Canada Council for the Arts and GRAND renew unique artist-scientist grant program
Funded projects pair independent artists with researchers from the natural and social sciences and the health sciences in the creation of new artistic works.
Posted by GRAND NCE, August 5, 2014

UPDATE: The pilot program, Media Artist and Scientist Collaboration, between the GRAND NCE and the Canada Council for the Arts is no longer available. GRAND has had to cancel its involvement due to circumstances internal to GRAND that should not reflect on Canada Council's willingness to engage in this program. As a result, no applications are being accepted for the December 1, 2014 deadline. We regret any inconvenience this poses.

Following a successful pilot in 2013, the Canada Council for the Arts and the GRAND NCE are pleased to announce an agreement to extend their joint program to sponsor Canadian artists and scientists in collaborative media arts projects. Both organizations are contributing $240,000 per year over three years to support the initiative.

The GRAND NCE Media Artist and Scientist Collaboration supports cross-disciplinary projects that explore and develop leading-edge technologies and applications through artistic works. The joint initiative will support up to four projects in the next round of applications.

The joint program is based on a commitment shared by both organizations to build constructive exchange and partnership between the arts and sciences, and to further artistic and scientific knowledge and practices for the benefit of Canada and Canadian society.

“Inspired by an earlier program funded jointly by NSERC [Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council] and the Canada Council, the GRAND NCE felt it was important to find a way to bring Canadian independent artists into direct collaboration with academic researchers exploring digital media,” said Dr. Kellogg Booth, the Scientific Director for the GRAND NCE. “The new program has been expanded to include researchers in SSHRC [Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council] and CIHR  [Canadian Institutes of Health Research] disciplines, not just those in NSERC disciplines. This reflects the highly multidisciplinary nature of digital media.”

Since the launch of the pilot program, funding has supported four projects led by Canadian artists and their collaborating researchers at McGill University, Ryerson University, and Simon Fraser University.

Media artist David Bobier and Ryerson University professor Dr. Deborah Fels used their grant to establish the VibraFusionLab media studio in London, Ontario. “Artists in all disciplines are really looking at technology and trying to find out how to handle it effectively, but to also use it in a way that is nurturing, humanistic. And that is what I felt working with the scientists on the project,” said Bobier. “I learned a great deal about how scientists think – and they don’t think that much differently than artists, which is why this program is so important. [The program] has been critical in bringing people together to make it happen.” 

Under the renewed CCA-GRAND program agreement, up to four projects will be funded each year for the next four years beginning in early 2015. Grants cover the direct costs of research, creative development, production and presentation of artworks. CCA funds the artist; GRAND funds the scientist – a researcher from any of the Tri-Council disciplines. Each is eligible for up to $60,000 based on a review of the budget that is part of the juried selection process that is conducted jointly by CCA and GRAND.

“Through joint initiatives such as this one, the Canada Council is proud to nurture the powerful links that exist between cutting-edge scientists and Canada’s leading media artists. We have an important role to play in furthering creativity, advancing research and artistic practice to the benefit of our communities and our cultural life as a nation,” said Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts.

About the Canada Council for the Arts 

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national arts funder. Its grants and payments to artists and arts organizations benefit Canadians by ensuring a vibrant arts sector in Canada. Its awards celebrate creativity by recognizing exceptional Canadians in the arts, humanities and sciences. The Canada Council Art Bank is a national collection of over 17,000 Canadian contemporary artworks – all accessible to the public through rental, loan and outreach programs. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates within the Canada Council.


About the GRAND NCE 

The Graphics, Animation and New Media / Graphisme, animation et nouveaux médias NCE Inc. (GRAND NCE) is Canada’s largest digital media research network and knowledge mobilization engine with the goal of improving the quality of life of all Canadians and maintaining Canada’s role as a significant player in the global digital economy. Launched in 2009 through the federally funded Networks of Centres of Excellence program, GRAND addresses complex issues in digital media through receptor-driven interdisciplinary research, training, partnerships, and policies, as well as through the commercial development of emerging research technologies and innovation.



Spencer Rose