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Mobilising the Arts for an Inclusive Digital Transformation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ARTSFORMATION (Mobilising the Arts for an Inclusive Digital Transformation)

Período documentado: 2020-04-01 hasta 2021-03-31

The ARTSFORMATION project is an innovative proposal in addressing the Digital Transformation as a grand societal challenge in Europe. This grand challenge has deep impacts across diverse sectors within the societal sphere and Europeans are needing to re-shape the ways of organising themselves to be part of such rapid changes brought by technology. As such, ARTSFORMATION overall goal is to explore and leverage the arts as a valuable actor in the transformation of our society towards a more inclusive and sustainable in the digital future. The project explores the potential of the arts in promoting, enabling and empowering people to thrive in the Digital Transformation in a rapprochement among the artistic, technological, enterprise and civil society domains.

ARTSFORMATION intends to elevate the arts as a powerful and transformative agent through the development of knowledge, toolsets and participative experiments focusing especially on vulnerable groups in Europe. As the project’s goal, Artsformation wants to understand, analyse and promote the ways in which the arts can reinforce the benefits of the digital transformation as well as investigate its potential to intervene in the negative aspects of such phenomena in the social, cultural, economic and political fields. To deliver these goals, the Artsformation’s Consortium is composed by academic, artistic and societal organisations which collaborate together in the research and implementation components of the project to achieve success at the end of its term.

Through a combination of research methods including artistic ones, ARTSFORMATION embraces both research and implementation components looking not only to advance the academic knowledge but to translate such research into practice. In its academic core, ARTSFORMATION aims to understand how the arts and the digital transformation are related, focusing on the artists’ perspectives and their practices. Likewise, the project explores the role of the arts in enterprise and their interaction and influences on business methods and organisations. Lastly, Artsformation also pays attention to the engagement of the arts with societal issues, focusing on those artistic practices that tackle challenges deriving from the digital transformation in the European society. On the other hand, the implementation components include a number of artist assemblies and residencies as well as international workshops, exhibitions and policy advocacy as a practical component of the project involving participants and stakeholders in ARTSFORMATION.
The project has set up all management and communication infrastructures and established the External Executive Advisory Board. All the project’s communications channels including the project’s website and social media channels are operational and are constantly updated.

ARTSFORMATION’s Consortium delivered the first five academic reports on the potential of the arts in shaping the digital transformation. We published a state-of-the-art report on how the arts may instil or impede changes, drawing parallels from previous thinking on transformation achieved through the arts with the current set of challenges our society faces as part of the ongoing digital transformation. We mapped how the Arts co-evolves as a result of organisational pressures, while simultaneously identifying how the Arts can have a valuable voice in shaping strategic organisational decision making. We published two further reports, one providing a historical and contemporary context about the integration of the arts within organisations and organisational management, the other providing a cross-sectional mapping of Arts integration within enterprises and organisations that relate to the digital transformation in contemporary and emerging contexts, across Europe and beyond. We also prepared and published two additional reports exploring the arts as a mobiliser for social change towards a more inclusive, democratic and accessible digital transformation. The first report introduces the socially engaged arts (SEA) and its potential to empower people not reaping the acclaimed benefits of or negatively affected by the digital revolution. The second mapped participatory and socially engaged art projects, so to provide an overview of the artistic approaches taken to use to explore our digital future.

The project also had its launching exhibition in an online format with proxy visits. The Launching exhibition under the title Rendering Refusal took place between February 15th to March 28th 2021 in Berlin, and explored what can emerge from saying no. In an attempt to broaden perspectives on long-standing political conflicts and to shape futures from contradiction and difference, the works in the exhibition suggested responsibility for plurality and materialise what is often muted, erased, or made fugitive. The project also organised a number of associated cultural events, and is currently hosting a series of artist led conversations, performances, screenings and workshops hosted by FACT, Waag and Transmediale.
ARTSFORMATION proposes an innovative methodology, indicators, tools, and policy recommendations to assess the impact of the Arts on society. ARTSFORMATION utilizes social science methods in conjunction with Arts-based methods and practice based interventions, such as audience co-creation and participatory initiatives, Arts-assemblies and residencies in order to sharpen the lens through which to measure, evaluate, and predict the societal impact of the Arts. The innovative and sound methodological approach will enhance the appropriation and use of the new tools by policy makers, enterprises, and the civil society. ARTSFORMATION possesses a strong co-creation and participatory dimension that envisages guided collaboration of artists with socio-economically disadvantaged communities to empower them to express undervoiced and underrepresented issues, philosophies, opinions, and realities. The process and outputs of artistic intervention both at and with diverse communities, is envisioned to become the main vehicle of communicating complex societal challenges arising from the digital transformation to wide segments of the public, and assist the sense-making process and organised response by networks in the crossover between Arts, Civil Society, Industry, and Policy. Last but not least, ARTSFORMATION proposes to train artists via arts assemblies, residencies, and culturalisation workshops to build bridges between sectors that usually remain detached from one another, engaging in mutual interaction other than distrust and disrespect as in the connection between enterprise and artists. The strong implementation and experimentation component of ARTSFORMATION will contribute to the consolidation of the role of the Arts in addressing the societal challenges arising from the digital transformation by strengthening both the artistic and wider citizenry digital literacies and capabilities.