Published: 20 April 2022
Open Call | RESISTANCE: Decolonising Europe’s Digital Transformation
ARTSFORMATION invites you to apply to the RESISTANCE Residency hosted in Lesvos-Greece. The Residency will bring together professionals from the fields of art, culture and creative industries in a dedicated space where they can express their voices in shaping the future of Europe’s digital transformation through their practice. The Residency will enable multidisciplinary creative professionals to challenge established power structures and empower the communities they serve in cohesively responding to 21st Century digital transformation challenges.
These are testing times for our European community. As we are slowly emerging from years-long lockdowns, it is becoming evident that during the pandemic, governments chose to support corporations and the financial elite rather than communities and people. Together with vulnerable and marginalized communities, the virus also decimated the capacity of arts and culture empowering them to rise. For the first time since World War II, arts and culture practices had to shut their doors, postpone projects, cancel events, and purge frontline services for socio-economically excluded groups who do not have means to alternatives.
The dispersion to our homes gradually gave way to segregation, and the hopes that the pandemic could act as a change agent quickly gave way to the reality that it acted like an accelerant. We had to learn how to make the economy run without being in the office, and work from home accelerated six years. Students had to learn without showing up in class, and remote education accelerated eight years. Citizens’ needs had to be met remotely, and online public services accelerated ten years. Every facet of our lives experienced profound digital transformations, however the digital literacies and competences which were critical for maintaining equitable outcomes, were unequally distributed across Europe’s citizens.
A selected few, expanded the privileges that position them at the helm of society, creating asymmetrical capacities between citizens living not just in different European countries, but across neighborhoods, communities and streets. In the name of public health, adversary forces who have long fought against democracy, freedom, equality, human rights and dignity, found an opportunity to curb civil rights and freedoms, turning our continent, communities and commons into civic deserts. Citizens were forced into their homes, and their only domain of resistance became the digital sphere. Established power structures took advantage of the civic vacuum left by the digital transformation and colonized the opportunities for change. ARTSFORMATION seeks to change this narrative.
We strive to support, enable and develop the capacity of arts and culture practitioners, researchers and frontline operatives to respond effectively and decisively to the challenges that society’s digital transformation created for Europe’s citizens and communities, particularly those with a vulnerable, marginalised and socio-economically excluded background. We believe that arts & culture have the capacity to invigorate communities and civil society into creating a united advocacy front strengthening active citizenship and social cohesion at a community and European level. This is a moment of opportunity to systemically reconstruct a resilient civic fabric and shared democratic space, capable of inducing systemic change and reframing the present narrative of survivability to one of sustainability and resilience.
We believe that arts & culture have the capacity to invigorate communities and civil society into creating a united advocacy front strengthening active citizenship and social cohesion at a community and European level.
Through this open call ARTSFORMATION invites multidisciplinary and diverse professionals from the arts, culture and creative industries to become part of this vision, by joining the RESISTANCE Residency. The residency offers a safe space of encounter, dialogue and co-creation for the birth of an ecosystem that amplifies the voices of artists and cultural practitioners, and returns power to excluded communities for the purpose of systemically changing the digital hierarchies that deprive them from access, opportunity and means.
RESISTANCE residents will be invited to collaboratively ideate and co-create unconventional training tools for peers, policy makers, businesses, and the public to tackle digital and social inequalities arising from the digital transformation. Further, residents will engage in participatory action, peer learning, and civic engagement as mechanisms for social change. This will help in streamlining the formation and mobilisation of a European artistic community which proactively responds to the challenges of the digital transformation. Each residency cycle concludes with a public exhibition in Lesvos, where the artistic outputs, tools, and toolkits developed will be presented to key stakeholders and the public.