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The role art can play for an alternative future: the Regional STARTS Centers

03 August, 2021 |

Launched by the European Commission, the S+T+ARTS initiative aims to foster imaginative thinking by creating spaces of dialogue between Science, Technology, and the Arts. 

The five pillars of the  S+T+ARTS initiative – the S+T+ARTS Prize, S+T+ARTS Residencies, S+T+ARTS Lighthouses, S+T+ARTS Academies, and S+T+ARTS Regional Centers – address the unintended consequences of steadfast technological development resulting in the social, economic, and environmental challenges the European continent faces by tapping into the potential of artists to act as catalysts for change and actively contribute to innovation. The initiative strives to create a collaborative, interdisciplinary, human-centered framework that draws attention to the role art can play in making alternative futures visible, thus contributing to future-proof policy-making.

The Regional S+T+ARTS Centers program brings together 12 partner organisations from 11 different countries led by the Belgian Cleantech Hub Snowball. The consortium partners – Snowball (BE), MAXXI Museum (IT), Art Hub Copenhagen (DK), STATE (DE), Onassis Foundation (EL), In4Art (NL), MEET (IT), CCCB (ES), Ars Electronica (AT), Sony CSL Paris (FR), Kersnikova (SI), CYENS Centre of Excellence (CY) – put together a program made up of S+T+ARTS Expert Meetings, S+T+ARTS Academies, S+T+ARTS Exhibitions and Prototyping Parks and S+T+ARTS Residencies.

The programs explore the possibility of Repairing the Present throughresource, urban, ICT & art-powered transformations at a regional level. By creating the context for innovation processes at the nexus of science, technology and the arts, the projects encourage a critique of the present, the exploration beyond its current limitations and the reimagination of other possible futures. While the challenges addressed are pan-European or global, the solutions require a focus on specific local problems. Thus, in Repairing the Present the partners think globally, but act locally by defining challenges that need to be urgently addressed within their localities. 

As part of the project, Sony CSL Paris will host two artist residencies for artists and ICT experts who will be immersed in a rich ecosystem of research institutions, universities and innovative companies. The overall purpose is to design new solutions, methods and innovative processes for more sustainable urban ecosystems, form climate-neutral, and digital cities, and make people aware of the complexity of the bio-socio-economic challenges of our era.  

This project has received funding from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement LC01641664.