Session 1: Digital Transformation & Inclusive Design – July 4, 2018 (Toronto), July 5, 2018 (Ottawa)

Our first session will provide a foundation for incorporating digital strategies and inclusive design principles into your work.

Lee Dale of digital management consultancy Say Yeah! will discuss how digital transformation and customer-centric methodologies can impact arts and culture practices.

We live in a connected age, where patrons, audiences, and organizations are mobile by default and growing increasingly so as the next generation of screen-first youth become leading patrons of the arts. In this session, we’ll explore methodologies that are helping organizations of all shapes and sizes transform to better serve customers in this connected age. Walking through the core tenants of system strategy and digital excellence, we’ll look at digital best practices—research, strategy, interaction design, product and service, launch and promotion, and continuous improvement, with a particular focus on how thinking customer-first can help you connect with an audience.

Technology, Art and Access to Life
Tracy Tidgwell Dr. Carla Rice and Tracy Tidgwell of Re•VisionThe Centre for Art & Social Justice at the University of Guelph will consider the relationships between technology, art and access to life. Contemporary discussions about technology and inclusion often emphasize technology’s disruptive effects and interpret such disruptions in one of two ways—as destructive or as productive of material well-being and of new possibilities. When thought in relation to disability, those unfamiliar with disability culture assume that technology is the solution to disability—in other words, that technological “advances” will eventually eliminate disability. In this presentation, we draw on the Bodies in Translation project’s artistic collaborations to propose a new relationship between technology and disability, one in which technology is mobilized by, for and with people with disabilities to disrupt the ablest status quo and enact a more accessible world. In our view, when engaging with technology, artists with disabilities reimagine the value of technology for access and inclusion, moving away from a perspective that positions technology as providing the means to eliminate or hide disability toward one that presences and centres the insights of people with embodied difference. We describe how people with disabilities (as artists, educators, community members, technology experts) become co-designers in the development of technology and use such technology to bring disability to the fore: to invite the disruption that disability introduces into the social and cultural landscape. These projects explore ways of centralizing difference and disability and in doing so offer new ways of presenting alternative futures through disrupting the status quo. Technology, art, and access to life converge to generate dynamic and exciting possible futures, rewriting the ways in which technologies have been inscribed onto bodily difference.

Speaker Bios:

Lee Dale
Say Yeah!
Lee  has spent the past 15+ years working with organizations to help them realize the transformative capabilities of digital.

From customer experience to service delivery, Lee’s day-to-day at Say Yeah is spent coaching organizations—from public sector to industrial, sports to finance, and many more—on how to leverage technology and human-centred design processes in ways that grow revenue while reducing costs and inefficiencies.

This is accomplished by guiding teams towards delivering exceptional, intuitive experiences across all consumer touchpoints and related services through the system strategy framework which identifies and aligns consumer needs and organizational capabilities.

Carla Rice
University of Guelph/ Re*Vision
Carla Rice is Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Guelph. She is the founder of the Re•Vision Centre for Art and Social Justice, a community-engaged research creation centre with a mandate to use arts-informed methods to foster inclusive communities, well-being, equity, and justice within Canada and beyond. Her current research program investigates the power of story to decolonize education, build Inuit cultural voice, speak back to ableism and weightism in health care, and cultivate disability and non-normative arts in Canada.

Tracy Tidgwell
University of Guelph/ Re*Vision
Tracy Tidgwell is a cultural producer, researcher and activist. She has been working in the folds of Toronto’s queer arts communities over the past many years in performance, video, analog photography, writing, and community organizing. Her interests include process, connection, creativity, and the body. She is the Research Project Manager at Re•Vision: The Center for Art and Social Justice at the University of Guelph and manages Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life, a 7-year project that creates collaborative partnerships between artists, arts organizations, activists, scholars, and educators and cultivates art produced by disabled, d/Deaf, fat, Mad, and E/elder people with the goal of expanding understandings of vitality and advancing social justice.


Session 2: Digital Music Technologies – July 18, 2018 (Ottawa), July 19, 2018 (Toronto)


This session will delve into how digital technologies can offer improvements in royalty and copyright management for musicians and music companies.

Jeff King of SOCAN will discuss his organization’s industry-leading work in the music technology space. SOCAN’s recent initiatives and acquisitions offer new, fairer possibilities for tracking royalties owed to songwriters through improved real-time data collection.

Carlotta De Ninni of Mycelia, a music blockchain collective founded by Imogen Heap, will join us via livestream from the UK to provide insights into how blockchain technology can help ensure music creators are empowered and fairly compensated. If you’ve heard about blockchain and are wondering just how it works, you won’t want to miss this session.


Dr. Catherine Moore – Adjunct Professor: Music Technology & Digital Media

Permafrost Unbound: Perpetuity and Obsolescence in Digital Music Strategy
Music creators have new digital tools to work across media and incorporate ever more immersive experiences into their art. When technology behind these experiences becomes obsolete, however, the artwork disappears.
The rapid rise of digital platforms for user-generated videos and music streaming services recovered a very large number of recordings that had long been deleted from physical distribution. Although this made tens of millions of pieces of music available to listeners and gave those works a new life in a perpetual marketplace, listeners are overwhelmed with choice and thus return to hear or watch the same few things again and again. This further hastens the disappearance of music.
In this presentation business pressures to future-proof, to scale, and to adapt are examined using examples of music in Augmented Reality apps (such as EyeJack and Layar), and music in the home environment of  “smart speakers” steered by Artificial Intelligence.

Carlotta De Ninni of Mycelia, a music blockchain collective founded by Imogen Heap, will join us via livestream from the UK to provide insights into how blockchain technology can help ensure music creators are empowered and fairly compensated. If you’ve heard about blockchain and are wondering just how it works, you won’t want to miss this session.

Speaker Bios:

Dr. Catherine Moore
Adjunct Professor: Music Technology & Digital Media
Catherine Moore is Adjunct Professor of Music Technology & Digital Media in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music where she teaches about music entrepreneurship and digital media distribution. In both courses, the emphasis is on rapid change in digital and cross-media business and her research areas include new ways to measure digital media content and the sustainability of cities through multi-national music initiatives. Professor Moore is regularly quoted in the media about the music industry.

Catherine Moore has been a music critic since 1990 for American Record Guide, and works as a consultant under the name “Doors To Music”. She taught at New York University from 1995 to 2016, and directed the Music Business Program there for many years. She is a graduate of Bishop’s University, the Conservatoire de Musique (Montréal), and the University of Liverpool (UK).

Jeff King
Jeff King is responsible for strategy, licensing, distribution, international, information technology and corporate planning. He is accountable for SOCAN’s revenue and expense management for key operations. Since joining SOCAN in 2001, Jeff has held a number of senior positions throughout the organization and lead initiatives that significantly heightened member and licensee satisfaction. As Vice President of Licensing, Jeff developed a robust strategic plan to expand SOCAN’s customer base and increase efficiency. As Vice President of Membership, Jeff led the development of a number of industry-leading e-commerce tools and the creation of SOCAN’s Information Centre. Prior to joining SOCAN, Jeff was Vice President of Underwriting at Old Republic Insurance Company and helped to lead that organization from industry laggard to industry leader within 3 years. Jeff holds an BA Honours from Wilfrid Laurier University and has been keynote speaker at several international conferences on innovation and free-trade.

Carlotta De Ninni – Via Livestream
Head of Research and Operations, Mycelia
Carlotta De Ninni has a background in audio engineering. But after further studies in media management she has been involved in many projects about the implementation of blockchain technology into the music industry. She is currently working with Imogen Heap as the Head of Research and Operations for Mycelia, where she is specialised in music copyright and licensing, blockchain technology, smart contracts and AR/VR.


Session 3: Immersive Experiences – August 1, 2018 (Ottawa), August 2, 2018 (Toronto)

This session will offer a window into the use of technologies such as augmented and virtual reality for arts and culture.

Ian Kelso of Impossible Things will cover how augmented reality can transform the museum-going experience. He’ll discuss his company’s projects that blend physical and digital media, such as ReBlink, a massively successful project for the Art Gallery of Ontario that allowed patrons to interact with and remix class paintings.

Filmmaker Lisa Jackson will offer possibilities for storytelling using virtual reality, as she did on her project Biidaaban: First Light, which illuminates how the original languages of this land can provide a framework for understanding our place in a reconciled version of Canada’s largest urban environment. Find out about the process of creating narratives in virtual reality and the collaborations required to bring them to life.

Speaker Bios:

Lisa Jackson
Lisa Jackson’s films have aired on many networks in Canada, screened at Berlinale, SXSW, Margaret Mead, London BFI, and Hotdocs, and garnered a Genie award for her short film SAVAGE. She works in fiction and documentary and her projects often cross genres. Her CBC documentary Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier (co-directed with Shane Belcourt) won Best Documentary at imagineNATIVE in 2017, her VR piece Biidaaban: First Light premiered at Tribeca in 2018 and will launch in Toronto in September 2018, and the 360 video HIGHWAY OF TEARS that she directed for CBC’s The National toured the country and has been widely seen. Named one of 10 to Watch by Playback Magazine in 2012, she is an alumna of the TIFF Talent Lab, CFC Directors’ Lab and was a fellow at the MIT Virtually There VR conference in 2016. She is a director mentor for the NSI IndigiDocs program and sits on the advisory committee for the NFB’s Indigenous Action Plan.

Ian Kelso
Co-Founder of Impossible Things
For over two decades Ian has been unable to resist the compulsion to work with new technologies and platforms, ones that have reshaped the way we create, collaborate and communicate. Originally schooled in film, photography and live theatre, Ian became obsessed early on with new digital tools that had the power to reinvent the way we tell stories and learn. Over the years Ian has worked as a producer and an entrepreneur inside both startups and major media enterprises. An industry advocate, Ian also co-founded digital media associations at the regional and national levels in Canada.

In 2016 Ian co-founded Impossible Things with award-winning digital visionary Alex Mayhew. Their first project ReBlink “remixed” and brought to life ten classic paintings allowing museum visitors to engage, explore and interpret them in brand new ways. He is also co-organizer of AWE Night TO, an AR monthly event series based in Toronto.

Session 4: 
Digital Discoverability – August 22, 2018 (Ottawa), August 23, 2018 (Toronto)
Session details to be announced at a later date.

Session 5: Closing Keynote – Jarryd Huntley – Arts & Video Games – August 29, 2018 (Toronto), August 30, 2018 (Ottawa)
Session details to be announced at a later date.



Capital Game Hub – 981 Wellington West, 4th floor
Ottawa, Ontario
(Enter the building via the side entrance off of Garland Street)

There is a very small slope to access the entrance. The door is not motorized, but we will have someone at the entrance to provide assistance. Door openings are 89cm wide. The event takes place on the 4th floor and there is an elevator. There is an accessible washroom in the adjacent office space, just a few metres from the meeting room.


Toronto Media Arts Centre – 32 Lisgar Street
Toronto, Ontario

The main entrance is on the north side of the building, opening up onto Lisgar Park. The park is accessible from all sides via gently sloping ramp, but is mostly level with the sidewalk. The park is mostly flat, obstacle-free concrete. The main entrance to the building features three sets of doors. The one on the far left appears to be motorized, but the button has not yet been installed (as of March 2018). The other two double doors open fully and will be propped open during favorable weather. All of the doors open by pushing inward, not pulling. If you are arriving for an event, someone will be inside the entrance to assist you. If you encounter any issues, please call or text (416) 879-8942 and someone will be happy to meet you.

If you have any other requirements you feel comfortable sharing please contact joy[at] and we will do our best to accommodate them.


11am – Doors open
11:15am – 12pm – Series Topic with Speaker #1
12pm-12:45pm – Networking Lunch
12:45pm – 1:30pm – Series Topic with Speaker #2


For more information: