Thus far, we have gathered more than 150 pages of community input on Hatch Open and Artse United’s vision for designing a cooperative digital future for managing the arts, including issues of “digital life”, “managing creativity”, “capturing insight”, “promoting justice”, and more in the visual, performing, and disability arts. In Part 4 below, we share emerging insights on promoting justice in the arts. See Part 1 for insights on the digital life of Ontario arts workers, Part 2 for general practices and desires for managing the arts, and Part 3 for descriptions of impact practices for the arts.
When asked what they require for new digital platforms to promote justice (such as being accessible, secure, just, and fair), participants responded:
Monetization: “(shift the reality that) creation phase for artists often goes unremunerated”, “control of right to sell data (for users), and, “get rid of advertising (on the platform)”.
Literacy: “training for artists to better understand public policies, status of the artist legislation, cross-sectoral problem-solving, “knowledge, knowledge, knowledge”, “knowledge of best practices for the organization and the community”, “knowledge of what options are out there, which are good and which are not”, and, “knowledge how to differentiate private and public information, what access components are needed for each, and which can be flexible”.
Ownership and security: “should be heavily encrypted as to provide total anonymity (if needed)”, “copyright protection for intellectual property”, “clear ownership of data”, and, “artificial intelligence governance structures”.
Affordability: “beyond norms of affordability”, “digital platforms should be affordable beyond the homogeneous norms of what ‘affordable’ means”, “monetizing platforms: balance platform profit model with affordability for users”, “cost-effective or free”, “affordable data plans (promoting the arts consumes a lot of data and memory)”, and, “affordable software plans”.
Accessibility: “strive to be inclusive by any means necessary to people with (physical) accessibility issues”, “systems and technology that streamlines, clarifies, and welcomes communication rather than muddy it”, “building on what has already been established, improving versus restarting”, “communicate the value in digital arts management solutions to 70-year olds”, “information sessions to make it seem less scary and complicated”, “audio and visual learning modules”, “training for administrators on how to get the most out of digital solutions”, “training and onboarding practices”, “ongoing support to customize interface based on individual needs”, “adaptable interfaces that can accommodate varying needs, physically and mentally, while delivering the same service”, “guidelines for inclusivity to avoid accidentally alienating or disrespecting clients, partners, colleagues, artists, etc”, “collective governance strategies”, “a platform that can be shifted from high-end users (tech pros) to low-end (tech amateurs)”, “any new digital development should be based in a worldview that is flexible, malleable, and ethical, recognizing that ethical itself is a negotiated idea that changes”, and, “accessibility has almost become a devalued buzzword that really hasn’t overtaken the digital world in the same way as it has the art world – access for a long time has meant physical! If there’s a ramp, the building is accessible, but it hasn’t taken into account intellectual, social, emotional access. If you can get into the room but the room feels exclusionary, it’s not actually accessible. We need to encourage holistic, comprehensive approaches to access. The same goes with digital, you can write code for text to be large enough, but is the content welcoming? Or is the content exploitative? Do social and emotional access mean as much, or more, on a digital platform?”
Discoverability: “discoverability of original work”, “networked SEO”, “SEO for independent publishers/non-profits”, “storing for all these things is confusing, I actually like the Facebook timeline model that lets me look back at previous years. I have been able to locate a photo by going back through a friend’s timeline. That would be great on a larger scale”, “A networking option – to let specific people (or in general) know about a project I have coming up….my social media circle is large, but limited. I find it difficult to make new connections outside my artistic field”, and, “often we are evaluated strictly by what we are doing right now – projects come and go and leave little lasting impressions – if a show doesn’t get a review, did it actually happen?”.