Nordic Centre for Internet and Society

Concluding Summit: Artsformation

On September 21, the final Artsformation summit, ‘Mobilising the arts for an inclusive digital transformation’, was held in Brussels, Belgium. The summit concluded three successful years of Artsformation events and projects, and provided reflections on the future of Artsformation.

The Artsformation journey started about three years ago, aiming to explore the intersection between arts, society, and technology. Together with the project partners, artists, and members of the board, Artsformation has created a programme consisting of public panels, exhibitions, open meetings, and music involving key stakeholders. The final summit was held in Brussels, Belgium on 21 September.

Mobilising the arts for an inclusive digital transformation

A focus of the Artsformation project has been to actively engage in understanding how the arts contribute to shaping the digital transformation in Europe. The idea that the arts could serve as a significant bridge, fostering a more inclusive and sustainable digital era, has been central to the project. This was also the main theme of the final summit, which was entitled ‘Mobilising the arts for an inclusive digital transformation’.Snapshots from the final Artsformation summit.

Snapshots from the final Artsformation summit. Photo courtesy: @Artsformation on Instagram.

The opening talk of the summit was held by Professor Christian Fieseler from the Department of Communication and Culture and researcher of the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society. Christian has had a central role within Artsformation, as coordinator of the project. His research focuses on how individuals and organizations adapt to the shift brought by new social media, and how to design participative and inclusive spaces in the new media regime. Within this field, Christian has over the last few years worked extensively on projects with the European Union and the Norwegian Research Council on technology and new working models. The Artsformation project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Present at the event were, amongst others, artists, policy influencers, researchers, and members of the EU Commission. Representing BI’s Nordic Centre for Internet and Society, in addition to Christian Fieseler, were Associate Professor Peter Booth and PhD candidate Victor Renza, both of whom have also been active contributors within the Artsformation team.

Artsformation “toolkit” and journal

As one of the main highlights of the event, the Artsformation members presented a handbook titled Control, Refusal, Trust and Care: A toolkit for making change in the cultural field. The book is a toolkit for institutions and organizations that want to collaborate with artists ethically and mindfully. The toolkit provides detailed methods and strategies for changing and altering the conditions of cultural work through an exploration of several different Artsformation commissioned works. As cited from the book, these works, in their own ways “seek to harness the opportunities of the digital transformation of society for more ethical, equitable, sustainable and inclusive ways of working, which are more considerate of others, both human and more-than-human.” 

Group of people

Artsformation also released a journal in relation to the concluding summit. The journal offers some reflections on the three years of Artsformation, the projects and events held as part of the project, and further ideas regarding how to encourage inclusive digital transformation. Furthermore, it presents some of the next steps for the Artsformation project, asking “How can the arts and technology facilitate a future beyond the nation-state?”

Three years of exploring inclusive digital transformation

The overall aim of the Artsformation project has been to explore the intersection between arts, society, and technology to facilitate a better understanding of how we may analyse and promote the ways in which the arts can reinforce the social, cultural, economic, and political benefits of digital transformation. Furthermore, the project aimed to make meaningful contributions towards addressing some of the more pressing concerns in relation to the arts and digital transformation, by denouncing them and providing a platform to disrupt the status-quo towards a more inclusive and humane digital transformation in Europe.