“How could the works of Indigenous arts and culture practitioners be more readily findable to people looking for them over the Web?” There are many potential answers to this question. Yet, each one is dependent on answering another, more fundamental, question: “Who are Indigenous arts and culture practitioners?” or, to be more precise, “how can these practitioners be accurately and respectfully identified as being Indigenous?”

A year ago, CAPACOA (Canadian Association for the Performing Arts/Association canadienne des organismes artistiques) raised these and other questions in a discussion paper on Indigenous Worldviews In the Web of Data. Today, as CAPACOA, Culture Creates, LaCogency and their partners now start to populate metadata about artists, organizations, events and works in the Artsdata.ca knowledge graph and in Wikidata, we are deeply concerned by the absence of signifiers of Indigeneity in our datasets. We don’t have much data about which Indigenous artists are performing on which stages. We don’t even have a capacity to say how many Indigenous artists hold a leadership position within arts organizations.

It’s time to take action. We are extending an invitation to all Indigenous arts and culture practitioners working in the live performance medium. We invite you to gather with us in a consultative process about the presence of Indigenous arts and culture practitioners in the Web of data. This consultation will be held in a respectful manner – with open ears, open hearts, open minds. We need to know which information about Indigenous arts and culture practitioners should be made available as linked open data, and what steps should be taken to get to this point.

This consultation will be undertaken as part of the Linked Digital Future initiative, in conjunction with the performing arts Wikidata project and in partnership with the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance. Compensation in the amount of $100 will be offered for an initial 90-minute web conference consultation and for validation of action items to be carried forward to the LDFI team. This initial consultation will be taking place in January or February 2021. We would therefore like to receive response by early December.

If you are as compelled as we are to take action, please contact Brit Johnston at brittany.johnston@capacoa.ca.


The Canadian Association for the Performing Arts/l’Association canadienne des organismes artistiques (CAPACOA) is a national arts service organization for the performing arts touring and presenting community. CAPACOA represents and serves more than 150 professional for-profit and not-for-profit presenters, festivals, presenter networks, artistic companies, agents, managers and other stakeholders working across the presenting and touring sector in Canada. Collectively, our network members represent nearly 2000 professional and volunteer organizations, associations and companies.

What is the Linked Digital Future?

The Linked Digital Future initiative seeks to enhance the discoverability of the performing arts. Our goal is to help the sector leverage the potential of new linked data technologies and to foster collaboration along the performing arts value chain.

Invitation signed by

Denise Bolduc – Curator and Wikidata advisory committee member
Brit Johnston – Indigenous Liaison Officer, CAPACOA
Frédéric Julien – Director of Research and Development, CAPACOA
Anju Singh – Artist and Wikidata advisory committee member

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