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Leeds joins European cultural innovation network

We are proud to announce that Leeds has been accepted to the Network for Innovations in Culture & Creativity in Europe (NICE) which is part of the European Centre for Creative Economy.

The network champions and promotes culture and arts led innovation across urban planning and development placing culture at the heart of how city’s develop and forming one of the first major acts of the city’s new Culture Strategy. The project aims to develop a European network based on local thinking and knowledge and will see Leeds share ideas and best practice with cities such as Bilbao in Spain, Essen in Germany and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The network also brings together artists and collectives including the ground-breaking artists led redevelopment of disused factories in Lisbon know as LX Factory; Comedia, Charles Landry’s international cultural agency; and BOP Consulting.

In addition to running an annual €20,000 prize for innovative uses of technologies in culture, the network also hosts conferences, workshops and seminars bringing together its members to consider the role of culture in developing the economy, supporting communities and overcoming environmental challenges. With a strong focus on the use of technology, its activities aim to bridge the disciplines of art, science and technology creating new products, services an innovation in culture.

This year’s award nominations include:

• Refugees Kitchen – a mobile kitchen, developed through collaboration between artists and refugees. It was planned, built and operated collectively and now travels from city to city, bringing people together through cooking & eating.

• Peace Builders – an innovative makerspace, developing digital literacy and 21st century skills among young people in the refugee camps in Lesbos, Greece, through science, technology, engineering, arts & making workshops, with the aim of empowering them to become tomorrow’s change-makers.

• OuiShare Fest – a unique and playful space for interaction, collaboration, and exploration. It is a three-day conference with a ’TED meets Burning Man feel’, as an attendee once described it, with a speaker line-up of known and undiscovered pioneers which promises to push you outside your comfort zone.

• URBANTIX – a project all about beat, speed and city heat. Authentic street arts – tricking, dance, parkour, biking and beat boxing – are combined with show artistry in one on- and off-stage concept. Breath-taking shows and a publicly accessible training centre for young street artists and their followers.

• Next Generation: Tales of Neto – A game which infolds in the fantasy world of Neto, destroyed by the effects of corruption, and our hero, Sevan, discovers a diary left by his grandfather, that holds the clue to the cause of the corruption many years ago. Players must solve the corruption problem to see the world blossom once again.

• Europe by People – The EU2016 arts & design programme ‘Europe by People, the Future of Everyday Living’ looked into contemporary social issues through arts and design, by providing solutions for everyday living and by being a canvas on which creatives and citizens painted a picture of Europe’s future.

• Empower Parents – Empower Parents is an educational community of families with children with ASD, professionals and cultural spaces. Through cooperative work among these agents, it seeks to make an impact in the community in order to raise social awareness regarding the reality of people with ASD.

• Do We Know Each Other? – an interdisciplinary project that works with and for people with dementia to improve their quality of life. 13 students and their co-designers (caregivers, relatives and/or people with dementia) developed products and services in a very close participatory design process.

• Oberhaus – an artistic approach to upgrading a neglected building and improving the housing situation in the city centre. It focuses on fostering intercultural dialogue between current and future neighbours to create a better life.

• Makeright Design Thinking for Prison Industries – Makeright introduces creativity/restorative processes to prison industries through design-thinking education. The reframing of inmates’ behaviour through the design of anti-theft bags is intended to make a social contribution by raising income for charity

We’re looking forward to seeing what Leeds can add to this exciting mix and showcasing our own arts, technology and science sectors.


Image: Refugee Kitchen.