Colourful birds flocking together with text "FLEX: Collaboration, Festival Learning Exchange Program" and WIC logo


As arts and heritage festivals move beyond crisis management and enforced isolation, cancellations, and closures, strategic collaborations will be crucial in their ability to adapt, recover, and prosper post-pandemic.

WorkInCulture, working closely with a topic specialist and regional delivery partners, has developed and piloted a FREE virtual training intensive focused on providing the skills and knowledge required to form and implement effective collaborations among arts and heritage festivals, located in Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, and Sudbury.

The project objective is to provide non-profit arts and heritage festivals with the tools, expertise and processes to create and implement an effective collaboration strategy.

Watch our program report video to learn more about how and what we accomplished in the 2021–2023 FLEX program.


Welcome to the FLEX Coffee Break Series – a series of short insights from past participants of WorkInCulture's FLEX Program on the overarching topic of collaboration. Learn from 4 festival leaders located in Kingston, Sudbury, and Toronto about how they approach collaborating with Peers, Artists, and Society. Grab your coffee and let's take a break together!

  1. A conversation with Liam Karry of Kick & Push Festival in Kingston on how to collaborate more effectively with peers.​
  1. Une conversation avec Patrick Breton du Centre franco-ontarien de folklore de Sudbury, sur comment mieux collaborer avec ses pairs.
  1. A conversation with Katya Kuznetsova of Dance Together Project/Festival in Toronto on how to collaborate with society and create stronger relationships with a partner base outside of the arts.
  1. A conversation with Tricia Knowles of Calliope Collective in Kingston on how to collaborate with and create more sustainable opportunities for artists and creators.


Learn about how to create and implement a collaboration for your festival or organization in these FLEX: Collaboration toolkits. Each toolkit offers learning content and resources from the FLEX Program that will help guide you through the basics of how to collaborate with Peers, Artists, and Society.

Toolkit: Collaboration with Peers
This toolkit shares concepts, techniques and resources to help you and your collaborators explore what you need to start, maintain and end fruitful professional relationships as peers. Read the toolkit.

Toolkit: Collaboration with Artists
This toolkit explores the opportunities of collaborating with artists. Beyond tour-based presentation models, how can festivals engage in transformative, mutually beneficial relationships with artists, and how can this lead to better community engagement, internal collaboration and dialogue with programming peers? Read the toolkit.

Toolkit: Collaboration with Society
This toolkit covers the theories and strategies of participation, transition and experimentation that can inspire new collaborations, both within and outside of the arts and culture sector. Read the toolkit.


The FLEX Spotlight series is a 3-part series of videos and summary documents focused on how Canadian arts and heritage festivals can build and implement stronger collaboration strategies through international and local examples. Spotlight sessions were open to FLEX program participants, their colleagues, and the general public.

FLEX Spotlight Session: Collaborating with Peers
Delivered February 2, 2022

Learn how to collaborate with arts and heritage festivals, make space for conflict amongst peers, and grow, maintain and end professional relationships. Learn from inspiring examples of peer-based collaborative frameworks from Canada, Spain, France, and Belgium. Featuring: Clayton Windatt, curator, multi-arts performer and filmmaker; Benoit Geers from NEXT Festival; and Mike Ribalta from FiraTàrrega.

FLEX Spotlight Session: Collaborating with Artists
Delivered March 16, 2022

A festival is like an iceberg: the collective experience is the tip, the rest is all the underground work going on year-round to make it happen. In this second Spotlight, with guests from Manchester Jazz Festival (UK), Queens' Council on the Arts (USA), and Owais Lightwala (Canada), we look under the surface to consider year-round collaborations with artists: from outreach & participation projects to talent development programs, co-productions, commissions, interdisciplinary experimentations, and intersectoral explorations.

FLEX Spotlight Session: Collaborating with Society
Delivered April 13, 2022

Can festivals transform the world? Can they lead social change by experimenting with equitable structures, environmental responsibilities, power redistribution? Can they inspire new collaborations with society, beyond the arts & culture sector? This third Spotlight features EVVI (France), 64 Million Artists (UK), and Kevin Matthew Wong (Canada).

Patrick Breton from Centre franco-ontarien de folklore
Kimberly Dolan from Blue Canoe Theatrical Productions Inc.
Liam Karry from Kingston Theatre Alliance (Kick & Push Festival)
Tricia Knowles from Calliope Collective
Katya Kuznetsova from Dance Together Festival
Kristen Leboeuf from Kingston Theatre Alliance
Mark Mannisto from Sudbury Performance Group
Pierre Paul Mongeon from Concerts La nuiit sur l'étang (Les)
Lisa O’Connell from Pat the Dog Theatre Creation
Krishna Patel from Northern Lights Festival Boreal
Brandon Patry from Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival
Colleen Renihan & Dean Burry​ from The Watershed Festival - Reimagining Music Theatre
Suzanne Wilkie & Isabela Solis-Lozano from Toronto Fringe Festival

Ontario Culture Days – Advisory Committee
City of Toronto Economic Development and Culture Division – Advisory Committee
Economic Development, Tourism and Culture - City of Greater Sudbury​ – Advisory Committee and Delivery Partner
Ottawa Festival Network – Advisory Committee and Delivery Partner
Kingston Arts Council – Advisory Committee and Delivery Partner

Curriculum Consultant and Facilitator: Fanny Martin

Profile photo of Fanny with bangs and long hair and greenery in the backgroundFanny is an international creative producer & facilitator specialised in festivals, networks, interdisciplinary projects and art in public space. Born and educated in France, she developed an eclectic freelance project portfolio in the UK before moving to Canada and founding Art of Festivals, a creative company that designs transformative events to spark change and enchant everyday life. In collaboration with artists, educators, researchers, technologists and activists, her work focuses on producing memorable shared experiences, shaping change strategies, experimenting with participatory frameworks and designing learning & evaluation programmes.


If you have any questions about the project please contact: 
Stephanie Draker, Program Manager at

To keep updated on the project progress and related training activities, please sign up to receive more information. 

Funded by the Government of Canada.