Please note, the Digital Strategy Fund is now closed for applications. For related funding see the Innovation Grants.
Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement
Digital Strategy Fund
The Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement component funds Canadian artists, groups and arts organizations to improve the public’s access, engagement and participation in the arts through digital means. It supports innovative digital initiatives that:
- enhance the artistic experience of diverse publics;
- encourage the participation and engagement of citizens with the arts;
- increase discoverability and access to the works of Canadian artists, both at home and abroad.
Applicants may request a grant for a single- or multi-phase initiative.
|Types of initiative|
Initiatives for which the objectives, timelines and expected results are clearly identified.
Initiatives for which the objectives, timelines and expected results are clearly identified, and that require an iterative approach.
You may be eligible for Application Assistance to pay someone to help you with the application process if you are experiencing difficulty and self-identify as:
- an artist who is Deaf, hard of hearing, has a disability or is living with a mental illness
- a First Nations, Inuit or Métis artist facing language, geographic and/or cultural barriers.
Activities - what you can apply for
This component supports both small-scale activities with short timelines and longer-term complex initiatives. Activities must benefit more than a single artist, group or organization. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, initiatives that:
- Develop and explore innovative solutions to challenges related to digital discoverability and access to the arts, and other strategies to foster digital citizen engagement with the arts. Examples: consulting and developing solutions with citizens, testing new ideas as a minimal viable product, piloting projects amongst communities, user-centric design, etc.
- Implement new initiatives to improve digital discoverability and access to the arts, and other strategies to transform the citizen experience with the arts. Examples: Metadata initiatives, open and linked data, freeware development, digital engagement platforms or tools, etc.
- Reinforce, optimize, or scale up existing digital initiatives through preparatory activities and development to ensure their long-term viability.
Activities addressing digital challenges, issues and opportunities related to artistic practice are eligible if the focus is not on the creation and production of artistic work.
You cannot submit applications for the following activities, including but not limited to:
- activities that have already received Canada Council support;
- hiring permanent staff;
- recurring or ongoing activities, such as social media management or day-to-day operations;
- initiatives where the final goal is to digitize documents, collections or archives;
- updating current computer or technological equipment and hardware infrastructure;
- creating or updating personal, corporate or institutional websites;
- purchasing or renting off-the-shelf technological tools or solutions (e.g. ticketing systems, customer relationship management software);
- initiatives to research, create, produce or program artistic work or creations;
- activities conducted for the development of artistic skills;
- activities conducted for the benefit of a single organization, an artist, group or collective.
Applicants - who can apply
The Fund supports collaborative initiatives that stretch beyond your own organization or group and demonstrate benefits to the broader arts sector or artistic community. Initiatives must therefore be proposed by, or for, more than one organization, collective or group of artists.
The lead applicant holds the reporting and fiduciary responsibility to Council. Partners are involved in the initiative’s leadership and direction, as well as participate in its governance. Providers are third parties contracted by the lead applicant or partner to deliver specific aspects of the initiative's work plan.
The lead applicant must be eligible to apply to the Fund, as determined by their validated profile created in the portal. However, initiative partners or service providers do not need a validated profile in order to participate in the initiative.
All partners and service providers must be independent of each other and not be affiliated with other team members.
Types of potential lead applicants to this component:
- professional artists;
- arts professionals (excluding consultants and third-party service providers);
- artistic groups;
- Canadian arts organizations.
Expenses – what is eligible
- For requests up to $50,000: 85% of eligible costs
- For requests of $50,001 to $500,000: 85% of eligible costs
All expenses directly related to carrying outthe proposed initiative are eligible, including but not limited to:
- honoraria and fees paid to artists, experts, trainers, facilitators, project managers, developers and consultants directly involved in carrying out the initiative;
- travel, accommodation and per diem costs;
- licensing fees;
- equipment rental costs;
- data acquisition costs;
- public accessibility costs, e.g. sign language interpretation, captioning, audio description, etc.;
- costs of sharing results and transferring acquired knowledge to the community;
- other costs directly related to carrying out the initiative (must be justified).
The following expenses are also eligible, but subject to certain limits:
- administrative costs up to 15% of the total grant requested;
- equipment purchase costs up to 15% of the total grant requested;
- fees and costs related to content creation, artistic creation and media production up to 15% of the total grant requested.
Expenses that are not directly related to carrying out the proposed initiative are not eligible, including (but not limited to):
- ongoing operating expenses;
- deficit reduction costs;
- expenses for developing and maintaining personal, corporate or institutional websites;
- expenses for off-the-shelf digital solutions, such as ticketing systems, customer relationship management software, etc.;
- expenses incurred prior to your application submission date (for requests up $50,000);
- expenses incurred prior to the application deadline date (for requests of $50,001 to $500,000);
- expenses related to renovating or constructing a building;
expenses for which funding has already been granted by the Canada Council or another funder.
Your application will be assessed based on the weighted criteria below by a committee of experts in the arts, digital, business or other sectors as well as individuals who have undertaken digital transformation initiatives. Please note that Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement applications requesting up to $50,000 will be assessed by either an internal or an external committee.
- The initiative aims for concrete results and significant expected benefits;
- The initiative benefits more than one artist or organization and, ideally, an entire community or arts sector;
- The initiative is based on consultation or close collaboration among many players and partners from different milieux and sectors, and draws on appropriate expertise;
- The initiative is developed based on openness and sustainability;
- Knowledge and results are shared with the community in relevant and appropriate ways.
Additional criterion when optimizing existing initiatives
- The additional funding will be used to scale up the initiative.
- The initiative radically improves – or even establishes a new approach that potentially transforms – public access to, experience of and engagement with the arts or literature;
- The proposed activities and the technological directions and choices are relevant, suitable and consistent with the initiative’s objectives;
- The contributing partners are well matched and pertinent.
Additional criterion when optimizing existing initiatives
- The existing initiative meets user needs, its results and impact are clearly demonstrated, and its current partners, are committed and engaged.
- The lead applicant, the applicant’s partners and the implementation team members have the experience and expertise needed to successfully carry out the initiative;
- The budget and work plan are realistic and the proposed resources and deliverables are clear, optimal and adequate;
- The governance set up to carry out the initiative is effective, with aligned and complementary partners and collaborators.
Apply on the portal
Create an account and submit one or more profile(s) for validation at least 30 days before you want to apply