TAC-FCAD Digital Solutions Incubator

Toronto Arts Council’s TAC-FCAD Digital Solutions Incubator program provides funding to arts organizations and collectives to address organizational challenges using digital technology.


Application Deadline: April 16, 2018


PURPOSE

The TAC-FCAD Digital Solutions Incubator aims to:

  • Address organizational challenges within the arts sector using digital-enabled approaches.
  • Facilitate creative, collaborative and unexpected solutions with the potential to benefit the arts sector as a whole.
  • Provide arts organizations and collectives access to design and technological expertise.
  • Enhance organizational capacity in the arts sector around digital technology

This pilot program was created through a partnership between TAC and Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communications and Design (FCAD) to encourage arts organizations to consider the creative possibilities unlocked by the use of technology. The partnership provides arts organizations with access to design and technological expertise to explore digital solutions to the challenges they face, as well as practical, hands-on projects for the participants of the Ryerson Creative Impact Supercourses, educational experiences that challenge students from different programs to work with external partners to conceive and develop digital ideas into functional prototypes.

For the purposes of this grant, “digital” refers to any user-centered design process involving significant use of mobile, web, augmented/virtual reality or computer-based technology.

 

PROGRAM STRUCTURE & REQUIREMENTS

The TAC-FCAD DSI funds an 8-month experience between September and April. The program is divided into two stages, corresponding with academic semesters.

First Stage: From September to December, successful applicant organizations will work 10-15 hours a month, meeting weekly with a team of Ryerson Creative Impact Supercourse 1 students to address their identified problem, with the aim of creating a prototype of the proposed solution. The prototype will be shared with the wider community during a “demo day” at FCAD which the whole team will attend.

Second Stage: From January to April, successful applicant organizations will continue on in one of two ways:

1) Creative Impact Supercourse 2: Teams selected to continue with Supercourse 2 will have a chance to further develop their prototype with FCAD students.

2) Self-directed: Teams may be asked to continue development of their prototype with a partner of their choosing or on their own, independent of Ryerson FCAD.

All successful applicants are required to attend a program evaluation meeting to be scheduled in 2019. Please see Appendix A for a description of the Creative Impact Supercourses, past projects and terms of intellectual property.
 

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY

All applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • be located in the City of Toronto;
  • be an incorporated non-profit arts organization or a non-profit arts collective (individuals are not eligible for this program).  A collective is defined as two or more artists working together under a group name, either on a single project (ad hoc) or on an ongoing basis. For collectives of two artists, both must be City of Toronto residents. For collectives of more than two artists, the majority of members must be City of Toronto residents.
  • Organizations and collectives must be located in the City of Toronto. A Post Office Box address cannot be used to meet this requirement.
  • have a strong track record of arts activity

Applicants may receive a grant through the TAC-FCAD Digital Solutions Incubator only once every two years. 

TAC recognizes that due to systemic barriers within the broader arts community (e.g. limited mainstream presentation opportunities for artists from equity-seeking communities) that some flexibility may be required in interpreting eligibility criteria to take into account equivalent professional experience and contexts. Potential applicants from equity-seeking communities are encouraged to discuss their eligibility with the program manager in advance of submitting an application.

TAC has two distinct funding envelopes: 1) Arts Discipline funding (e.g. discipline-specific project grants and operating grants) and 2) Strategic funding (e.g. Animating Historic Sites, Animating Toronto Parks, Artists in the Library, etc.). Applicants are eligible to receive only one grant from each funding envelope per calendar year. Applications to the TAC-FCAD Digital Solutions Incubator program fall within the Strategic funding envelope. Applicants are not eligible if they have an outstanding final report in any other program within the Strategic funding envelope (e.g. Animating Historic Sites, Animating Toronto Parks, Artists in the Library, etc.).
 

PROPOSAL ELIGIBILITY

Successful proposals will articulate a challenge or pose a question pertaining to a broad, current organizational challenge. The identified challenge may pertain to any aspect of your operations including programming, administration, outreach, marketing, etc. Applications must acknowledge the relevance of their identified challenge to other members of their community, other arts organizations or the arts sector as a whole. Organizational leadership (if different than project leads) must be actively involved in the project, attending and participating when appropriate.

The goal is to address a significant organizational challenge through digital technologies and creative design skills, in whatever form is appropriate. We are seeking to foster innovative ideas for the creation of new capacity within Toronto arts organizations and collectives. The goal of this program is not to develop company websites, digital content or build digital communications plans for the applicant organizations.

The following activity is not eligible for funding through this program:

  • activities included in TAC operating grants
  • activities included in TAC project grants
  • capital projects or expenses
  • renovations or repairs
  • research or feasibility studies
  • projects previously funded through another TAC project grant


Projects involving Deaf artists and artists with disabilities may apply for an additional TAC grant by completing the Accessibility Expenses section of the Stage Two application. A TAC Accessibility grant will provide up to a maximum of $5,000 towards accessibility costs incurred during the project for artists involved with the project. Accessibility costs include but are not limited to: ASL interpretation, audio description, closed captioning, communications assistants, and attendant care.