TourNet is here!

MANO is excit­ed to see the MAP-TN project, now called Tour­Net: A Media Arts Tour­ing Resource, take shape! The Tour­Net devel­op­ment team has brought the ini­tial vision of the plat­form to life while adapt­ing it to the real­i­ty of COVID-19 and its lin­ger­ing impact on the media arts sec­tor. Tour­ing and pre­sent­ing are now very dif­fer­ent things than they were at the time this project was first pro­posed, and it’s grat­i­fy­ing to be able to help media arts orga­ni­za­tions reimag­ine these activ­i­ties in ways that will be viable in a still uncer­tain future.



For read­ers who are new to the project, Tour­Net is a bilin­gual tour-build­ing app that will facil­i­tate the pre­sen­ta­tion of media arts pro­grams at venues across Ontario and beyond. It does this by con­nect­ing orga­ni­za­tions and col­lec­tives to the venues, equip­ment and resources that they need to present their work, and by includ­ing acces­si­bil­i­ty and com­mu­ni­ty-focused infor­ma­tion in the data infra­struc­ture we are build­ing. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, our work is only seen once, in a sin­gle com­mu­ni­ty. TourNet’s user-gen­er­at­ed net­work pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties for a mul­ti­tude of presentations.

The Tour­Net project is root­ed in the prac­tice of mutu­al aid and aims to fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ships between orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als work­ing in the media arts sec­tor, while sup­port­ing inde­pen­dent venues that have been hit hard by COVID-19. Above all, it strives to do no harm.

To real­ize these goals, the Tour­Net team imple­ment­ed an out­reach-based devel­op­ment process that pri­or­i­tizes the input of the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties it is designed to serve. At each stage, we have invit­ed poten­tial users to meet with us to con­sult on the tech­ni­cal sys­tems we are devel­op­ing, and also to dis­cuss the chang­ing needs of their orga­ni­za­tions and their own well-being as cul­tur­al work­ers. This led us to adopt two core prin­ci­ples in our work (1) a com­mit­ment to acces­si­bil­i­ty, broad­ly defined, and (2) a fem­i­nist eth­ic of care. This approach has helped us to nav­i­gate the chal­lenges pre­sent­ed by the pan­dem­ic while being respon­sive to the com­mu­ni­ty of users we aim to support.


A visual timeline showing the outreach and development process for TourNet 2.0.


To date, our work has pro­ceed­ed through three over­lap­ping stages: (1) ini­tial email and Zoom con­sul­ta­tions held with key sec­tor orga­ni­za­tions between Decem­ber 2021 and Feb­ru­ary 2022, which guid­ed the devel­op­ment of the cus­tom Tour­Net data­base; (2) a hands-on Tour­Net work­shop ses­sion held at the August 2022 Through the Storm con­fer­ence in Ottawa, which saw the par­tic­i­pa­tion of media arts orga­ni­za­tions from across Cana­da and has informed the devel­op­ment of TourNet’s user inter­face; and (3) a new acces­si­bil­i­ty cau­cus com­prised of self-iden­ti­fy­ing Deaf and Dis­abled cul­tur­al work­ers from Ontario media arts orga­ni­za­tions, which formed in Octo­ber 2022 in response to feed­back we received at the Ottawa con­fer­ence. Our con­sul­ta­tion process is cir­cu­lar, rather than lin­ear: i.e., we bring par­tic­i­pants’ con­tri­bu­tions back to the devel­op­ment team and mod­i­fy the app’s design accord­ing­ly. The next devel­op­ment phase will bring Tour­Net to MANO’s wider mem­ber­ship start­ing in June.

This ver­sion of the project will look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than the one we launched in Ottawa last year. Last fall, we tran­si­tioned from our ini­tial focus on the back end of the plat­form and to a new devel­op­er, Helios Design Labs. As part of this process, we con­duct­ed an inter­nal project review and decid­ed to change the title from the Media Arts Pre­sen­ter and Tour­ing Net­work (MAP-TN) to Tour­Net. This change reflects our wish to describe the project in a way that is mem­o­rable, acces­si­ble and user-friend­ly, in con­cert with our cur­rent focus on the app’s user inter­face. We’re eager to release the new build and to see how media arts orga­ni­za­tions work with it in the course of their pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ties, and we plan to launch nation­al­ly in ear­ly 2024. For now, you can click on the image below to take a sneak peek!


TourNet wireframe element showing a venue listing pinned to a gray map background.


Tour­Net would not exist if it weren’t for the MANO staff and con­tract work­ers who have worked hard on the project since its incep­tion, and spe­cial thanks are owed to Eli­da Schogt for her steady sup­port of the project. We remain grate­ful for the con­tin­u­ing sup­port of the Cana­da Coun­cil for the Arts and the Depart­ment of Cana­di­an Her­itage, and to you, MANO’s mem­bers. Keep an eye on your email!


—Lil­ian Radovac, on behalf of the Tour­Net devel­op­ment team