Opinion: Using the arts as a vehicle for knowledge valorisation towards citizens

By Stéphanie Petit, Dowel Innovation

“Addressing societal challenges requires more than just technological solutions. Indeed, the misunderstanding of complex scientific and technical issues (artificial intelligence, climate change etc.) is a serious threat to the decision-making power of citizens and democracy.

“To preserve its core values, the European Union has in recent years launched several initiatives to increase the impact of Research and Innovation in society, focusing on co-creating solutions with society to increase knowledge, drive systemic change and create more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient societies. This involves considering both technological and social innovation and encouraging greater societal involvement in adopting new technologies to notably support the Green Deal objectives, the New Industrial Strategy and the Twin Transitions at large.

“At the same time, R&I stakeholders (including many SMEs) develop knowledge and solutions that, if valorised correctly, could empower European citizens. Product and service development usually valorise knowledge only from one perspective: supply (industry) and demand (consumers).

“In this way, one could think that valorising knowledge with a multi-sided perspective, with stakeholders coming from different cultural and economic contexts, would be beneficial.

 “To this end, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on the Guiding Principles for Knowledge Valorisation in 2022. One of the guiding principles concerns “the need to encourage and facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations and co-creation, going beyond technological areas and involving disciplines such as social sciences, the humanities and the arts”.

“Indeed, different studies have underpinned the idea that cultural interactions with research and industry through artistic approaches are profitable. These types of interactions aim at engaging understanding in a more multi-sensory and experimental manner, which allows a change of mindset and openness towards alternative ideas.

“The InteractionSeeds project (starting January 2024) has been designed to build upon existing initiatives fostering knowledge valorisation through artistic and cultural interactions.

“The first step of the project will be the development of a repository of locally proven and easy to replicate cultural interaction/art thinking practices. This repository is expected to turn into a platform at exploitation stage connecting a network of stakeholders.

“During the project, 20+ “Interaction schemes” will be replicated in five ecosystems: Stockholm (Sweden, by RISE), Bilbao (Spain, by GAIA), Western Macedonia (Greece, by CluBE), Grand Est Region (France, by Materalia) and the French Riviera (France, by Dowel Innovation).”

“Do you have an example of cultural/arts-inspired methodologies to communicate knowledge to citizens? Or would you be interested to follow the project activities and participate in its replication? We’d be glad to exchange with you!”

Stéphanie is Consultant & Associate Partner at Dowel Innovation and will coordinate the InteractionSeeds projects. Contact her for more information: stephanie.petit@dowel.eu.

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