In response to the rapid growth of festival presenters within the Atlantic Presenters Association’s membership, APA planned Atlantic Canada’s first festival conference, ShiftChange: Festival Perspectives from Atlantic Canada and Beyond.

Save the Date: February, 24-26, 2023 in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Accommodations information:

ShiftChange 2023 will take place at Atlantica Hotel Halifax, located at 1980 Robie Street, Kjipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia. Please call 902-423-1161 or 1-888-810-7288 to book your room and let them know you are with APA to receive the room rate of $139.00/night, subject to availability and valid until February 12, 2023. 

We are asking all attendees to please bring your own lanyards if you have them to cut down on unnecessary waste. 

This annual conference, held each year in mid February, has become an important fixture in the industry with the goal of furthering the development of the festival-presenting sector in Atlantic Canada. The conference, featuring festival-focused professional development and networking, provides attendees with the information to make their festivals stronger and more sustainable, discover what is new and trending from leading experts, and share ideas and collaborate with colleagues.

ShiftChange is open to both members and non-members and many industry and sector organizations are invited to attend including festival and theatre presenters, venue operators, event producers and tourism and municipality operators.

For further inquiries about ShiftChange, please contact


Subject to Change

Friday, February 24

1:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Lobby

Registration Desk Open

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1

Keynote: Touring on a Burning Planet

Presenter: Kim Fry, Music Declares Emergency

As the material costs of touring skyrocket for artists and presenters, the harm to our planet from the carbon emissions resulting from tours and festivals and events grows too.  What are the solutions? This keynote seeks to understand how we got here and where we need to go to minimize our impact but still serve the communities who depend on us to enrich their lives with festivals and events.

3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1

Round the Room Introductions

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1

Funding Stew, Three Ways

Moderator: Courtney Steeves, Charlotte Street Arts Centre

Speakers: Lindsay Cory (Halifax Regional Municipality), Steven MacDougall (Events NS), Jamie MacLellan (Province of NS, Communities, Culture, Tourism & Heritage) & Greg Toole (Canadian Heritage)

Hear from representatives of three levels of government about what is new and trending in the world of arts funding. Learn about new programs, and ask your burning questions about existing ones. 

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Atlantic Hotel, Guild Hall 2

Opening Reception

6:45 pm - 9:15 pm

Meet in the Atlantica Hotel Lobby at 6:45 pm

Various restaurants around Halifax

Hot Topic Dine Arounds

Sign up at registration to choose a topic and location: All About Volunteers with Courtney Steeves at Brasserie (NOT accessible); Programming at the Edge of the World with Mary Beth Waldram at Chop (accessible); and Current Trends in an Ever-changing Media Landscape with Laura Murray at Gahan House (accessible). 

What the heck is a Hot Topic Dine Around, you ask? The activity is meant to be an informal, engaging dinner conversation with a leader/host who starts things off by talking a bit about their experience or knowledge on the subject. The host will encourage other folks at the table to talk about their experiences and ask questions of the host and each other. Spaces are limited at each location. Two locations are accessible and one is not. Participants are responsible for paying for their own meals/drinks and transportation. APA will arrange for cabs to be available at the Atlantica at 7:00 pm to transport diners to their destinations.

9:15 pm - 11:00 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Lobby Bar

End of Day Wind Down

Relax and unwind after a long day of ShiftChange-ing at the Atlantica Hotel Bar. We know that conferences can be a little hectic, so take this time to enjoy a beverage and a salty snack, chat with friends (or make new ones!), and look forward to another exciting day of programming ahead. 

Saturday, February 25

9:00 am - 9:15 am

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Lobby

Coffee & Conversation

9:15 am - 10:45 am

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 2

Panel Discussion: Guest Curation as Social Justice

Moderator: Lindsay Cory

Panelists: Maud Salvi, Liliona Quarmyne & Aislinn Thomas

What can the guest curation model teach us as performing arts programmers? Is handing over the curation reins to someone who identifies as being from a systematically excluded community an act of social justice for your organization? This panel of festival leaders and artists will help shed light on this status-quo challenging programming model. 


11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1

PD Session: Healthier Workspaces

Presenter: Errin Williams, Errin Williams Counseling and Consulting

Join Errin Williams (she/her) as she presents an overview of how venue and festival presenters can make their events healthier workspaces for artists. With a combination of mental health and music industry experience, Master’s level clinical social worker Errin Williams has over 13 years of experience as a mental health therapist, and partners with the East Coast Music Association’s Wellness Initiative as the clinical lead. ECMA is a Mental Health leader in the Canadian Music Industry. Errin has been imperative to the development of ECMA’s mental health initiative.

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 2

Lunch & Learn: Eastern Front Theatre's Accessibility Project

Speakers: Sara Graham, Elsa Pihl, and Kat McCormack

Join the Eastern Front Theatre team to learn about the accessibility project, the idea behind the project, results of phase one, and next steps. This lunch and learn will be a great opportunity to discuss incorporating accessibility in all phases of festival and event development.

1:15 pm - 2:45 pm

Atlantic Hotel, Guild Hall 1

Panel Discussion: The Future of Festivals

Moderator: Heather Gibson

Panelists: Raeesa Lalani, Mary Beth Waldram, and Joe Costello

No one can predict the future, but this panel of big thinkers will get out their crystal balls and share their visions, hopes and fears about what the far off horizon of festivals might look like in Atlantic Canada. 

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 2

One to One Meetings

Time to get down to business. One to one meetings are a networking opportunity designed specifically for delegates to engage in business discussions. This is your opportunity to connect and meet with other presenters to discuss bookings, seasons, markets, etc. This industry is all about connections, and these meetings offer time and space to create new relationships and nurture existing ones. If you are looking to talk shop at ShiftChange, this is your chance! 


4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1

Marketing the Underknown Artist

Presenter: Brian Paterson, Murray Paterson Marketing Group

“I’d love to pay money and go see this artist who I’ve never heard of!” said hardly anyone. Let’s spend an hour and a half with marketing expert Brian Paterson of Murray Paterson Marketing Group and find out how to make that phrase a part of your audience’s vocabulary! 

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Dinner on Your Own

8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 2

ShiftChange Lounge

Sunday, February 26

9:00 am - 9:45 am

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1


9:45 am - 11:45 am

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1

Open Spaces, Peer to Peer Learning, and Table Talks

11:45 am - 12:00 pm

Atlantica Hotel, Guild Hall 1


SHIFTCHANGE 2023 Schedule

Wednesday, February 23

1:00pm - 2:30pm AST

Fundraising Through a Social Justice Lens

We often typecast people into two groups: those we think can give to our mission and those we think cannot. Most organizations struggle with this dichotomy – how can we raise money in a way that reinforces our mission and not “sell our souls” to the “rich”? How do we align our fundraising with our values to ensure organizational sustainability? 

In this workshop, Cindy Wagman, best-selling author of “Raise It! The Reluctant Fundraiser’s Guide to Raising Money Without Selling Your Soul” will bust some fundraising myths around power and giving and help guide you to a model of fundraising that breathes life into your presenting organization’s ongoing commitment to considering social justice as a part of all that you do.

Cindy Wagman

President and Founder, The Good Partnership

Thursday, February 24

1:00pm - 2:30pm AST

Google Ad Grants for Non-profits

Have you heard of Google Ad Grants? If not, it is the best time to change that. 
Google Ad Grants is a Google initiative launched back in 2003 that allows qualifying nonprofit organizations to get $10,000 USD of in-kind advertising every month. This free advertising credit can be used to promote your organization within Google search results. Improve your brand awareness, drive visitors, improve ticket sales, recruit more volunteers, drive more donations, increase newsletter subscriptions, or promote anything else that generates value to your organization. 
The Ad Grants program is a wonderful opportunity to promote your cause online without the need to pay hefty media budgets. Follow the compliance requirements, optimize and experiment and you will be rewarded with a dramatic increase in website traffic and completions of your online goals. 
In this webinar, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Get the Google Ad Grant for your non-profit organization 
  • Create and efficiently optimize your campaigns 
  • Ensure that your account is always compliant with program requirements 
  • Create a robust online marketing strategy for performing arts presenting organizations 
  • View a case study of a cultural institution benefiting from Google Ad Grants 

Peter Sima

Founder, AboveX Digital

Wednesday, March 2

1:00pm - 2:30pm AST

Reconciliation Statements

After twenty years of living and working in the North and doing reconciliation work across sectors, Davida and Tosh are ready to share what they have learned and use this knowledge to support other organizations in responding to the TRC’s 94 calls to action and supporting Indigenous self-determination.

Both founders are from the Yukon and are strong First Nations women who have a track record of creating the systemic change in organizations needed for reconciliation to actually occur. Tosh and Davida have an extensive network across the Yukon, and nationally across post-secondary institutions. They have built a distinct reputation for working with organizations and Indigenous communities to design and implement projects that move the bar on reconciliation forward. In this session Tosh and Davida will discuss Reconciliation Statements, what they are, how to create one, and why they should be an important part of the forward facing identity of your presenting organization.

Davida Wood

Co-founder, IRP consulting

Tosh Southwick

Co-founder, IRP consulting

Thursday, March 3

1:00pm - 2:30pm AST

Insurance and Risk Management

Running a non-profit organization involves a lot of responsibilities—protecting your assets and your board of directors is probably one of the most important! Join us in this engaging session where Melanie will provide an overview of the evolving exposures of non-profit entities and how you can protect the organization. We will discuss the different insurance coverages available in the marketplace and coverage considerations to watch for to ensure you are properly protected. 

Melanie Needham

Commercial Analyst, Economical Insurance Group

Sponsored by

Thank you to our Funders


Subject to Change

Thursday, September 22

12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Hotel Halifax, Empress Room Lobby

Registration Desk Open

3:30 pm - 4:15 pm

Hotel Halifax, Baronet Rooms

AASPAA Meeting

4:15 pm - 5:00 pm

Hotel Halifax, MacDonald & MacNabb Rooms

First Timers Orientation

Start your conference off right! If you’re new to Contact East (or just need a little refresher), make sure to join us at our First Timers Orientation. Meet the APA board and staff, learn what to expect for the next few days, and hear a few tips and tricks to make the most out of the conference. We look forward to meeting you and making meaningful connections at Contact East 2022!

5:15 pm - 6:30 pm

Hotel Halifax, Bluenose Room

Welcome Reception / APA award

Start the first day of Contact East off with a bang (and some yummy food!) before heading to Showcase #1 at our Opening Reception and APA Achievement Award Presentation! There will be plenty of tasty treats on offer, a full cash bar, and some time for mingling. We will also be handing out this year’s APA Award, an honour presented annually to a deserving individual who has made a significant contribution to the performing arts touring sector in Atlantic Canada. Food, drinks, and friends—the perfect way to start a conference!

7:15 pm - 9:50 pm

Neptune Theatre, Scotiabank Stage

Showcase #1

Sponsored by Neptune Theatre

  • Mocean Dance
  • Élage Diouf
  • Basset
  • Liliona Quarmyne
  • Winnie Churchill
  • Huu Bac Quintet

10:15 pm - 12:00 am

Hotel Halifax, Bluenose Room

Contact East 2023 announcement & reception

Sponsored by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Writer’s at Woody Point

The first showcase may be over, but that doesn’t mean the fun is! Stick around for an evening reception at Hotel Halifax where we will be announcing the location for Contact East 2023! Enjoy some complimentary food and beverages and a few surprises! Don’t miss this!