By Eleanor Pender, UK Comms Future DiverCities
I’m standing next to a City Lights Device, a lamp with a round head and a handle. It flashes red, then pauses. Then red, then blue, quickly moving through a pattern of colours and tempos. At the end of the table another lamp flashes red, pauses. Then red, then blue, echoing the sequence only seconds after from a few metres away. I watch the two lamps chat to each other and I’m in a room surrounded by the partners for Future DiverCities, a four-year Creative Europe project with ten partners across Europe and Canada, all come together for the European project launch.
Working on Future DiverCities with ten partners, it is clear that each partner offers something unique to the project. 1D Lab (Saint-Etienne, France) is a tech start-up, pushing boundaries in digital innovation while exploring new economic models. CitiLab (Barcelona, Spain) is a city making agency, exploring cultural application of technology. BEK (Bergen, Norway) Kontejner (Zagreb, Croatia) La Chambre Blanche (Quebec, Canada) Seconde Nature (Aix en Provence, France) and ANTI Festival (Kuopio, Finland) are leaders in their fields as festivals and art centres at the centre of artistic interpretation and experimentation in new technologies, Public Art Lab (Berlin, Germany) an urban planning agency and experts in new media art and IT in urban spaces, Liepaja City Council (Liepaja, Latvia) with an innovative ‘creative economy’, establishing a virtual creative industry cooperation platform, and Superact, a social innovation company specialising in engaging with disadvantaged and disengaged communities to affect positive social change in health and wellbeing, skill development and community development.
Future DiverCities is a wonderfully creative and ambitious project, with partners working together in a creative network to encourage and support creativity, innovation, and art production within the cities and urban spaces of Europe and beyond. Seeing all the work created in Marseille first-hand, with hosts Seconde Nature and ZINC, it was wonderful to see so much creativity on the streets and in the urban spaces.
Just as the City Lights were chatting away and working with each other, this is entirely reminiscent of the Future DiverCities creative network. We have seen Digital Calligraffiti appear on screen simultaneously in Berlin and Marseille, and a City Lights Orchestra fill a public space, bringing the local community and more out to celebrate, and the first year, under the curated theme Future DiverCitizens, is not yet over with another exciting lab to come in Bergen from our Norwegian partners, BEK in May.
With three more years and so much creativity and enthusiasm, Future DiverCities will be a wonderful journey full of collaboration, cocreation and, at the centre, partnerships.
For more information on Future DiverCities, visit the project website futuredivercities.eu. You can read more about the Marseille lab work and the European Future DiverCities launch on the Future DiverCities website here.