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Digital Originals

Micro innovation grants

Digital Original web banner

Digital Originals is now closed for applications. For an impact assessment of this program, please see our summary report in the research library. For related funding see the Innovation Grants.

What was the Digital Originals initiative?

Digital Originals was an initiative to help artists, arts groups, and organizations pivot their work for online sharing.

Artists, groups or organizations could either adapt their existing work or create a new work for digital dissemination to the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Originals offered a $5,000 micro innovation grant from the Canada Council.

Funded projects will be housed on a dedicated CBC/Radio-Canada website. In addition, CBC/Radio-Canada will feature selected projects for showcase on at least one of its digital CBC/Radio-Canada platforms.

Selected projects for the curated CBC-Radio/Canada showcase will receive a supplemental amount of $1000.

With the sponsorship of the RBC Foundation, as part of their ongoing activities to support youth in Canada, $150,000 in Digital Originals funding was available for new and early career artists.

Read details below about what activities applicants could apply for, who could apply, and related dissemination opportunities for applicants.

For more on where you can experience Digital Originals projects on CBC/Radio-Canada, read our latest press release.

What activities can you apply for?

You can apply for costs to develop, create, and share a new or adapted work for digital dissemination to the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic. These micro innovation grants allow you to work quickly to either adapt your existing work or create a new work for sharing online.

As projects must respect public health guidelines, we strongly encourage inventive “do-it-yourself” solutions. Eligible projects must:

  • respect all government public health restrictions put in place to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including recommendations for social distancing and limits on public gatherings
  • ensure that you and other participating artists are properly remunerated based on relevant industry standards (which may vary by field of practice)
  • ensure that you have appropriate written permission for any third-party content that was not created by you.

While work can be disseminated on any digital platform, applicants will have the option of indicating that they would like to take advantage of the Council’s partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada to amplify the dissemination of their project.

You can’t apply for activities that occur before your application submission date or those on the general list of ineligible activities.


Who can apply?

Types of potential applicants to this initiative include:

  • artists, curators, and writers

Your eligibility to apply is determined by the validated profile created in the Canada Council portal.

Artistic organizations presently receiving core grants are not eligible to apply to this initiative.

CBC/Radio-Canada and Canada Council employees are not eligible.

Dissemination opportunity

This summer, CBC/Radio-Canada will curate and feature a special selection of funded projects on one of its digital platforms and provide an online home to all selected projects on a dedicated website, where appropriate and technologically feasible. Those who are interested in being considered for this opportunity will need to indicate that they grant the Canada Council permission to share their application, if successful, with CBC/Radio-Canada and to grant a license to CBC/Radio-Canada to house the project on a dedicated website. Applicants will retain full control over their intellectual property.

Any funded project with a public URL can be featured on CBC/Radio-Canada’s Digital Originals site, whether it is hosted on a website or a social network. CBC/Radio-Canada will also curate and host a selection of projects directly on its website. These must be delivered as any combination of text, images, video and audio (detailed technical and delivery specifications to be shared in the notification of results). Interactive, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and live projects will not be eligible for inclusion for hosting by CBC/Radio-Canada but may be featured on the CBC/Radio-Canada’s Digital Originals site. All hosted projects regardless of medium must at a minimum include a short description/artist statement, an image and an artist bio.

Partner Contributions

The Canada Council for the Arts funded and administered the competition, and provided successful applicants with micro innovation grants of up to $5000 each. The Canada Council invested $5.2M in Digital Originals. 

CBC/Radio-Canada will house funded projects on a dedicated website and will also curate and feature approximately 20 selected projects on at least one of its digital platforms. These platforms may include cbc.ca, CBC Gem, tou.tv, ici.radio-canada.ca, and CBC or Radio-Canada branded YouTube.

Sponsor Contributions

As part of their ongoing activities to support youth in Canada, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Foundation has sponsored this initiative so that we can provide $150,000 in Digital Original grants to new and early career artists.

This furthers the Council’s work to reach the next wave of artists in Canada and renew our support to the arts sector. 

For more information:

Due to high volume, we will not be providing feedback on applications submitted to this initiative. 

Read our latest press release to learn more.

Next Deadline

Digital Originals was a one-time initiative. The deadline was 15 June 2020.