Author Archive

Property Management/Budgeting (IMAA)

This section includes resources for maintaining and managing a real estate operation, including a summary of expenses within a condominium, a sample renovation quote, and a simple 5-year operating budget template.

Finance and Capital Planning (IMAA)

The section includes guides on financing and capital planning, budget templates, bank loan templates, sample construction quotes, and more. It also provides information on the Community Bond as a financing mechanism, as well as information on Community Infrastructure, according to the City of Vancouver, Province of BC, and the City of Toronto.

Project Planning & Process Guides (IMAA)

This first section of the toolkit contains documents that are helpful for the first steps in planning a real estate project, including long-term project outlines, sample feasibility assessments, and examples from La Meduse Arts Centre, PAVED Arts/AKA, and TMAC.

SEO

Discoverability for Creative Content

Intro: Content Everywhere

Artists and art organizations need to connect with audiences. Today, the easiest methods are creating content for computer, tablet and phone, or sharing content on social media. With the growth of device types and internet speed there are many more places content can reach. Audiences would like to connect to content when they want it, how they want it and where they want it. As a result, artist digital content needs to be formatted to reach all these places.

The increase in types of devices such as smart watches and speakers, digital content aggregators and better technology for voice and accessibility means that content can be accessed through expanding means. The development of 5G worldwide will mean that even more data can move faster across available pipelines. On the flip side, there are still places in Canada with little or no internet connection, especially rural areas. Some Canadians access the internet at the library.

In this resource, you’ll learn how to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and other best practices to ensure your digital content reaches as many people as possible – including Disabled Canadians. The good news is, the best practice to address both situations is the same: keep content in the simplest form so all can access it. At the end we’ll share some thoughts on what the future will bring and some alternatives to internet giants.

    1. SEO

  • a. What is Search Engine Optimization and Why Does it Matter?

  • For artists and arts organizations, getting your name and your work out into the world is important, and having a website is one of the key ways to do just that. But what’s the use of a website if nobody sees it?

    Photo of Three people on a cafe patio search for content on a laptop computer.
    Photo of Three people on a cafe patio search for content on a laptop computer. Photo by Helena Lopes.

    That’s where Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, comes in.

    SEO is a set of techniques to help make a website rank higher in search engine results pages (which are referred to as SERPs).

    Why does this matter? Well, most people don’t actually go past the first couple of pages of search results. That means that if you want people to find your website more easily through search, you’ll want to make sure it ranks on those first few pages.

    Fortunately, there are things you can do to help make this happen.

    Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term strategy. Once you’ve started implementing these techniques, don’t expect for traffic to flow to your site overnight. It takes time and patience to see the benefits, and optimizing your website is something that you should keep up with as long as your site is up, especially since search engine algorithms are always changing.

     

    How Search Engines Index Your Content

    Search engines use software known as web crawlers to gather information across the internet from publicly available web pages.

    Google describes the process like this:

    The crawling process begins with a list of web addresses from past crawls and sitemaps provided by website owners. As our crawlers visit these websites, they use links on those sites to discover other pages. The software pays special attention to new sites, changes to existing sites and dead links.

    Search engines then take all the information on these pages and organize it in a search index. Crawlers are constantly gathering information, so whenever you add a new page or update a page on your site, search engine crawlers will eventually find it and add it to their index, although there are certain things you can do to speed up the process, like submitting XML sitemaps.

    Based on the information on these pages, as well as several other factors, search engines use algorithms to determine what results to return to a user in response to their query — and how they rank.

     

    Authority and Relevance

    When ranking web pages, search engines take into account relevance and authority. When it returns results to a user, it’s looking for pages that are authoritative and are relevant to their search query.

    Relevance: Is the content of your page relevant to the user’s search query?

    Authority: Does your website have influence? There are many factors involved in determining whether your site is authoritative, including age, popularity and size.

  • b. Keyword Research and Planning

  • c. On-Page SEO

  • d. Off-Page SEO

  • e. Social Media

  • f. Optimizing Images

  • g. Optimizing Videos

  • h. Measuring Results

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    2. Audiences with Disabilities

  • a. Access is a Human Right

  • b. Inclusion of the Disabled Community

  • c. Understanding Disabled User Needs

  • d. Content Formats

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    3. The Future

    New technology is changing the way audiences consume information, but also increasing the ways in which artists and art organizations can deliver it.

  • a. Internet of Things (IoT)

  • b. Voice

  • c. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • d. Exponential Growth of Media

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    4. Alternatives to Internet Giants

  • Artists and art organizations are now very dependent on the top search engine in the world Google, along with artificial intelligence, and that raises some issues.

    Google was found to have acquired the personal health records of 50 million Americans without their consent. “The forces taking the web in the wrong direction have always been very strong,” www founder Tim Berners-Lee said. Whether you’re a company or a government, controlling the web is a way to make huge profits, or a way of ensuring you remain in power. In Toronto the Google Sidewalk project was cancelled due to citizen’s concerns about data ownership.

    Citizens are arguably the most important part of this, because it’s only citizens who are motivated to hold government and business to account. Many people and organizations are concerned about the hold of internet giants. Here’s some examples of what they are doing to create alternatives:

    1. Toronto based tech company Vubble and Seneca College have launched an innovative AI Video Categorization Project. They advocate for human driven keyword tagging to offset the AI data stereotypes that are dogging our internet world
    2. Sir Tim Berners Lee has created a World Wide Web Foundation and is calling for a free web where profits don’t decide what happens and where individuals can store their data in one place and control it.
    3. There are many apps and other initiatives underway to preserve languages. AI systems give preference to the most commonly spoken languages in the world. Languages that are not captured by Google are at a disadvantage in search. For example Google only translates two Indigenous languages in the Americas. You can help by contributing to initiatives such as Opie Robots.
    4. DuckDuckGo was founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg, who wanted to create a new search engine, with better results and less spam. The search engine, which registers around 50 million searches per day, uses hundreds of sources for its results, including Russia’s Yandex. The company says it has a simple privacy policy of not storing or sharing personal information.
    5. Blockchain and edge computing may be two future alternatives. EU research tells us that these two technologies may be able to come together to provide a means for individuals to store their data and control it within the data lake that is likely in the future. Will this also apply to art and art organization material?
    6. Facebook alternative MeWe, a social networking app that claimed to fiercely protect user privacy. However has come under fire for attracting far right proponents.
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    5. Research Team

     

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    This resource was researched and written by Sage Lovell, Althea Manasan and Barb Taylor. Project team includes Editor Ananda Korchynski, UX designer Althea Balmes, Project Leads Madi Piller of PIX FILM Collective and Barb Taylor of Coyle Films. Special thanks to Alexandra Gelis. Funded by Canada Arts Council Digital Program, this project was initiated by Barb Taylor to share new trends in SEO with artists. Participating organizations include Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, PIX FILM Collective and BC Alliance for the Arts. Thanks to our gracious web home IMAA! Special thanks to workshop ASL interpreters Amanda Hyde, Carmelle Cachero and Thurga Kanagasekarampillai.

    Logos

    Logo of Coyle Films

    Logo PIX FILM Collective

    Logo of Liaison of Independent Film and Television

    Logo of BC Alliance Arts and Culture

    Logo of of Deaf Spectrum

    Logo of IMAA

    Logo of Canada Councile for the Arts

  • Retirement Savings Plans: What are the Options? (ARCA / IMAA)

    Following an analysis of Retirement Savings/Pension Plans in Canada as part of IMAA’s Assessing Sector Needs & Researching New Potential Services study, the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA) and the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) are recommending the following retirements savings options plans for individuals and organizations in the independent arts sector.

    Think Before You Appropriate: A guide for creators and designers

    People and cultures have always exchanged and borrowed ideas from each other to create new forms of art and symbolic expression. Whether intentionally or not, most if not all human creations reflect varied sources of inspiration. Why, then, are some products negatively labelled “cultural appropriation” or their creators accused of disrespecting the very cultures they found inspiring? And why do products inspired from Indigenous cultural heritage seem to spark particularly strong reactions and pushback? This guide, developed by The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH), unpacks these important questions. It provides advice to designers and marketers on why and how to avoid misappropriation, and underlines the mutual benefits of responsible collaborations with Indigenous artists and communities.

    Interactive Territory, Treaty and Language Map (Native Land)

    This resource, developed by Native Land, was created in order to offer a view of the territories, treaties and languages of Indigenous people across Canada. There are over 630 different First Nations in Canada, though this map does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. The resource is interactive — you can toggle filters on and off and read more detailed information about specific nations through links to related sites. The website also features a section on territorial acknowledgements, which includes a brief introduction to acknowledging the land and suggestions of how to engage meaningfully with this practice.

    Understanding Aboriginal Arts in Canada Today: A Review of Knowledge and Literature (Canada Council for the Arts)

    This knowledge and literature review examines a broad range of material on Aboriginal arts in Canada. Recognizing the importance of oral traditions in Aboriginal knowledge transfer, it also includes information gathered through one-on-one interviews with six senior Aboriginal artists. The study is a component of the Aboriginal Arts Research Initiative (AARI), which aims to better understand the specificities of Aboriginal art practices, explore the impact of the arts within Aboriginal communities, investigate the impact of Aboriginal arts in Canada and internationally, and generate interest in research related to Aboriginal arts among other partners, both at national and provincial levels.