'Creativity, Interdisciplinarity, Innovation, Design and Fun' - these are the words that participants of our joint event with RegionArts project associate with 'Arts and ICT'. The online event 'Boosting Innovation through Arts and ICT' took place on 14th October as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities programme.

Both arts and ICT are highly creative and innovative disciplines and when they come together they can create a lot of synergies providing us with attractive and advanced responses to our problems or needs. This have become even more apparent in the current pandemic situation, when creativity and technology are playing an immense role in adapting to the challenges that the disease and its spread-control measures are throwing at us - from safe and reliable track & trace systems, clear dynamic information and communication, efficient and understandable ways of controlling the flow of people to simply connecting us and providing ways to learn, work and entertain.

Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs) will also play a key role in terms of reshaping traditional sectors in the direction of specific technological megatrends such as customization and high personalization in products, processes and services crossed with socio-economic-political megatrends such as globalization, demographic shifts and circular economy, innovative knowledge about the markets, definition of high-immersivity experiences, communication the products added value.

In recent years, European policy is increasingly embracing  CCIs as horizontal enablers of innovation with a strong social impact and positive effects across all sectors of the economy. During the event three speakers moderated by Chiara Frencia from Startup Europe Regions Network shared their experiences and fantastic cases of good practices in regional and national initiatives supporting the development of digital innovation and creativity.

Ana Fonseca from Porto Design Factory at Porto Polytechnic summarized the interregional learning phase of RegionArts project presenting a number of inspiring initiatives such as Cultuur Eindoven which stimulates multi-disciplinary collaborations between artists and creatives focusing on societal issues. Representing our project, Anna Whicher from PDR at Cardiff Metropolitan University focused on Design4Innovation Action Plans that are already being implemented with examples of Valletta Design Cluster, Latvian Design Voucher or Galician Design for Innovation 2020 programme. Strategies of art thinking in the context of technology was the crux of Veronika Liebl's presentation. Director of European Cooperation at Ars Electronica Linz, a hub of digital arts, technology, society and education, shared examples of collaborations between artists, scientists, engineers and researchers supported through Horizon 2020 project START (Science, Technology & the Arts) aiming to develop more creative, inclusive, and sustainable technologies.

"Digitalisation and technology are driving innovation in the current Covid-19 pandemic but without user-centred design these solutions won't be desirable or feasible. It is important for design champions to engage with the European Commission to demonstrate how design aligns with their innovation priorities and the Renovation Wave for Europe." 
Dr Anna Whicher

The event proved that the potential use of digital communication and information technologies and the role of arts in them is immense - it can catalyse economy, support social policy, improve sustainability and drive education. It is time to maximise this potential by strengthening collaboration, sharing knowledge and designing forward-thinking policies and support programmes.

The recording of the event is available at the EU Regions Week website.