#ASCmap Data Project Blog Series Post #1: SFU’s ASC! and BIG DATA Collaborate to Map BC’s Community-Engaged Participatory Arts Organizations

October 24, 2018 by Srijani Datta ASC!, News, Resource /

#ASCmap Data Project Blog Series | Post #1
SFU’s ASC! and BIG DATA Collaborate to Map BC’s Community-Engaged Participatory Arts Organizations

Over the last few months, our team @ICASC/ASC! has been collaborating with SFU’s BIG DATA initiative on an exciting project to collect, analyse, and visualise data on community-engaged participatory art for social change (ASC) organizations in BC. Our main goal is to map and represent data on BC community-engaged ASC organizations (not-for-profits, societies, charities) active within the last 5 years.

We thought that it would be interesting and informative to share our stories, insights, processes, and methodologies with you online as we journey through the last months of completing the project. This is the first installment of a continuing blog series we are calling the “#ASCMap Data Project”.  We plan to post several articles, so tune into our social media accounts and our site for these updates and look for the hashtag #ASCmap:


#ASCmap Data Project Blog Series Links: Post #1 | Post #2 | Post #3 | Post #4

A definition of community-engaged ASC:

Community-engaged ASC involves the creation of art collectively made by groups of people (who may not self-identify as artists) about what matters to them. This process is facilitated by a specially trained artist or group of artists. >>> For a more detailed definition of community-engaged art for social change

Community-engaged ASC work extends beyond simply offering arts workshops and programming. It encompasses a wider scope of community artmaking as dialogic, learning and exchange processes, where people are collaboratively making art to explore issues that are important to them.

Given that we had a limited scope in time and resources, this project is not as comprehensive as it could be. This is a pilot project that will, hopefully, provide a foundation for further in-depth research on the ASC sector in BC and across Canada. Therefore, it must be stated that the organizations in this mapping project are, by no means, all of the arts organizations operating in BC. More specifically, we have tried to encompass most of the organizations (we do not have them all) involved in community-engaged artmaking according to the above definition.

How is this map different from others available today?

There are already maps of the arts sector in Canada. Some of our favourites are by ArtBridges, The First Peoples Arts Council, Arts and Health in BC, and Canada’s Map of Arts and Learning.

The BC ASC mapping project is similar to those in existence in that it functions as a directory and networking tool, however our visualized data goes beyond that. The BC ASC map not only comes with profiles of BC’s community-engaged, participatory arts organizations, it also provides the demographics they serve, the kind of programming and services they provide, and the funding organizations working with them. Users of the map can sort through all of this information via a diverse array of filters and categories (to be explained in future posts). This will allow users to ask and address specific questions about services and funding in this sector in BC, make cross-comparisons between different organizations, locations, communities served, and more.

Why do you/we need this map?

Using this map format, we can reveal and explore data to gain insights into different aspects of BC’s community-engaged, participatory arts, such as:

Where is community-engaged participatory ASC taking place in BC?
By who? For who?
What arts disciplines are they using?
What are the kinds of programming offered?
What areas of social change?
Who are their funders? What are they funding?

We believe that what this data reveals can be useful to community-engaged organizations (arts and non-arts), government officials, scholars, artists, ASC practitioners, funders, policy makers, and advocates.
We are so grateful to be collaborating on this project with a small team from SFU’s BIG DATA initiative, whose special data expertise and support have brought this data to life in a useful, visual and meaningful way.

#ASCmap Data Project Blog Series Links: Post #1 | Post #2 | Post #3 | Post #4



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