Slow Touring Pilot Project

Slow Touring Pilot Project

The Slow Touring Project takes inspiration from the wider Slow Movement (such as Slow Food and Slow Tourism) and aims to transform the touring sector, seeking to increase the engagement between visiting artists and the local community, increase artists’ and presenters’ capacity to take creative risks, improve artists’ wellbeing and financial stability, and reduce the climate impact of touring. 

For the current phase of this project, thanks to support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Presents is partnering with Réseau SPARC Network, Debajehmujig Theatre Group, and Folk Music Ontario to provide professional development and support for pilot projects, with the goal of establishing norms and good practices around Slow Touring. This 18-month phase is a part of our larger Slow Touring project which includes the completed research phase, an open workshop series set to run concurrently with this pilot phase, and a future round of pilot projects with participants tbd. 

Members of this cohort will meet regularly as a group to learn and share ideas about slow touring, receive funding to carry out pilot initiatives throughout 2024, and report back on how they went. We are seeking participants who are already planning to engage in professional presenting OR artistic touring activities in 2024. This project will support you in “slowing” some of these activities, with initiatives that address at least one of the following key areas:

1. Equity (including for Indigenous, people of colour, women, deaf and disabled, queer, trans and non-binary, elder, emerging, and caregiver artists and artworkers)

2. Ensuring meaningful connections between artists and the communities they visit

3. Addressing the power imbalance between artists and presenters

4. Climate justice and sustainability

5. Mental and physical wellness of artists and artsworkers

Updates from Slow Touring:

Slow Touring Session at Ontario Presents Spring Retreat 2024

At this year’s OP Spring Retreat in Huntsville, we held a professional development session on Slow Touring with Ceilidh Wood. This session was an opportunity to share about our ongoing Slow Touring project and get our community thinking about different approaches to touring that are healthier, kinder and more sustainable. The discussions we had highlighted the importance of collaborative, reciprocal relationships between artists and presenters, and that taking the time to have meaningful communication before, during and after an engagement is a key way that we can improve the touring and presenting experience for everyone.

You can read more about the session, some of the ideas generated and next steps on our blog now!

The Slow Touring Gathering

Presenters, artists, and staff members from various backgrounds convened in Buckhorn, Ontario for the Slow Touring Gathering (Feb 7-9), collectively delving into the meaning of slow touring. Since the original call for the project, Ontario Presents has identified 8 presenters and 6 artists. The goal for this gathering was to build meaningful connections, establish a shared understanding of Slow Touring, and brainstorm ideas for personal and collective projects.

Our discussion revolved around the plan for the program in the upcoming year. What knowledge is necessary for implementing Slow Touring? How do we determine success for these projects? Moving forward, as a group, this cohort will come together regularly to learn and discuss slow touring, share ideas and experiences, and offer feedback on their progress. To align with Slow Touring, they will evaluate necessary measures, such as inviting guest speakers for professional development, regular check-ins with Ontario Presents and colleagues, etc.

The goal of this project is to help “slow down” specific activities by prioritizing initiatives that address one or more of these key areas:

1. Ensuring equity and representation for a wide range of artists and art workers, such as Indigenous, people of colour, women, deaf and disabled, queer, trans and non-binary, elder, emerging, and caregiver individuals.

2. Promoting meaningful interactions between artists and the communities they engage with.

3. Addressing the unequal power dynamic between artists and presenters.

4. The intersection of climate justice and sustainability.

5. The well-being of artists and arts workers, both mentally and physically.

Click here to read the Slow Touring Research Document