About The Conference

The Northern Conference for the Arts hits toronto

May 29-31, 2018


How Dream Big North came to be

In 2015, “DREAM BIG NORTH” – the Northern Conference for the Arts emerged as a partnership between several cultural spaces within Northern Ontario. The result was a multi-day gathering of arts leaders exploring issues of regional relevance, arts ecology, funding impacts and the collective futures for Northern Ontario and the greater arts community of Canada. This large-scale event engaged more than150 people including artists, government and culture-sector workers, arts administrators and art enthusiasts. This event held workshops, panel discussions, keynote speakers, performances, and gatherings. 

DREAMING BIG: “Dream Big” promoted enthusiasm for the possibilities of the arts within the funding climate of that time. The subtext of “Dream Big” was both a statement of our times and a proactive call to never give up on our future. At that time, our response to the ever-changing conditions in which art is conceived, produced, and engaged, was:

Don’t be discouraged.

Don’t give up.

Don’t be ashamed to DREAM BIG.

ACTION: With the current success of the arts on a federal level within Canada and the shifting climate of the arts within the province of Ontario, new relationships can be explored leading towards new dreams of a better tomorrow within the arts. The Dream Big North – “Theatre Summit” (The Summit) proposed for December 4th – 6th, 2017 is the first of a series of micro-events continuing the conversation of regional relevance in relation to larger issues. The Summit will bring several rural performing arts groups from Northeastern Ontario to engage in a 2-day summit with invited representatives of the Toronto theatre scene. This engagement is a strategy to open doors between professional rural theatre groups and those programming in Ontario’s theatre hub – Toronto. Conversations will deal with inter-regional strategies for collaboration, provincial constraints, and what collective futures can we explore together?