The new hub for data in culture: culture, business and research working together

Montreal, June 8, 2018 – HEC Montréal and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership are pleased to announce the creation of the Hub for Data in Culture (Pôle sur les données massives en culture). The purpose of the Hub is to provide expertise and training to Quebec’s cultural enterprises, helping them benefit from the many possibilities opened up by advances in data science and analysis.

The Hub was named one of Quebec’s nine centres of digital excellence by the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation. It was selected based on a call for proposals resulting from a measure included in Quebec’s Digital Economy Action Plan. The government of Quebec will provide $600,000 in funding for the Hub over three years.


The mission of the Hub for Data in Culture is to develop and pool expertise in the use of big data for the arts and culture in Quebec, and to become an international reference in the use of such datasets for the benefit of the cultural sector. Through its activities, the Hub will facilitate and accelerate the acquisition of digital skills and the development of business strategies by fostering data-driven innovation and a data-pooling model for the emergence of shared intelligence.

The Hub has four directions:

  • Sharing and use of data

  • Transfer of knowledge

  • Training

  • Research


“This initiative demonstrates, once again, that our organizations and institutions of higher learning are brimming with the talent and adventurousness needed to build a solid, efficient digital economy. Quebec needs to transform itself, and our government is serving as an engine to drive that transformation. Centres of excellence such as this will become true catalysts for the economic vitality of Quebec as a whole, and allow our expertise to shine in the digital world, in every economic sector, including culture.”
Dominique Anglade, Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy

“Montreal is a major player in the use of digital technology, not only in Canada, but on a global scale. This allows our companies to benefit from a thriving new sector, promoting the development of digital business solutions and the creation of promising, structurally significant projects, which will stimulate economic growth for all Quebecers. Once again, Quebec is distinguishing itself in the art of bringing technology and culture together, and we should be proud of that.”
Martin Coiteux, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Land Occupancy, Minister of Public Security, and Minister responsible for the Montreal region.

“I am delighted by this news. Everyone active in Quebec’s cultural industries will now be able to count on organizational expertise in collating, processing and transforming large datasets and in developing technology solutions specifically for their industry, while helping our culture flourish at home and around the world.”
Marie Montpetit, Minister of Culture and Communications and Minster responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French language

“Culture must be part of the transformation and new potential created by the digital revolution. To stand out, both in what we offer and in the way we attract tomorrow’s artists, we need to experiment, take risks, innovate. The culture, business and science communities have pooled their expertise to make the Hub possible. The Partnership is very proud to have brought its members into the world of intelligent data. We are convinced that this initiative will benefit the entire cultural sector.”
Jacques Primeau, chair, Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

“Our hope is that the Hub will encourage the cultural sector to make use of big data by showing companies the accessible, extremely rich character of the information found in large data sets, which need only to be analysed in order to reveal their value.”
Renaud Legoux, professor of marketing, HEC Montréal

“The data that cultural enterprises allow us to work with provide unparalleled learning opportunities for our students, because the experience is grounded in reality, involving organizations that have real business issues.”
Marc Fredette, professor of decision science, HEC Montréal

Photo: Mattera Joly


The Hub for Data in Culture represents the pooled expertise of three sectors. Art and culture organizations will be able to acquire new knowledge, optimize their use of resources and, eventually, develop cultural products tailored to public demand. They will also be positioned to promote their offerings in optimal ways and develop relational marketing strategies. The Hub perfectly embodies the spirit that drives the Quartier des Spectacles’ stakeholders, and it will now benefit the entire cultural sector. It is the result of three successful shared-data analysis initiatives.

In the fall of 2016, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership launched a data-sharing initiative in collaboration with members of the Quartier’s cultural sector. In March 2017, the philanthropic data initiative led by Aimia, a data-driven marketing agency, made possible the analysis of anonymized data from 20 cultural organizations based in the Quartier by around 100 analysts and statisticians, with the participation of HEC Montréal and the Institut de valorisation des données (IVADO). This gave new scope to the project.

Lastly, in June 2017, the Carrefour de philanthropie des données, a conference led by IVADO in collaboration with Aimia and HEC, was launched by marketing professor Renaud Legoux and decision-science professor Marc Fredette. The Carrefour is part of the drive to provide training and knowledge transfers from universities and companies to non-profit organizations working in data science and analysis. The first Carrefour was focused on culture. This year’s Carrefour, on June 6 and 7 at HEC Montréal, is focused on culture and transportation, exploring the analytical potential of the intersection of data from the two sectors.

The closing of the 2018 Carrefour will mark the official launch of the new Hub for Data in Culture.

About the digital centres of excellence

The digital centres of excellence were created as part of the Digital Economy Action Plan of the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation. The centres are designed to foster the advancement of promising activities linked to Quebec’s information technology sector, with the ultimate aim of enabling the creation and commercialization of digital business solutions and accelerating the growth of SMEs and startups in these sectors.

About HEC Montréal

HEC Montréal is an internationally renowned business school, with over 13,000 students, and trains more than 7,000 executives and managers every year. The School holds many prestigious accreditations, and offers over 100 programs of study from the bachelor’s to doctoral levels. It is one of the most active business schools in Canada in terms of research, thanks to 27 research and knowledge transfer units and 31 research chairs, including 7 Canada Research Chairs and 1 NSERC industrial chair. With a faculty of 272, HEC Montréal offers programs in several languages and attracts students from nearly 140 countries. Since its founding in 1907, the School has trained more than 86,000 students in all fields of management.

about the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, founded in 2003, is a non-profit organization with more than 70 members active in the district. It is responsible for animating the Quartier des Spectacles by programming cultural activities, managing and animating public spaces, providing distinctive illumination, and promoting the Quartier as a must-visit cultural destination. The Quartier des Spectacles is Montreal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues. The district is the year-round host of more than 40 festivals and events, many of which include free outdoor shows and activities. The Partnership is supported by the Ville de Montréal.

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Advisor – public relations
Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
514 879-0009, ext. 260

Media relations
HEC Montréal
514 340-7320