Monday 05

U19 – raising responsible innovators of tomorrow

Posted by Ecsite on 05 Dec 2016

Ars Electronica Center, Ars Electronica festival and above all the Futurelab are very good examples of artists and creators as stakeholders in RRI processes. This is something that has already been discussed in this blog. In its 37 years of life, the festival core mission has been to scrutinise the main issue of how society and technology influence each other and ever since, the Ars Electronica group keeps on developing new concepts and working in new processes to achieve this.

This forward-thinking attitude has resulted in the creation of a festival where children and teenagers can work together.  Every year a topic is defined and in 2016 youngsters were invited to “Save the World”. Children and teenagers were asked to playfully work on transforming what has become a place that is hostile to life into a thoroughly liveable habitat. By playing and doing instead of considering too big of a task and consequently being paralysed, kids of all ages approach to research and innovation with no fear. It is an open door for them to become informed and responsible citizens. Being responsible also means being entitled to find new solutions for all of our societal challenges. The more enjoyable we go about changing the world to make it better, the more diverse and more sustainable, the more meaningful, more inspiring and more rewarding it will be.

But this is not all, Ars Electronica has also set up a prize, the U19 prize were children and youngsters up to the age of 19 have the opportunity to imagine solutions for the world of tomorrow and to produce and present their concepts of and ideas for it.  As part of this prize and taking stock of their long lasting experience on the value of including artists and multidisciplinary teams in the RRI processes, Ars Electronica has set up the U19 agency. This agency acts as a facilitator for the children to understand the importance of being able to communicate their research and engage others, to learn the need to work collaboratively and the value of mutual learning. For the first time, winners of the u19 prize co-created together with the team the exhibition that showcased all the winners’ artefacts and inventions. They were also in charge of some of the visitors’ tours, being able to grasp why and how visitors are attracted to their work and together with them to devise improvements.

All in all, U19 is a great way of embedding RRI in the way children understand research, facilitating new ways of doing it and making children as responsible and capable of innovating as any other stakeholder.


Ecsite, the European Netwok of Science Centres and Museums in Brussels is responsible for the mapping of stakeholders in the RRI Tools project

Credit for the pictures: Tom Mesic 

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