FWDThinking Episode 12: Art and data in Canada

Published On Jun 21, 2021

All opinions expressed in these episodes are personal and do not reflect the opinions of the organizations for which our guests work.


FWD50 tends to focus on technology and society—but we seldom dive into the cultural aspects of society. So when 2021 Advisory Board member (and tech supernode) Annette Hester suggested that we run a discussion on arts and data in Canada, we jumped at the opportunity! Annette found three incredible experts working at the intersection of data and art across Canada: Strategist, founder and president of Strategic Moves, Inga Petri; Arts consultant and director of Arts BC, Elliott Hearte; and Arts and Governance Consultant and President Emerita at OCAD University, Sara Diamond.

As moderator, we reached out to Nathalie Hazan, founder and president of Raison d’Art (and a longtime member of the extended FWD50 family,) to steer a conversation into how the arts world is using data and technology—and how the pandemic drove home just how vital art is not only to the fabric of society, but also to our physical and mental wellbeing.

The discussion touched on a broad range of topics, including:

  • A need to remove silos and bring sectors together to share best practices in tech policy and implementation.
  • How to use the qualitative and quantitative data sets being gathered in the arts, and how the collection of that data is failing marginalized communities.
  • The shifting landscape of the arts community as it moves to digital platforms.
  • How we use art, data and technology as tools for civic engagement.
  • The leadership of Indigenous Peoples in the digital arts landscape.
  • The case for UBI in the arts and the precarious position of artists, as highlighted by the pandemic.

To learn more about the work our guests are doing, and the projects they referenced in the conversation, please visit the links provided below, and see the attached slide deck:


Inga’s work and references:

Elliott’s references:

Sara’s references (see sources for works referenced in slides, on each slide):