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Arts-Tech Fusion Hackathon

Saturday, March 23rd @ 9:00 amSunday, March 24th @ 6:00 pm


We are pairing computer science students and non-computer science students together for the ultimate, cross-disciplinary, weekend-long event! From Saturday to Sunday, you and a partner will work together to create an idea that combines technology with the arts. Think music, history, visual arts, gender studies, theatre, creative writing – anything you want! No coding experience required!

Over the weekend, we will meet guest speakers who combine arts with technology in their workplace every day. Take advantage of what they have to say and learn about career paths you may not have considered. Both the winning team and the runner-up will be given a chance to receive advising from one of our guest speakers after the Hackathon is over to take their ideas to the next level. The winning team will also receive a reserved place at the Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp happening this May (a two-week, all-expenses paid, immersive learning experience with a financial reward of $1000!).

Join us for a fantastic weekend! We’ll supply snacks, a great workspace to spark your creative potential, and we’ll be there to answer any questions you might have along the way.

What is a Hackathon?

A Hackathon is a weekend-long event for students to create and develop an idea to solve a problem. You bring your ideas and enthusiasm – we supply food to sustain you, speakers to inspire you, and a prize to incentivize you to give it your all. We will open the doors to the lab at 9:00am on Saturday morning until 8:00pm that night. Take a break for the night and get some sleep. We’ll open back up at 9:00am on Sunday and finish before supper. You will work in pairs over the weekend to draw and present a storyboard – a six-panel board that tells us what your idea is, which problems it will solve, and who it will help.


Sounds like fun! What about the “Arts-Tech” part?

The unique part about this Hackathon is that we will be pairing computer science (CS) students with non-CS students for the weekend to build a project that combines arts with technology in some way. Your idea can be anything you want it to be as long as the art and technology components are both essential to the project. We want to simulate the real world by having CS students communicate their technological abilities with other people and to have non-CS students embrace technology within their respective fields.

What is the prize we’re competing for?

The winning team will be given automatic invitations to Nova Scotia Sandboxes’ Creativity and Innovation Bootcamp. The Bootcamp teaches design thinking at Acadia University over a two-week period, taking place in early May. All accommodations are included (food, lodging, etc.) and all students who attend receive a payment of $1000 for their participation. The winners of the Hackathon will skip the application process and automatically have their spots reserved!

On top of the Bootcamp, both the winning team and the runners-up will receive one hour of mentoring with a guest speaker of their choosing if they wish to further develop their idea from the Hackathon.

What will we be judged on?

We know that it can be hard to compare different artforms to each other. We’ve created a judging rubric that is agnostic to your background and the kind of the kind of project you create. Here are the qualities we will be looking at with respect to your storyboard presentations:

  • Does your idea have a clear audience?
  • Does your idea solve a real problem?
  • Is your idea original and clearly different from its competitors?
  • Is it possible to create your idea?
  • Are the arts and technology components of your idea both essential?

What’s the presentation format?

Unlike a traditional hackathon, teams will not be preparing slide decks and pitching to judges. Instead, we’re trying something different.

Teams will be expected to host a table and display their storyboard for everyone to see—similar to an academic “poster conference”. Judges and other guests will circulate around the room and when they approach your table, your team will deliver a 2-3 minute presentation of your board.

This format provides you with many opportunities to refine your presentation during the “conference” period. Please refer to the schedule for specific times.

Help will be available throughout the hackathon to obtain advice and support on the creation and effective presentation of your storyboard throughout this hackathon.

Who are the guest speakers?

We will have several different guest speakers giving 20-minute talks throughout the weekend. Each guest has had a career that combines technology with an artform in some way. This is a great opportunity for anybody (whether you win or lose at the Hackathon) to gain valuable information about career paths you may not have considered. We encourage everybody who attends the Hackathon to take as much advantage of our speakers as possible!


Terra Tailleur (Journalism Enabler)

I draw on my knowledge and extensive experience as a multi-platform reporter, editor, writer and producer to teach people what they need to excel in an ever-changing digital news environment.

Specialties: Breaking news, news writing, headline writing, newsroom integration, digital platforms, audience engagement, social media integration

Chris Noxx (Entrepreneur, Record Producer/Publisher)

Recognized with countless awards & nominations in the US, Canada & the UK for his creative works, his resume includes 5 international Billboard Charting hits, (a collective charting on the US, CAN & UK Billboards over 25 times) working closely with some of the most influential players in Hip Hop & Urban Music, and producer & co writer for an onslaught of Multi Platinum & Grammy Award Winning Artists, TV shows, Films, Multi Media platforms, Advertising Campaigns, & Fortune 500 companies.

AJ Morales (Creative Director, Ubisoft)

– Game Director / Designer with 11+ years industry experience and 17 shipped titles
– Champion of project vision, managing creative teams of 25+ members
– Experienced writer and storyteller in multiple mediums and formats
– Demonstrated proficiency with IP development, brand collaboration, and external editorial
– Successful leadership of iterative prototyping, systems and level design in 10+ projects


Mark Bin D. Santos (Graphic Designer – Discovery Centre)

With a high passion in graphic designing, video animations and photography.
• Graphic Designer and Photographer of The Discovery Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
• Worked as a freelance graphic designer and photographer for years.
• Worked as a Digital Artist at Universidad de Zamboanga, University Communications Office.
• Member of several publication organizations.

An Athlete with great interest in health, wellness and fitness.
• Member of several groups, community, organizations related to fitness.

Nick Rijgersberg (Director and Storyboard Artist)

I’ve worked in 2D traditional, 2D digital and 3D animation since graduation from Sheridan Colleges’ Classical animation program in 1984. In 2011 I graduate from Herzing collèges’ Maya 3D program.

What if I don’t have a partner?

On the registration form, we will give you a chance to indicate if you don’t have a partner to work with. We will do our absolute best to make sure you’re partnered up with someone for the weekend!

Is there a fee for the weekend?

Nope! The Arts-Tech Fusion Hackathon is 100% free!


Sat, Mar 23
Time Description
9:00 am Registration/attendance at the door, coffee, morning pastries
9:30 am Hackathon kickoff, announcements
9:45 am How to Create a Storyboard workshop with Alex Sproul
12:30 pm Catered lunch and Guest Speaker: Terra Tailleur
4:00 pm Guest Speaker: Chris Noxx
6:00 pm Check-in with pairs. Groups will get feedback on their idea
7:00 pm Guest Speaker: AJ Morales
8:00 pm Day 1 Closing. Teams are welcome to continue hacking
Sun, Mar 24
Time Description
9:00 am Attendance at the door
9:30 am Day 2 Kickoff. Reminder of the schedule and presentation format
12:30 pm Catered lunch and Guest Speaker: Mark Santos
3:00 pm Prep for hosting table to present storyboards in a “poster conference” format. Deadline to submit online team profile forms
4:00 pm Host table. Judges will circulate. Prepare 2-3 minute presentation of storyboard
5:00 pm Judge scoring/deliberation. Guest Speaker: Nick Rijgersberg
5:30 pm Winner announcements and photos, closing remarks, group photo

I’m in! How do I register?

Please complete the following online form to register for this event. This event is closed to current full/part-time post-secondary students only to best align with the prize structure.



Saturday, March 23rd @ 9:00 am
Sunday, March 24th @ 6:00 pm
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ShiftKey Labs


Dalhousie University Goldberg Computer Science Building (Room 426, ShiftKey Labs)
6050 University Ave.
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2 Canada
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