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Event Organizer Guide


Culture Days 2024: September 2oth - October 13th

Join thousands of creators and event organizers for the Canada’s largest cross-country celebration of arts, culture, and creativity.

What is Culture Days?

Culture Days is an annual national celebration of arts, culture, and creativity!

Every year, thousands of free events are connected under a three-week national campaign to encourage people across Canada to engage with, participate in and support arts and culture in their communities. The next national Culture Days will take place September 20th through October 13th, 2024

Culture Days was founded in 2010, inspired by the success of Québec’s Les Journées de la culture. With its roots established in a 3-day weekend celebration, it was expanded to a multi-week event in 2020. The national organization works with many provincial, regional, and municipal partners to coordinate and support events from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Read through our Culture Days 2022 highlights page to find out more about last year’s festivities and visit our About Culture Days page to learn about the work we do as an organization year-round.

Who can participate?

Anyone can organize an event and participate in Culture Days! From grassroots community volunteers, public libraries, and independent artists and collectives, to major arts, culture, and heritage institutions, specialty festivals, and municipalities—everyone is invited to take part!

Event eligibility and how to participate

If you are organizing an event for Culture Days, or have an existing event you would like to include in the celebrations, it must meet the following criteria for inclusion:

1. The arts and culture event is participatory.

  • This means that your event should involve some hands-on or behind-the-scenes element; it should allow participants to play a part in the creative process or offer something beyond a typical audience experience. Need some participatory ideas? Consult our Programming Ideas list.

  • If you are organizing an online event, there are still ways to involve the public’s participation through chat, Q&As, self-guided activities, etc. Read more in our Online Programming Guide.

2. It takes place during the designated Culture Days event run, September 20th - October 13th, 2024.

  • As long as the event occurs at least once over the course of the Culture Days dates, it will qualify.
  • While Culture Days takes place over a three-week time period, you do not have to program for its entirety to qualify. As stated above, whether your program runs once or a dozen times, you are a part of Culture Days!

3. It is registered on the Culture Days website. Registration for Culture Days 2024 will open in the Spring of 2024.

  • This is how the public will find your event; register it for free.
  • Activities can be registered as 2 different event types: In-person events or Online activities.

When publishing events, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are adhering to regional government COVID-19 rules and public health guidelines in your jurisdiction.

Sign up for our Newsletters to be the first to know when Event Registration opens.

4. It must be free for the public to attend.

There should be no mandatory cost for entry to any Culture Days event—this ensures that all events are open and accessible to the public. Organizers may choose to also have a Pay-What-You-May (PWYM) option for admission, or solicit donations. Read more about our PWYM policy.

Curious if Culture Days is already celebrated in your area? Get in touch with your regional office. You can also check out last year’s full events listing, view the list of communities with the most Culture Days activities in 2022, or check out our historic map to see all events since 2010.

What do we mean by arts and culture?

Arts and culture embraces a wide range of disciplines, including music, dance, theatre, film, literature, heritage, craft, visual arts, design, performing arts, and community arts. Working with these disciplines, your events could also include a variety of other themes such as nature, science, technology, agriculture, history, etc.

If you have questions about whether your event is eligible or not, send us a note at [email protected]

Learn more about creative collaborations between disciplines in our Unexpected Intersection Blog Series.

Who participated in 2022?

Get to know some past organizers from across the country in the Blog Series “Meet the Organizers”, and follow our Instagram account where we frequently feature profiles of events and participating organizers. Check out our historic map to see all events since 2010.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools and their families, endeavours to acknowledge and better understand the history and harms done and, as individuals and members of our communities, engage in actions which advance Truth and Reconciliation.

Accordingly, since 2022, Culture Days has set September 30 aside to create space exclusively for events organized to commemorate the NDTR, including those aimed at sharing First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit experiences and perspectives celebrating the creative and cultural expressions of Indigenous people and communities.

In order to ensure that Indigenous voices and participation are central to any event planned for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, there are additional questions for organizers to answer during the registration process. If the proposed event does not appear to appropriately and meaningfully reflect the above, Culture Days may contact the event organizer for more details. Find more information on our National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Resource.

How to register your event and benefits

To get started, create a Culture Days account. Once confirmed, you’ll gain access to your very own Dashboard (a kind of online toolbox) where you can find registration forms with step-by-step instructions, special resources, and more.

Registering your event allows you to:

  • Connect your event directly to thousands of others happening during the Culture Days 3-week run.
  • Tie your event in with the Culture Days advertising and marketing campaign, which brings in over 500 million impressions annually. Our teams also use this listing to strategize public relations and pitch to media outlets. Find customizable templates and digital promotional tools in your Dashboard.
  • Take advantage of our website’s geo-locating search and map system, which delivers your event listing directly to potential audiences.
  • Connect with new audiences. Millions of people across Canada participate in Culture Days events; through our system, you can tag events based on discipline, artform, language, theme, and accessibility, helping you find new and engaged audiences.
  • Get on our radar! We’re always looking to boost interesting activities to the public eye, and the event listing is the first place we go to find them. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and tag us as you plan your events! Visit your Region’s page in the top menu to find more local social media info.

Creating a Culture Days hub

Culture Days hubs are collections of events and programs that are connected geographically or thematically where audiences can expect to easily find various arts and culture-themed activities and experiences in a concentrated area. Through the hub registration system, individual events can be linked to one another to form a hub with its own web page.

Some examples of Culture Days hubs include:

  • A public library hosting many different types of events
  • A Main Street or downtown public plaza that’s hosting various events along a walkable corridor
  • A Nuit Blanche-style event with installations covering a large footprint across downtown
  • An arts organization presenting a series of online events centered aroufn the same theme

Why create a hub?

Creating a Culture Days hub is a great strategy to increase awareness, attendance, and participation while:

  • Forming new partnerships with other community organizers
  • Optimizing how you showcase the varied arts and cultural activity in your area
  • Developing networking opportunities and strengthening long-term partnerships with fellow arts and culture organizations, artists, community members, and advocates
  • Increasing the likelihood of attracting additional media coverage, VIP guests, and cultural influencers
The Art of Arabic Calligraphy, BC 2022. Photo: Nikhat Qureshi.
The Art of Arabic Calligraphy, BC 2022. Photo: Nikhat Qureshi.

Pay-What-You-May policy

Culture Days updated its free admission policy in 2019 to include a Pay-What–You-May (PWYM) option for entry to Culture Days events. In doing so, Culture Days affirms its commitment to free admission as a means to reduce barriers to access, but recognizes that producing a Culture Days event incurs expenses—PWYM offers an avenue for cost recovery for organizers while keeping free admission as a requirement for participation.

It is expected that all proceeds collected by individuals or organizations through PWYM go towards event production costs, paying artist/presenter fees, or supplementing promotional or advertising expenses. PWYM should never be utilized to deny a member of the public access to an event, nor can it be used to enforce paid ticketed entry.

If you are organizing an online Culture Days program in 2023, the participating artist(s) can ask for donations through various platforms that enable a PWYM model for live streams or online programs. You are also welcome to include links to any other site to collect donations. Read more about this in our Online Programming resource.

If you are an organizer, there is now a checkbox in the registration form allowing you to list that your event accepts PWYM donations for admission.

Culture Days Resources

Every year, Culture Days creates resources and tools to help you make the most of your Culture Days experience. Looking for ideas or promotional tools? Check out our Resources section.

Creating your own account will give you access to customizable templates (social media posts, posters, postcards, buttons, online banners, and more!) that you can use to spread the word. Find these in your Dashboard.

Note: updated marketing materials for the current year are released during registration launch in May.

We also produce an ongoing webinar series highlighting issues, case studies, and best practices within the non-profit sector. Visit our Webinars section.

Happy planning!

If you have any further questions about organizing your Culture Days events, or if you want to bounce some ideas off of us, please Contact Us.