July 3 2024

The New European Bauhaus: a visionary blueprint of the future

The Policy Lab gathered CCI experts from different fields of expertise and from all over Europe
By Siepke van Keulen

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) is more than just an initiative—it’s a movement aimed at creating a better future for all of us. By bringing together science, technology, art, and culture, the NEB tackles some of today’s biggest challenges: making our environment sustainable, promoting social inclusivity, and improving our quality of life. At ekip´s Policy Lab on NEB the participants discussed how to leverage the Cultural and Creative Industries for a sustainable and inclusive green transition.

The chosen theme for ekip’s second Policy Lab was the NEB, which was ideally timed with the NEB festival to combine lessons of the NEB initiative and to start the discussion about policy recommendation on the CCI and green transition, reflecting the urgent need for sustainable development.

The Policy Lab gathered CCI experts from different fields of expertise and from all over Europe. Laura Galante from the organization of the event shared:

“What’s really wonderful is seeing just how many people are interested in our processes and from such a variety of countries and backgrounds, and different sectors”.

With such a diverse group of people it created the ideal environment for the Policy Lab to dive into the goal of ekip, which is to guide the development of innovation policy and innovation ecosystems to better include and support CCIs. The input of participants in the lab will feed into the ekip Engine and help form policy recommendations and practical guidelines on how to do this.

Highlighting Local and Bottom-Up Approaches

Participants at the Policy Lab discussed various strategies to foster community engagement, environmental stewardship, and economic resilience. The significance of local and bottom-up approaches was also a key topic of debate among the participants. To start off the discussion, Majken Kalhave, CEO of Creative Denmark, delivered an inspiring talk on the crucial role of CCI in the green transition, drawing from the experiences at BLOX, the Danish NEB hub. Kalhave stressed the importance of creativity in fostering sustainability and enhancing quality of life, while also maintaining a strong sense of community and belonging.

She emphasized that “the CCIs are an unparalleled, human-centred approach to innovation”.

The bottom-up approach is essential, considering that the creative practitioners, researchers and developers in the CCI are all also part of political action.

As an Associate Professor of Transformative Imagination Joost Vervoort said:

“All these roles are much more fluid than they seem”. This reflection on the potential of multidisciplinary work also further supports the potential of intersectional exchange in the future for policy development. He said: “There are many people who work in government, who yearn to be more creative with their work and to understand that their work adds to societal creativity.”

Impression of results from the policy lab

The Broader Impact of the New European Bauhaus

As the NEB highlights and advocates for the role of the CCIs in the green transition, and aims to create spaces that are beautiful, functional, environmentally responsible, and socially inclusive, and also, the integration of NEB adds a powerful context to green transition. With NEB festival just concluded the Policy Lab gathered themes of NEB and expertise to stimulate exchange and discussion.

Lucy von Sturmer, CEO and founder of Creatives for Climate:

“We spoke a lot about the potential of creatives to reframe climate challenges as communications challenges and actually the balance of that opportunity between you’ve got individuals and also agencies within the industry that want to transition and you’ve got lots of climate causes needing that talent and those skills and viewpoints.”

Rethinking Success in Green Transition

A major takeaway from the Policy Lab was the call to rethink how we drive sustainability and improve quality of life without compromising a sense of belonging in the green transition. Potential areas for change include innovative design, greener cities, sustainable production, and creating compelling narratives to influence behavior. Kalhave also emphasized the economic impact of CCIs and the need to measure their influence on green transition and innovation across various sectors. Her mantra “make the sustainable choice, the irresistible choice” encapsulated this shift in perspective.

This encapsulation of the potential CCIs was further addressed in break-out groups. One of the participants, professor Florian Schneider of Art Academy at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology  shared that from the discussion during the Policy Lab it is clear that to incubate success for the CCI in the green transition, the potential for knowledge development and specific potentials and capacities and capabilities of the CCI are equally important, as is what other sectors do.

“We need to question traditional or conventional models of innovation that are translated from the field of engineering and technology into our sector and we need to seize the opportunity to rethink innovation.”

The exchange during Policy Lab has shown that the NEB is a visionary blueprint for a future where sustainability, beauty, and inclusivity go hand in hand. Innovation that is already underway and the further potential for innovation are all part of the next steps for policy in the CCI.

The knowledge gathered during the NEB Policy Lab will form the basis for the policy recommendation that will be developed by the ekip experts in the following months. This recommendation will be presented to the European Commission and will form a base for the policy innovation and  knowledge exchange that ekip aims to stimulate.


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