On behalf of the START Prize project, T6 Ecosystems has organized on October 16th, 2023, on the premises of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, in Venice, a full day dedicated to local and European policies to support the intersection of art, science and technology. The event was entitled “Fostering regional innovation through art, science and technology. Connecting Dots” reached more than 100 people, both on-site and online, belonging to the STARTS family, as well as people experiencing research and artistic practices.

Introduction and greetings

The day started with an introduction from Renata Codello, Secretary General of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, who welcomed the audience highlighting  the importance of fostering conversations about the contamination of arts, science and technology. Then, Simona De Rosa, from T6 Ecosystems, addressed the value of the STARTS as an example of a framework that can support the response to the multiple and complex crises affecting our societies, by providing integrated and interdisciplinary solutions. Indeed, it can help to respond to the demanding societal issues, and that means that  there is a strong need for support measures  from both the European and national and regional institutions. 

Keynote about regional centre: Pau Alsina, HACTE

Pau Alsina, Co-Director of HACTE, set the ground for discussion with a key-note focusing on the epistemological issues that need to be considered while we talk of Art, Science, Technology and Society (ASTS). In particular,  he presented the case of the HACTE Hub, a public-private partnership in Barcelona, constituted as a legal entity in 2021 with the aim of building the local ASTS ecosystem based on the integration among European policies and 11 local institutions supporting the local ecosystem.

S+T+ARTS Ecosystem: challenges and opportunities for the creation of new regional centres

After the keynote speech, 4 STARTS regional centres have been invited to share their projects and experiences. The discussion moderated by Frédéric Musewee, Bozar, focused on the main results achieved by the STARTS regional centres, but also on the issues and barriers that local policy makers should try to remove to facilitate the flourishing of local ecosystems.  Airan Berg presented the GRIN project experience focused on the art driven innovation for digital green transition, hosting 12 residencies driven by high participatory processes. Christoph De Jaeger, from GLUON, showed the case of the STARTS in the City project. The goal of this consortium is to work with the innovation synergies in the city investigating the role of digital technologies through residencies. Borut Jerman introduced the AIR project, which aims at having an impact on environment, culture and wellbeing. The project is based on 4 AIR regional hubs: Koper, Barcelona, Rome, Stuttgart. Christian Rauch from Repairing the Present described the mission of the project to address regional, social, economic and environmental challenges by exploring the potential of artists to act as catalysts for change, and investigating the possibility of digital and art driven transformation at a regional level. Moreover, speakers discussed the role of citizens ‘participation and the future of STARTS initiative to guarantee that experimentation will keep going.

Supporting arts and culture as a political aim. How S+T+ARTS laid the ground for future uptakes

The panel opened the floor to a broader and wider discussion with the participants, who have been invited to share their valuable inputs and reflections in a dedicated open dialogue.

All the results from the first panel and from the open discussion, gave inputs and insights for the second panel where scholars, policy makers and sectoral experts took part in the conversation moderated by Simona De Rosa, from T6 Ecosystems. The session focused on different layers of policies, starting from  the once implemented by the EC, to then address the local implementation from the experience of the Wallonie Bruxelles region. In addition , it was discussed the opportunity opened by the EIT CC. The case of Linz was considered as an example of how a good local ecosystem can be a driver of economic growth.

A STARTS honorary mention was also invited to deliver a presentation about the project: the artist Halsey Burgund showed the “In event of Moon Disaster”, STARTS Prize nomination 2021. This aimed to be a demonstration of a project supported by STARTS, that integrated  art, science and technology to promote the increasing of  awareness in relation to the topic of disinformation, also influencing policy development.

Key Takeaways and Highlights from the Event

The day was an extremely relevant occasion to get the STARTS family together reflecting on the perils, needs and the future of the community working around art, science and technology.  

It emerged clearly the need to better integrate citizens in the processes implemented to guarantee that the initiatives and projects funded could really take care of people’ needs, as well as to encourage a major engagement of different stakeholders’ groups to take part in the network.

The second element, strongly addressed several times, was the need for additional funding to guarantee that space of interdisciplinary collaboration and experimentation will be guaranteed in the future. Those funds are expected to be put in place by the European Commission, but also matched with national and regional funding opportunities allowing local ecosystems to benefit from the convergence of multiple fundings.

Finally, it was discussed the need to still make local policy makers aware of the importance to structure dedicated funds to bring art, science, technology  and the society so that the initiatives can be able to impact on the regions and local environment. Over the day, in fact, some good examples of local ecosystems (e.g Barcelona and Linz) have been mentioned making evident that impact on the ground  – both social and economic – is possible when synergies and multiple agents work together, but also when European projects are integrated with local and national political measures.

Strong and focused discussion on the topic is still very needed, and this is why T6 Ecosystems, with the support of the STARTS Prize project will keep going in working to  reinforce and relaunch the discussion. A policy report containing the main results of the day will follow up and will be distributed widely to inform policy makers at different levels.

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