On 22nd June 2022, a small team gathered in Budapest to pitch their proposal for becoming the new Knowledge and Innovation Community for Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries – EIT Culture & Creativity – in front of the EIT Governing Board.
But this was far from the beginning.
As Professor Nektarios Tavernarakis, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, reminded us in his opening speech at the EIT Culture & Creativity Moonshot event, our history goes back to the dawn of time. Europe’s cultural legacy has shaped our world and still inspires hearts and minds beyond borders. Culture and creativity breathe life into ideas, envision new perspectives, and fearlessly challenge boundaries.
Language conveys the millennia-old conviction that art and craftmanship (technē, in Greek) are the basis of technology. History shows that there is more in common between art, science, creativity and innovation than meets the eye.
Yet it has taken decades to find the magic combination of change-makers to mobilize European organisations to realise a concerted support to Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI).
Dr. Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament, reminded us who these change-makers are and the risks they have taken to push boundaries. A risk may be collaborating with unlikely partners (his words, not mine!), like when Dr. Ehler and French MEP Pervenche Berès, despite opposing political positions, joined forces more than a decade ago, to explore the same question: What is creativity in Europe?
Some risks materialize in persisting with seemingly obscure ideas until they reveal their true potential. Adrienn Kiraly, former cabinet member of Commissioner Navracsics1, exemplified this by championing an innovative vision.
Personal, professional, and political capital are often at stake when taking risks. Commissioner Carlos Moedas2 risked it in integrating these new ideas into EU research policy; and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel3 invested it in fighting for fair budgets.
Sometimes the risk is to be the lone voice willing to keep the conversation alive, as Manuel Heitor4did when the idea of a new Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) on Culture & Creativity was presented to European research ministers.
The story of EIT Culture & Creativity is one of champions who believed that risks are worth taking, and who recognized that CCSI are a force for change. Dr. Ehler aptly states that we need to be flexible and adventurous when it comes to culture and creativity, as not everything will thrive, but “everything will be amazing.”
Fast-forward to June 2023: EIT Culture & Creativity is no longer just an idea; it is a vibrant reality.
As a growing Knowledge and Innovation Community, trust is the prerequisite for success, as emphasized by Dr. Daria Tataj, Chairwoman of the EIT Culture & Creativity Supervisory Board, in her opening speech of the Moonshot event. Trust enables Innovation Communities to address the needs and challenges of each organization within the ecosystem, benefiting the entire community. It empowers us to tackle the significant challenges that no individual or organization can face alone. Dr. Tataj reminded us that in the Dutch language, challenge does not mean a difficulty but an exciting journey ahead.
Are we inviting you to join us on an exhilarating journey to the Moon? Absolutely.
Piloting this rocket is Bernd Fesel, Chief Executive Officer of EIT Culture & Creativity.
He champions a strong vision of cohesion, collaboration, and inclusivity. There are no boundaries that cannot be crossed, no gaps that cannot be bridged. We can all come together, learn how to collaborate in radical new ways and cross-fertilise to create new encounters and opportunities: the small and the big, the for-profit and the non-profit. Technological, artistic, and social driven innovation can coexist and synergise in harmony.
As it rolls out its activities in 2024, EIT Culture & Creativity will launch the Engagement Forum, an online community that fosters connection, exchange, and growth within our trusted network. We will activate and celebrate the champions supporting culture and creativity from the Investment and Policy arenas. Together, we will strive for a Next Renaissance, inviting people from all walks of life to join us on this transformative journey and amplifying our message beyond our community.
This is an open innovation community supported by a learning and integral organisation. Join us as we lay the foundations for a brighter future.
Let’s aim for the moon together!
Piece written by Patricia Castillo, interim Chief Communication and Engagement Officer of EIT Culture & Creativity, 13 June 2023
This is the first of a series of six posts reflecting on the EIT Culture & Creativity Moonshot Event held in Brussels on 30 May 2023.
You may see the full recordings of the event and gallery of pictures here:
Factsheets with detailed information about EIT Culture & Creativity, Membership schemes, Governance structure, Investment Club and Policy Club are available for downloading: https://eit-culture-creativity.eu/factsheets/
We thank wholeheartedly our collaborators:
Blanche Ellis (Blancheillustrates.com) for the graphic recording. Alexis Haulot for the pictures. QED team for the audiovisual support. Lukas Belting for the animations. AC Coppens for the hosting and moderation.
1 Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport 2014-2019
2 European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation 2014-2019
3 Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport 2019-2023
4 Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education (2015-2022)