Codes of Contact began as a proposed program platform in 2019 for arts and cultural organizations. Bringing together a collaborative network of arts administrators who would work together, learn from each other, and support each other as they explored the impact of digital technologies on the presentation of artistic and cultural productions.

With the arrival of COVID-19 in early 2020, Codes of Contact moved its entire program online and reoriented its core mandate of digital justice and accessibility through creative presentation — addressing immediate and emerging challenges and concerns that organizations now faced in an ongoing pandemic where digital programming became an urgent and necessary consideration for arts and cultural organizations everywhere.

Co-led by the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and the Digital Justice Lab over two and half years, Codes of Contact predominantly featured formal workshops with experts and practitioners in their respective arenas to present methodologies, share strategies, and answer specific questions around long-term plans for implementation. There were also informal meetings around adjacent topics and partnership events that created spaces for more formal engagements with a public audience. Participating organizations were each given $10,000 to pilot a new initiative or financially support a pre-existing exploration of digital presentations, through justice and accessibility commitments.

As arts and cultural organizations deploy technologies and digital strategies, it is imperative to make those experiences accessible, inclusive, and engaging. Digital technologies shape and shift how people access artistic production and present opportunities for organizations to access new audiences, create diverse engagement models, and make their organizations more accessible and inclusive. However, technology itself is not a guaranteed solution, and implementations have to be made with holistic and equitable principles. 

Codes of Contact is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund—Transformation of Organizational Models: Multi-phase initiative.