Artist Community Login Donate


Connect with us

ArtStarts in Schools Logo

Spring 2021 Digital Learning Lab

Spring 2021 Learning Lab: Digital Transformations

In response to COVID-19 last year, ArtStarts moved its Learning Lab professional development opportunities online. This year, with a deeper understanding of what it means for an artist to take their work into classrooms under the constraints of today’s climate, we are excited to bring a new learning experience, which combines the success of last year’s workshops with entirely new elements.

This series of free professional development workshops will be held online at varied times - but mostly on evenings and weekends - to accommodate artists with many different types of scheduling needs. Everything in the Spring 2021 Digital Learning Lab is designed to prepare you as an artist to work with young people in the new normal, including:

  • A behind-the-scenes look at our weekend online programming for families and young people
  • Artists on ArtStarts’ Touring and Classroom directories who are modifying their programming for COVID-19 precautions
  • The opportunity to connect with creative peers facing similar challenges 

In order to keep online attendance manageable and facilitate deeper learning, we are asking artists to fill out a short application form for the Spring 2021 Digital Learning Lab.

This is not a competitive juried process but spaces are limited. We will simply ask you a few questions to make sure this program is the right fit for you and that you’ll have a satisfying online learning experience among peers. Spots in the Learning Lab will be allotted based on your ability to commit to the majority of sessions and demonstrated interest in working with young people specifically in the school system.

Some previous experience working with children and youth is considered a benefit, but is not essential. You will not be required to prepare a portfolio.

Emerging and professional artists from across the province of BC are eligible to apply. 

To apply, fill out this short form by 11:59PM March 4th, 2020. The Digital Learning Lab will take place from March 9th to the 20th. You’ll know if you’ve been accepted into the program by no later than March 6th. 

The Learning Lab will not cover the following topics:

  • How to teach fine arts techniques
  • Basic group facilitation skills
  • Early childhood & adolescent development
  • Grading, discipline, and other skills specific to the teaching profession
  • Any information not yet released by BC’s Ministry of Education or Health
  • We recommend that you have a basic comfort level with techniques in your own art practice, and some confidence with group facilitation, prior to applying for the Lab.

Completing the ArtStarts Learning Lab does not:

  • Guarantee you a position working in the school system as an artist
  • Guarantee that you will receive one of our Artists in the Classroom grants, or a residency through the AIRS program - but it helps!

Our hope is that through the completion of the Lab, you’ll be inspired to pursue work in arts education on a path that is right for you.

Workshop Dates and Information

Tuesday, March 9, 7pm to 8pm
Funding, Art, & Schools with Lily Cryan

Interested in working in the school system but not sure where to start? Join Program Coordinator Lily Cryan for a guided introduction to how ArtStarts can support you as an artist seeking to work (or already working) in schools. Lily will walk you through our funding opportunities that can support you collaborating with teachers and inspiring young learners across the province! Together we’ll explore grants for BC-based & Vancouver-based artists, including our in-house Artists in the Classroom grant and the Creative Spark Vancouver grants, which have both been revised to accommodate adjustments for COVID-19.

Thursday, March 11, 7pm to 8pm
Taking Your Work Online with Bonnie Soon

In the past year, many artists working in schools have made the dramatic shift to making their programming work online. Some artists have tackled this daunting challenge head-on and still managed to find success despite the tough transition. Bonnie Soon of Uzume Taiko, a group which offers “a unique brand of West Coast Canadian taiko drumming that offers a visual, sonic and sensual experience to their audience,” will be discussing her group’s transition to the online world, by offering their experience and handling a Q&A session with Learning Lab participants.

Saturday, March 13, 1pm to 3pm
Ask A Teacher! Your Questions on Working in the Classroom with Mishel Quaal and Melody Tompkins

Concerned about classroom management? Have questions about the day-to-day reality of life as a teacher? Worried about what the role of an artist in the school will look like amid COVID-19 precautions? Bring your curiosity to this one-hour session with guest educators from across the province. No one has all the answers, but we can be strategic and creative together! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2pm to 3pm
Taking Your Work Online with Naomi Martin

Continuing the exploration of successful digital transformations, Naomi Martin of Tribal Vision Dance, a group which offers the “multimedia school show ‘Visions of Turtle Island’ and includes live singing and dancing in Powwow & Haudenosaunee styles,” will be discussing her group’s transition to the online world, by offering their experience and handling a Q&A session with Learning Lab participants.

Thursday, March 18, 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Captions and Transcriptions: Non-Auditory Access

As the world evolves through digital transformation, it is imperative that we examine how to make our art as accessible as possible to as many people as possible in the internet space. This workshop is designed to help artists, creators, and teaching artists take a tangible first step towards building access into their practices, planning, exhibitions, and workshops by learning and committing to captioning and creating transcriptions for future and archived works. Join Kay Slater for this workshop presented in partnership with grunt Gallery on learning more about the captioning and transcription process and why it is a meaningful tool that elevates and extends your reach further than you might think. This workshop will be open to the public as well. If you are interested in participating just in the accessibility workshop, please register at this link.

Saturday, March 20, 11am to 1pm
Artist in Action: Kay Slater at ArtStarts Explores

Observe visual artist Kay Slater as they facilitate Explores! ArtStarts Explores is a beloved community program that encourages families and young people to develop their creativity by focusing on process over product. There are only three rules at Explores, and the first rule is that there are no expectations! Don’t miss the opportunity to connect after the workshop ends at noon; we’ll convene for discussion from 12:15 until 1pm!