Digital Arts Services Symposium

Event Date and Time: 
Friday, March 15, 2019 - 9:00am to Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 4:00pm
Toronto Reference Library, 2nd Floor
780 Yonge Street


All Digits on Deck
Building digital arts services for collective impact

As technology progressively transforms every facet of society, there is a pressing need for the arts and culture sector to jointly take ownership of its own digital futures.

From March 15-20, 2019, come to Toronto as the 2019 Digital Arts Services Symposium / Symposium des services d’arts numériques (DASSAN19) offers constructive, cross-sectoral dialogues and alliance-building opportunities inspired by pioneering keynote speakers, community salon sessions, professional industry exchanges, hackathon competition with a $5,000 grand prize, and a bootcamp for fledgling devotees to the digital world.

Proudly presented by ArtsPond in association with Agilo Arts and BeMused Network, DASSAN19 is designed to nurture valuable insights for both emerging and experienced producers and technologists alike, with the goal of building a critical digital practice within the arts and culture sector in Canada.

DASSAN19 is generously funded by the Digital Strategy Fund at Canada Council for the Arts.


What does it mean for arts services to “go digital”?

As advances in technology disrupts major industries from health and finance, to major film production and local artists, the question of the arts and cultural sectors’ digital transformation is not a matter of when, but how. And yet, what does it mean for arts services to “go digital”?

There is an urgent need for arts and culture champions to rally together to define, realize, and sustain collective responses to these questions. It is time for cross-sectoral advocates, creators, producers, educators, entrepreneurs, technologists, and other stakeholders to engage in open conversations about the digital futures that the arts desire and how to get there. While there are no simple answers, navigating the challenges presented by the digital world is within our grasp if we can cultivate a more collective approach to shared digital discovery and know-how.

Come to Toronto to join ground-breaking local and international delegates during the main symposium at the Toronto Reference Library from March 18-20, 2019. Or, apply to participate in one of two pre-symposium events including a three-day hackathon and a bootcamp for aspiring digital enthusiasts from March 15-17, 2019. Venues for the hackathon and bootcamp are still to be announced, and dates for these activities are subject to change.

Follow ArtsPond (@ArtsPond / @ArtsPondON) and BeMused Network (@BeMusedNetwork) online for the latest news and for additional opportunities to engage in virtual conversation.


How will DASSAN19 make the most of a gathering of people over three to six days?

The rapid pace of technological change greatly exceeds the capacity of single individuals or entities in arts and culture to actively respond.

By convening diverse groups over three to six days, the desired trajectory for DASSAN19 is to instill the mercurial conditions necessary to initiate and sustain sector-wide conversations that are practical and transformative in nature. We look to the past for inspiring digital precedents, to the present for evidence of beneficial ways to act, and to the future for the critical innovations still to come.

In the days leading up to the main symposium, the hackathon and bootcamp will provide a chance for participants to learn how to work with a digital team to tackle complex challenges, and for individuals and small teams to learn the foundational tools to bring a personal digital project or idea to life.

The first two days of the main symposium features compelling keynote speakers and panelists that address broad social and technological issues and their implications for arts and culture. Industry exchanges, community salons, and after-hour parties offer participating delegates opportunities to dive into specific topics of interest and to grow their networks. On the final day, the symposium culminates in an unconference format where community members take center stage to synthesize and respond to digital issues in the industry. At its conclusion, delegates will take home vital skills and action plans designed to support the development of innovative digital arts services across Canada, from the evaluation of digital strategy funding and case study applications of open source, open data, and machine learning platforms, to the evolution of collective governance alternatives for digital initiatives including platform cooperativism, and much more.