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WEAR Report Summary

Project ID: 732098
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WEAR (Wearable technologists Engage with Artists for Responsible innovation)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In order to promote further collaboration between the arts and innovation activities, WEAR Sustain proposes to focus engagement in within arts and design communities and the ICT industry, through co-design and co-development of ethical, critical, and aesthetic wearable technologies and smart textiles.

Wearable technologies aimed at private consumers constitute a nascent market, expected to grow very fast. This disruptive technology opens up new business possibilities, notably for cross-sector collaborations for example between technology companies and designers. At the core of this market are important issues, of various nature: ethical, aesthetic, environmental, etc. These issues need to be addressed in a critical way.

WEAR Sustain has the following objectives:
Objective 1: Set up and develop a sustainable network of local advocacy hubs around ethical and aesthetic wearables, constituted of at least 40 relevant hubs across Europe.
Objective 2: Encourage cross-border and cross-sector collaboration between creative people and technologists. Through 2 open thematic calls for European project proposals to develop fully functional prototypes of wearables, WEAR will fund up to 48 teams.
Objective 3: Build a sustainable and structured dialogue. It will rely on the digital platform and on the organisation of local and international networking events/symposia and local meetups.
Objective 4: Develop local hubs to become advocacy centres for wearable technologies with a mandate for aesthetic and ethical design and development processes. Local hubs will provide to awarded teams support and access to expertise
Objective 5: Develop a sustainability strategy and toolkit aimed at local hubs

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

WEAR Sustain’s main activities from M1-18 have revolved the organisation of the 2 Open Calls, the selection, monitoring and support of the selected teams. This was made possible thanks to the set-up and expansion of the WEAR Sustain network and to several dissemination and communication activities.

The objective of WP3 has been to organise competitions to select over the course of the project maximum 48 teams of creative people and technologists to develop fully functional prototypes of wearables. It has set-up the Open Call Management System and the selection criteria. It has selected and monitored 46 teams.

The objective of WP4 has been to provide support to the selected teams. It has defined and updated the framework for such support and updated a database of service providers. There was in mid July 2018 85 active WEAR hubs and 101 WEAR mentors.

The goal of WP2 has been to provide an online platform visualising the emerging European ecosystem of actors in wearable technology and smart textiles in order to facilitate the matchmaking and an ongoing dialogue about sustainability.

The goal of WP5 has been to develop best practice methods and networks. The currently gathered insights will form the content, structure and format of the Sustainability Strategy Toolkit.

The purpose of WP6 has been to design and implement a Europe-wide dissemination and communication plan to maximize the impact of WEAR, its funded projects, and network of experts and participants.

The goal of WP1 has been to deal with the general management issues necessary for the successful operation of the project, complemented by WP7, which ensures compliance with ethics requirements.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

WEAR Sustain has gone beyond the state of the arts for several aspects. First, it has aimed at promoting a balanced collaboration between participants from, on the one hand, the technology side, and, on the other hand, the art side. This is the most visible with the 46 teams selected and supported by the project, each of them relying on such a collaboration.
Second, the set-up of WEAR Sustain’s online platform has also responded to the ICT-ART CNECT study recommendation of creating an umbrella meta-project to promote smaller projects. There are many hubs across Europe who support small similar projects, but until then no initiative had succeeded in mapping and coordinating them.

Third, it has raised awareness around ethical issues related to wearable technology collecting personal data. Beyond, it has dealt with working conditions in wearable industries. And most importantly it has put environmental sustainability as a core issue.

The expected results until the end of the project can be summarised in three main outcomes. First, a major objective has been to select and support up to 48 teams to develop prototypes of wearable technologies, and bring them closer to the market.

The second outcome is the Network platform, which maps various stakeholders working on wearables in Europe.

The third outcome is the Sustainability Strategy Toolkit, which will include guidelines and industry-specific methodologies and hands-on techniques.

Our first impact has been to trigger the dialogue between creative people and technologists, by organising 11 matchmaking events, and participating at more than 30 events; by setting up and continuously improving its online Network platform and, at micro-level, through its 46 selected and supported teams.

Our second impact is in increasing the transfer of knowledge, in our 11 matchmaking events and via the activites of our network of hubs.

Our third impact is in contributing to a change of culture, notably through our 46 selected teams. Our selection and monitoring criteria actually include the innovation potential, the balanced collaboration, ethical and sustainability concerns, and the economic value of the project.

Our fourth impact is helping the development of an emerging market, namely wearables in Europe, while keeping a constant, critical attention for ethical and sustainability issues. Focusing on the wearable market has allowed to leverage the competitiveness of SMEs.

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