Together Apart Conferences
Cross-sector exchange to build connections, capacity, and advocacy for DIY scenes in France and Ontario.
City x Space
International panels (virtual) and locally-focused workshops (IRL) engage researchers, policy makers, urban planners, and DIY communities in exchange around challenges and opportunities for local spaces.
PLUS: B2B Meetings with alternative and underground music industry (France x Ontario)
DIY to DIT (Do It Together)
Inter-collective capacity-building and exchange between DIY and underground scenes across Ontario and France. International panel topics include equitable trade routes, issues of inclusivity in queer BIPOC and migrant DIY spaces, and more. Local Toronto workshops cover the technical (music production with Ableton), practical (how to pitch sponsors, pricing a DIY show), communal (building a local resource-sharing platform), and more.
The venue of Paris co-presenter LA STATION-GARE DES MINES was born from a partnership between programmer/presenter Collectif MU and private real estate developer SNCF. Through the City of Paris' temporary artistic site activation program, SNCF issued an RFP for an interim transformation of a defunct coal storage facility, on the outskirts of Paris. MU won the bid, and in 2016, their network of artists, architects, and curators repurposed the coal storage facility into a multi-use creative and cultural hub. In 2020 MU secured an extension of the lease, and has grown to encompass a second, larger space next door (an old warehouse).
The conditions that gave rise to the establishment of La Station -- increasing venue closures, a dispersion of the regional cultural scene -- mirror compounding challenges in Toronto. With rising prices, dense residential structures, and recent economic strain, our local scenes face a dearth of accessible space.
In a well-documented series of events, Toronto has suffered a loss of DIY-focused venues and spaces over the past decade: a phenomenon that has been exacerbated to the point of crisis, post-COVID. From April - September, 2020, alone, we witnessed the shutting of 20 venues, following an accelerated litany of pre-pandemic closures. Many of these disappearing spaces functioned as safe spaces and incubation sites for community-driven scenes.
La Station's DIY collective and private developer partnership, incentivized by a municipal cultural revitalization strategy, offers one potentially instructive model. Our conference surfaces, and critically explores, other cases - with the aim of stimulating opportunities in Toronto, Paris, and elsewhere. The program includes research, cross-sector dialogue, and local interventions.