Arsenal Montreal, March 15 to 17, 2017


Charting the future of the arts in a digital world

Digital technologies have a major impact on how we work, communicate and engage with our community, with citizens, and with the world, and the arts sector in Canada is no exception. How can the arts be amplified, adapt and thrive in the digital era? The Canada Council for the Arts is organizing The Arts in a Digital World Summit to answer these questions and more.

A pivotal role for digital in the arts

The Canada Council has committed to amplify the quality, scale and sharing of Canadian art through digital technology. Now we’re asking the arts community to help us define how we collectively go about it. The Summit will be an opportunity for sharing, innovation, re-imagining and seeding new collaborations. We’ll also introduce our new Digital Fund, launching in Fall 2017.


A gathering to learn together

The Summit will initiate a series of crucial conversations within the arts community. To get the conversation started, we have invited some 250 artistic and administrative leaders in the Canadian arts sector, as well as digital experts and strategic thinkers, to represent the vast diversity of the sector and to contribute to the testing and understanding of our new Digital Fund for the arts.

Follow Summit live broadcasts online

While the Summit will be by invitation, some sessions will be broadcast live online to members of the arts community and those interested in learning more about the new Digital Fund. To receive live broadcast invitations and reminders, as well as a recap of the Summit and follow-up information, you can subscribe to the Summit updates email list (see “Follow the Summit online” section in the Sidebar).


Inspiring speakers and contributors

The Summit will feature presentations and workshops both informative and fascinating, some of which will be broadcast live online. Here are some of the topics they will help the Summit explore:  How can Canada’s arts sector better respond to the shifts and disruptions provoked by digital technologies? How can we develop innovative approaches to renew and grow our relationships with citizens in a digitally empowered society? How can we transform our organisational and business models to leverage and optimize digital?

Astra Taylor is a writer, documentarian, and organizer. Most recently she is the author of the book “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age”, winner of a 2015 American Book Award. The People’s Platform argues that for all that we “tweet” and “like” and “share,” the Internet in fact reflects and amplifies real-world inequities at least as much as it ameliorates them. Online, just as off-line, attention and influence largely accrue to those who already have plenty of both. Taylor’s writing has appeared in The Nation, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Baffler, the New York Times, and elsewhere.

Her films include Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most outrageous philosopher, and Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers including Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Cornel West, Peter Singer and others. Both movies premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She is the editor of Examined Life, a companion volume to the film, and coeditor of Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America. She helped launch the Rolling Jubilee and co-founded the Debt Collective. She is currently working on a new film about democracy, produced by the NFB. She is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow.

Jackson 2bears is a Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) multimedia artist and cultural theorist who currently resides in Lethbridge, AB. He has exhibited his work extensively across Canada, most recently at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Vancouver Art Gallery; PAVED Arts (Saskatoon, SK); the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; the ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival (Toronto, ON). 2bears’ academic writings have appeared in Ctheory, The Leonardo Electronic Almanac and most recently in the co-authored text Coded Territories: Tracing Indigenous Pathways in New Media Art (U of Calgary Press; Steve Loft and Kerry Swanson eds.) 2bears is currently Assistant Professor in Art Studio at the University of Lethbridge.

As a Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) artist and theorist, Jackson 2bears’ research is inspired by how his ancestors would refer to their ‘stories being written on the land’— how, for indigenous peoples, the landscape is considered to be a living, animate, and embodied archive. A central aspect of Jackson 2bears’ research is the spatiality of storytelling—how story can be dimensional as well as durational; how narratives are intricately interconnected with ‘place’, the landscape, and the environment. 2bears work meditates on the idea of embodied storytelling and the the ways in which Indigenous peoples participate with story through song, dance, or by physically traversing territorial narratives. His work is about performative storytelling, and explores the interconnected relationships between ‘place’ and the living archive.

Sylvain Carle lives and breathes emerging technologies. For the last 20 years, he has thrived with marvel and fun at the confluence of media, technology and networks. Entrepreneurship, web software architecture, APIs, digital and social media as well as open-source software and open standards are all at the core of his competence and passion.

He has been on many community technology group boards (Ile-Sans-Fil, Alliance Numérique and OSMO) and a serial entrepreneur, CTO and co-founder since 2000 (Messagia, Interstructure, Praized, Needium). Before joining Real Ventures as a General Partner in 2014, he was Senior Developer Advocate at Twitter in San Francisco, helping strategic partners get the most of the blue bird’s APIs and technology products.

Socialist, idealist and pragmatic, he is convinced that technology will change the world in this era of the networked society. One of his current obsessions is the impact of the (noble) hacker culture on public and private organisations and of innovation through massive collaboration, Github-style.

Urban, local, sustainable, fair, open, transparent and more human is how he wants to see technology and the world evolve. He hopes he can have a small influence in that regard. He is mostly self-taught and an avid learner with insidious curiosity.


March 15th, 2017
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm Pre-Registration Opens
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Opening Reception

March 16th, 2017
7:45 am – 8:30 am Registration Opens
8:45 am Summit begins
8:45 am – 12:25 pm Summit Sessions (details to follow)
12:25 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch & Salon
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm Summit Sessions afternoon (details to follow)

March 17th, 2017
8:30 am – 8:35 am Summit Opening
8:35 am – 12:00 pm Summit Sessions (details to follow)
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch & Salon
1:30 pm – 6:00 pm Summit Sessions afternoon (details to follow)

Click here to access the latest schedule details and updates on the event site.


Summit participants are responsible for organizing their own travel arrangements and accommodations. We have preselected and blocked rooms at a variety of hotels in Montreal. Please find the list of recommended hotels below, including links to each so as to facilitate your booking.


We begin our journey in a former shipyard
The Summit will take place at Arsenal, 2020 Rue William, Montréal, a private foundation dedicated to the support, promotion and development of contemporary art. Located in a converted century-old shipyard, Arsenal’s 80,000 square foot complex houses public exhibition spaces, a commercial gallery and a venue for corporate and private events like the Summit.


The Canada Council is pleased to be working with Atmosphere Event Communication as event production partners. They are available to assist you with registration, hotel booking, or any other questions you might have.


Summit details

Summit participation is by invitation. To kick off what is the first in a series of crucial conversations within the arts community, we have invited some 250 artistic and administrative leaders in the Canadian arts sector, as well as digital experts and strategic thinkers, to represent the vast diversity of the sector and to contribute to the testing and understanding of our new Digital Fund for the arts.

Yes! While the Summit is by invitation, some sessions will be broadcast live online. To receive live broadcast invitations and reminders, as well as a recap of the Summit and follow-up information, you can subscribe to the Summit updates email list (see “Follow the Summit” section in the sidebar).

Summit participants have been selected for their specific knowledge and for their diversity. Their input and participation in workshops is critical to the outcomes of the Summit. They will be asked to attend learning sessions, interact, exchange ideas with their peers and engage in discussions on various topics. The Summit is an opportunity to develop innovative approaches, to re-imagine how artists and arts organizations engage with citizens, and to seed collaborations within the arts community and with other sectors.

Yes, a variety of presentations and workshops will be available. Participants can choose the sessions that are most pertinent to them or that will enhance their expertise in specific areas pertaining to the arts in a digital world. Participants will receive an email with more details on sessions, including how to access a detailed agenda and book specific sessions via the event site or app.

Financial contributions from the Canada Council to offset travel costs of invited participants are calculated based on a participant’s location and average rates at the hotels for which we have blocked off rooms. Included are participants’ travel costs to and from Montreal, accommodations for 2 or 3 nights (depending on flight schedules), and a daily per diem to cover breakfasts and dinner (lunches are provided).

Financial contributions will be distributed at the Summit. Participants must attend all Summit sessions in order to remain eligible for the financial contribution.

Summit Event Website and App

Invited participants must first register for the Summit. Once their profile is created, they will be invited to log into the website and the app in order to access Summit documentation and contribute to the discussions.

The event website is responsive and will adjust to the dimensions of any device with a modern Web browser. The app version is available for iOS and Android only.

While the list of Summit participants will be available to the public, your online profile for the Summit will only be accessible to other Summit participants. Participants must create a profile in order to participate in the Summit’s online discussion forums. Participants have the option to keep their contact details private if desired, while still being able to receive private messages from other participants through the event site or app.

Travel and Meals

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements. We invite you to contact national airline providers and the recommended hotels and for more information.

Participants are responsible for their own transportation. Click here to see ground transportation options at the Montreal airport.

Participants are responsible for their own transportation. Please refer to your hotel concierge to find the best options to/from your specific hotel. Directions, including public transportation options, are available on the venue website.

There is street parking available near the Summit venue. We recommend you take public transportation or a taxi.

Yes, lunches and snack breaks will be included during the conference, as well as beverages throughout the day. Participants should make their own plans for other meals prior to and following each day of Summit proceedings (e.g. breakfasts and suppers).

Please specify any allergies or other special requirements when submitting your registration form.


If you require assistance accessing the content on this page, please contact Atmosphere Event Communications at


The arts community at large can subscribe to the Summit updates email list to receive invitations to live online events and post-Summit information:

  • Receive live broadcast start time notifications
  • Watch live online broadcasts of select keynotes, workshops and presentations
  • Learn more about the new Digital Fund
  • Receive a recap of the Summit and follow-up information
  • View the list of speakers, contributors and attendees

Subscribe to the Summit updates list:

Use the official
#ArtsinaDigitalWorld to follow us!


Please visit the event site to have access to:

  • Detailed Summit schedule with updates
  • Pre-event schedule
  • Profiles of Summit participants and contributors
  • Live broadcasts
  • Summit documentation


For an optimal mobile experience on iOS and Android, download the Summit event app. You will need to be a registered participant in order to log in to the app.


For more information about this event, please contact the events team at

Visit The Canada Council for the Arts website to learn more about the strategic priorities and commitments investments that set the stage for the Summit.