Cohabitation Canada

BEGIN: Cohabitation Canada” is a research project exploring modes of communication, networks and systemic issues between peoples and institutions through online platforms. Cohabitation Canada specifically explores issues of rights, public activations and infrastructure development when activating digital environments and making messages in public view. Curator, Clayton Windatt will be leading research and facilitating development broadening strategic digital thinking leading to new healthy communication strategies for the arts sector.

HISTORY: The Arts in a Digital World Summit in 2017 had significant impact on the arts ecology forcing questions regarding our shared futures and prompting arts enthusiasts to explore frameworks for digital communications strategies specifically in massage-making on behalf of major institutions and the overall arts sector of Canada. Clayton Windatt has conducted preliminary research publishing papers regarding Cultural Mediation, Harm Prevention and Freedom of Speech and various responses to increased needs within cultural pluralism arts movements regarding communication and planning strategies finding ways to include many voices. Cohabitation Canada is the continuation and formalization of these and other existing explorations transforming preliminary ideas into concrete digital strategies to be employed between many people.

Clayton Windatt has participated in the planning of several National Arts Service Organization gatherings in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts. During this time the discourses that have taken place between participants represent a lack of unified digital communications strategies and overall expectations for best practices. Many existing or newly developed communication frameworks become points of contention overriding positive messages with the framework that could be achieved. The majority of critical discourse taking place is conducted through social media and through a specific rally-point methodology which draws upon each representative’s community to support a position for or against. Rarely are rally-points in support of something unifying but instead reenforce divisive action. This is not to detract from the need of divisive actions in relation to many issues but the arts sector must establish base-lines for higher levels of consensus and unified public endorsement.

The arts sector needs more major collaborative digital communications strategies and better practices for forming consensus. We must explore collaborations that enable reflection on our digital environments resulting in messages crafted with intent that make effort to include many peoples and communities. Overcoming opposition-driven environments can be achieved through reconciling relationships and establishing representation-based collaborations showcasing cooperation in the formation of strategies. Exploring the dynamics of power and control gives insight into many perspectives in relation to consent and message-making as well as redefining digital environments through public joint actions in the arts.

RESEARCH: Clayton Windatt will be leading Cohabitation Canada arts research exploring how National Arts Service Organizations can respond more effectively to the challenges, issues and opportunities of our digital era. Too often artists and arts organizations rely on existing frameworks to guide organizational pathways resulting in replication of struggles. As a way for many members of various arts sectors to come together and form consensus in relation to communication issues in a digital realm Clayton Windatt will research issues and conduct a large series of one-on-one discussions exploring subjects such as;

  • best practices for digital message-making
  • audience targeting through critical discourse on social media
  • existing frameworks and how they refract off each other
  • reconciliation of relationships vs. opposition-driven environments
  • dynamics of power and control in relation to consent and context
  • current digital environments and discourses that prevent collaborations

New strategies relating to the challenges that come with digital knowledge need to begin with the needs of individuals and organizations leading to higher levels of strategic digital thinking strengthening abilities and sustainable concrete actions. Cohabitation Canada seeks to explore these needs and bring forward various responses to share amongst many peoples.

DISCUSSIONS: Interactions take shape as interviews and discussions that are documented to ensure process is recorded allowing for transparency and understanding. Discussions are captured in the form of audio recordings which may be transcribed or podcasted and able to be shared. There are many regions and people not engaging in the formation of a “Canadian Arts Narrative” nor critical discourses that contribute towards redefining or building our arts sector. Areas of discussion not commonly explored by arts administrators will provide information about many markets impacting beyond the arts sector.

A major area of interest for this project is the formation of messages within the arts sector and how they often come sporadically resulting in high levels of heated argument. How can critical discourse happen more frequently allowing for consensus to be reached and a unified arts sector to be presented publicly. Can critical discourse be celebrated as civic engagement becoming more predominant in the overall “Canadian” ecology? In order for professional arts environment to build digital strategies for better communications within the arts; we all must explore improving methodologies for engagement between each other leading to higher levels of cohesiveness in the environments we create.