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Fall Digital Learning Lab

Fall Digital Learning Lab: The New Normal

In spring 2020, we hosted the first digital version of our popular Learning Lab program in response to COVID-19. Pivoting to an online format made it possible for us to offer programming safely while also welcoming many artists who might not normally be able to attend our Labs in downtown Vancouver: artists from outside the Lower Mainland, working artists with busy schedules, and artists with very young children at home. As a result, we’re thrilled to be offering our fall Learning Lab online once more!

This series of free professional development workshops will be held online in the evenings to accommodate artists who may be returning to in-person work, and teachers who are back in the classroom. We’ve also condensed the program to accommodate the reality of digital fatigue. Everything in the Fall 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 and BC’s Phase 2
  • 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 Fall Digital Learning Lab. 

This is not a competitive juried process. 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 August 24, 2020. The Digital Learning Lab will take place from September 1st to the 15th. You’ll know if you’ve been accepted into the program by no later than August 28th. 

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, September 1st, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

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, September 3, 7 to 8pm

An Artist’s Introduction to the BC Curriculum with Leah Horlick

Did you know that teachers in BC are working with a curriculum that was revised in the past few years? This workshop will introduce you to the variety of opportunities for artists embedded in the provincial curriculum. We’ll also explore inquiry-based learning, the First Peoples Principles of Learning, and arts integration. The stronger the connections between your art practice and the curriculum, the more likely your projects are to receive funding from ArtStarts, so don’t miss this workshop if you’re hoping to apply for our Artists in the Classroom grant!

Saturday, September 5th, 11am to 1pm

Artist in Action: Kay Slater at ArtStarts Explores

Back by popular demand! Observe visual artist Kay Slater as they facilitate Explores, a beloved community program that encourages families and young people to develop their creativity by focusing on process over product! This is a great opportunity for you to get inspiration for sample activities and watch how we’ve adapted our hands-on, in-person programming to be delivered digitally. After observing Explores from 11 am to 12pm, we’ll log on together from 12:15 - 1:00pm to discuss Kay’s facilitation techniques and debrief some troubleshooting tips for working online. 

Tuesday, September 8th, 7 to 8pm

Ask A Teacher! Your Questions on Working in the Classroom
With Mishel Quaal and Michelle Hinatsu, educators, and guests from V'ni Dansi

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! 

Thursday, September 10th, 6 to 8pm

Accessibility and Online Programming

It shouldn't take a pandemic for organizations to prioritize accessible online programming - something that sick and disabled artists have long been advocating for. And, as digital arts programming increases, we're concerned that students with limited access to technology will be left out. Join Kay Slater and Leah Horlick for this workshop on how you can ensure that any online and digital programs you’re exploring prioritize accessibility. This is a brand new workshop offered exclusively to Learning Lab participants and artists who are part of ArtStarts’ Artists on Tour Directory and Artists in the Classroom directories - don’t miss this one! 

Saturday, September 12th, 11am to 1pm

Artist in Action: Kay Slater at ArtStarts Explores

One more chance to 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! 


BC Arts Council and the Government of British Columbia are committed to ensuring that all British Columbians are able to participate in a healthy arts and cultural community recognized for its excellence. Through this provincial financial support, the arts and cultural community will continue to achieve its creative, social and economic success.