Ontario's Growing Hub Landscape (Yomi John at WorkInCulture)
Posted by WorkInCulture in Toronto on Feb 06, 2017

Hubs study consultants and funders chatting during the launch event on Fri. February 3, 2017 at OMDC.

WorkInCulture is pleased to announce the release of our latest research report entitled: Hubs and Business Skills Training for the Culture and Creative Sector – What’s Working? prepared by Nordicity, and funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation and the Ontario Arts Council.

The objective of the research was to identify representative organizations, institutions and programs that provide business skills training to Ontario’s arts, culture and creative sector and to explore promising best practices. Through consultation with hub representatives and experts across the province, Nordicity has gathered examples of the variety of hubs by type and discipline, the training offered, emerging best practices, the motivation for collaboration between hubs, and the potential for non-culture hubs to adapt to a cultural audience.

The broad concept of “hubs” offers a very promising model for the culture sector in the fostering of innovative ideas, creative practices and entrepreneurship. There is no one definition of a hub, as it could be a physical or virtual space, temporary or permanent concept. But the common goal of most hubs, whether creative or tech-oriented, is to provide resources for skills development and/or co-working opportunities for like-minded people to learn, network, share ideas and form beneficial partnerships. As simply put by one interviewee during consultation, a hub is in essence a “connection place”.  Valerie Fox of The Pivotal Point suggests that hubs should serve as “collision spaces” to cross-fertilize ideas and experiences.  

We envision this report to be a resource for the creative community and hubs themselves; as it explores representative hubs across the province, and strategies for increasing the impact of hubs in delivering business training to artists, makers, arts administrators and creative entrepreneurs. On the WorkInCulture website, along with this report, you will find an inventory map of the 200 hubs captured in the research. These include hubs from both within the arts and culture sector and without (e.g., Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBECs), multi-purpose incubators and discipline specific hubs).

This research also suggests that there is equal demand for training in areas like marketing, finance, business and leadership, and digital technology, and for training in a broad variety of formats from workshops and seminars to mentorships and internships. To learn more about the report’s findings please visit our website.

WorkInCulture sees the potential of hubs as collaborative and interconnected forces. Though many hubs thrive in their niches, the Hubs report concludes that knowledge-sharing and stronger alliance between hubs should be a priority, and WorkInCulture hopes that it can play a stronger role in doing just that.


Written by Yomi John


Read the Hubs Report
Explore the Hubs Inventory Map

WorkInCulture is thankful to all our interviewees and roundtable participants for their time and support