Canadian independent media artists to address colonial impact on national arts system at Digital Shift

Emilee Geist

Independent media arts organizations and artists from across Canada are converging for Digital Shift, an online gathering hosted by the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA), with Victoria-based Flux Media Gallery and the Media Arts Alliance of the Pacific.

It’s a response to a call to action made when the IMAA held a national conference called “Listen-Witness-Transmit” in June 2018, which challenged the media arts community to address the colonial impact upon the field and to begin systemic change.

Accordingly, Digital Shift will focus on numerous issues, spanning a range from Indigenous digital sovereignty, racial justice and inclusivity, and accessibility to artists’ digital rights, digital ethics, and privacy and surveillance. 

The theme, “shift”, is described as “a positive disruption towards greater access, inclusivity, equity and diversity in the media arts community and beyond; movement towards decolonized thinking; and a shift to digital means of creation, collaboration and dissemination”.

Digital Shift, which kicks off with speaker Brianna Bear at 10 a.m. (PST) on September 17, consists of six weekly sessions held online (from 10 a.m. to noon) each Thursday until October 22.

Each session will consist of a one-hour roundtable, followed by a virtual breakout for discussion (with French and English translation and ASL interpretation).

The first session features Primary Colors/Couleurs primaries codirectors France Trépanier and Chris Creighton-Kelly presenting “A Shifting Landscape”, which will address the numerous challengesthat  the Canadian arts system faces.

Film screenings, online artists’ work, and virtual walks will spotlight artists from B.C. and the Yukon in a rotating weekly program.

All events are free, and registration is only required for the opening ceremonies and the roundtable discussions (held on Zoom).

For full details and to register, visit the Digital Shift website.

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