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TOES FOR DANCE and DanceWorks present a public engagement project that explores how co-designing with dance arts audiences and stakeholders can create socially relevant programming.

Toronto, ON (October 5, 2016):  Designing for Dance is a collaborative project between TOES FOR DANCE and DanceWorks, funded by the Metcalf Foundation that explores how Design Thinking approaches can activate new possibilities for public engagement with Toronto’s professional dance community. The project will focus on ways that co-designing with primary stakeholders can benefit long term engagement, organizational planning, sustainability and social relevance.

A recent study shows that 79% of Canadians say ‘they would miss it if there were no live professional performing arts available in their community’, [1] however, audience cultivation and sustained engagement continue to be pressing concerns for many performing arts organizations. The goal of this project is to investigate the role that conversation, co-design and information exchange can play in accelerating audience participation and increasing engagement.

Co-Artistic Director of TOES FOR DANCE, Kristen Carcone states, “Through innovative research strategies we aim to better understand the needs of our community.” David Norsworthy, Co-Artistic Director TOES FOR DANCE adds, “Testing new prototypes for audience engagement, including platforms that are movement-driven and conversation-driven, will help us to create dance experiences that are inclusive, accessible and meaningful.”

Mimi Beck, Dance Curator at DanceWorks is eager to explore the opportunity in Design Thinking approaches stating, “Designing for Dance offers a compelling opportunity for learning, exchange and co-design. As DanceWorks and TOES FOR DANCE embark on this collaborative venture, I am deeply inspired to build on our core belief in the power of dance to illuminate, engage and transform all who participate.”

Members of the community are encouraged to participate as co-designers and knowledge users throughout the duration of the project. To sign up for updates and/or to become involved please send your name and email to Project Lead, Maria Luisa Contursi, To join us in the community conversation around this project use the #DesignforDance hashtag on all of your social media platforms.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is an approach that can be used to find creative and innovative solutions to complex problems. It is a tool to help explore challenges in the creative sectors like dance.

How it works ...

  • Actively involve stakeholders (audience members, artists, producers, funders etc) in the process of creating new platforms and methods of engagement
  • Re-frame problems into possibilities
  • Generate creative solutions together
  • Test and prototype to see what works
  • Respond to feedback by making changes
  • Reiterate as we go

Curious to learn more? Want to help out? Eager to contribute your ideas?
Email Project Lead, Maria Luisa Contursi, via the button below.

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