About State of Emergence 

State of Emergence is an iterative research-action project led by Art of Festivals aiming to unlock the arts sector’s capabilities for learning and sharing. This first phase, funded by Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund and hosted by Mass Culture, unfolded from June 2020 to December 2021 across five development stages—an emergence pattern—that were first identified through reflective storytelling in a previous Digital Strategy experiment, International Creative Producers’ Learning Collective (September 2020-March 2021), then transposed to another metaphorical realm—from nautical to botanical—in the course of this project.  

When we start, run and end a project; when we learn something new; when we collaborate with others; when we experience personal and professional growth: we are changing ourselves and changing our world

What emerges when we take the time to tell stories, build trust, share concerns, give praise, rejoice together?  

How micro can we go to better understand the systems that influence us and that we influence? 

About this website

This website is an invitation to enter into dialogue by naming the world. 

You can use it on your own or with a group to practise systems-thinking; reflect on how collaborations start, thrive and end; discuss team roles; facilitate meeting check-ins and check-outs; and any other way that inspires you. 

The icons represent a cycle of growth—an emergence pattern—that works at different scales and can be given many names. 

We invite you to consider the semiotic friction between images, words and questions to reflect on your practice, emotions and motivations. 

What speaks to you? 

By sharing your answers via the optional form provided on each page, you consent to having them published on this website and/or used for research & dissemination purposes. Answers are anonymous and may be edited before publishing. 


State of Emergence unfolded across the five stages—or emergence pattern—that are now transposed as icons and questions on this website.  

In the curiosity (seed / starting) phase, Bridget and Fanny, the two Creative Producers steering the project, initiated conversations about dialogue, equity and trust with the Dialogue Partners who had been approached during grant writing. 

From these exchanges, we developed a few directions to explore (water / learning), imagining how to combine the people and ideas from the first phase and considering factors such as available budget, ethics of compensation, access to knowledge and network-building intentions. 

We then embarked on a navigation (sprout / collaborating) phase, experimenting with formats, invitations & collaborations and navigating success and failure, by contributing as hosts, guests or both to 8 group meetings organised with 5 international partners and gathering over 500 participants. 

Transformation (blossom / critical reflection) is this website: a tricky exercise in choosing what to let go of, what to keep and how to share it. 

The next chapter is yours to write, dear reader! What is emergence (harvest / celebrating) for you? How do we propagate this work? 


Creative Producers
Art of Festivals >> Fanny Martin, Creative Director & Bridget MacIntosh, Creative Associate

Process Advisor & Facilitator
Michele Decottignies @ Stage Left Productions

Research Host

Mass Culture >> Kathryn Geertsema & Robin Sokoloski

Website + Design

Pete Martin @ Glow Digital 

Agne Alesuite @ The Noun Project

Dialogue Partners // Phase 1 
Zainub Verjee

Diversité Artistique Montréal (DAM)
>> Jérôme Pruneau, Evanne Souchette, Amélie Tintin

Dialogue Partners // Phase 2 
>> Dani De Angelis, Melanie Fernandez, Christine Jackson, Patty Jarvis
Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO)
>> Victoria Glizer, Kevin Ormsby, charles c. smith

Research Participants

Thank you also to all of you who came to the Drawing the Line session hosted by The Hub UK for their digital celebration of World Mental Health Day, Made for Each Other (November 2021) and to the Transplanting Practice session hosted by Creative People & Places for their People Place Power conference (December 2021).  

Produced by Art of Festivals January 2022