To Cross Borders: A Summary of the Art + Design + Science Project

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How to face the challenges of the modern world and find the answer to current problems? Combining science, design, and art! The organizers, experts, and participants of the first edition of the Art + Design + Science program made such an attempt. The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) was one of the project partners.

“It’s absolutely critical that we rely on science, art, and design. This is not just a more modern approach. Simply put, if we want to cross borders, this is elementary,” says Dr. Michele Armano from the European Space Agency, one of the experts involved in the project.

Interdisciplinarity is the foundation of the Art + Design + Science 2019 artistic residency program, developed and organized by Science Now, a Polish strategic design studio. The first pilot edition of this project lasted eight weeks and created a platform for the development and cooperation of 24 young artists with 16 recognized Polish and foreign mentors and scientific experts. Over 15 scientific, cultural, and creative institutions and organizations were involved in the project.

“Since its inception, the FNP supports innovative projects. Hence why we joined this project. We believe that groundbreaking ideas, discoveries, and solutions arise on the confluence of various fields, and that at their foundation lie human creativity and curiosity. These are the values that determine the strength of humanity, and they should be cultivated,” says Dr. Tomasz Perkowski, Vice President of the FNP Board.

The subject of the Art + Design + Science program were four issues that stimulate thinking about contemporary challenges: climate emergency, spaceship Earth, AI for good, and city of sounds. Program participants were divided into four interdisciplinary groups, bringing together scientists, engineers, designers, musicians, architects, programmers, and artists. They combined their diverse knowledge, experience, and competences to develop new concepts in defined areas. Their search was supported by mentors and scientific experts, including the – associated with the FNP – geographer and polar explorer Dr. Matt Strzelecki, astronomer Prof. Maciej Konacki, an expert in artificial intelligence Prof. Aleksandra Przegalińska, and architect Adam Białobrzeski. They gave inspirational presentations during the inauguration of the program, which happened at the FNP headquarters.

“For me, the greatest value of Art + Design + Science is the opportunity to deal with the process of breaking down barriers and teaching openness. It would be great if such experiences could be shared by the widest possible audience. The observation of interdisciplinary interactions that emerged during the program aroused my curiosity. The experience I gained inspired me to initiate a project, which I implemented together with specialists from outside my current area of cooperation,” says Adam Białobrzeski from the FAAB studio, who served as a mentor for a group dealing with the city of sounds challenge.

“We wanted to provide participants with space to work on bold and unconventional ideas. We created a safe environment for this, invited great mentors, and gave participants the freedom to search and experiment,” add Łukasz Alwast and Jan Pomierny, co-creators of the program from the Science Now studio.

“The whole residence program was for me a time of inspiring conversations, discussions, work, creation, disputes, finding solutions, and learning. I naturally follow the opportunities that appear on my way to gain new experiences, develop, learn, and meet new people, and participation in the Art + Design + Science project was a combination of all this. Working in an interdisciplinary team with the support of mentors from the world’s best centers often resulted in very unconventional ideas! During the trial, the team created the Gallivanter project, which refers to the connection of people with nature and the cosmos. I am proud of this and fully identify with it,” says Maria Baczewska, one of the participants of the program.

The results of works in the form of “creative prototypes” are available at:

“The level of complexity of the problems we need to address requires many competences. I believe that if we really want to deepen our understanding of the world, then the future will see the integration of science, engineering, and many other fields. Combining these different perspectives will be very helpful for all of us,” explains Michele Armano.

“We should remember that working in different areas, we also must learn about other perspectives, and thus constantly create new values that make us essentially better people,” sums up Prof. Mark McCaughrean from the European Space Agency.

Besides the FNP, the partners and substantive patrons of the project were leading Polish and foreign institutions, including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR), the Institute of Industrial Design (IWP), the Association of Graphic Designers (STGU), the Coalition for Polish Innovations (KPI), Polish Space Agency (POLSA), European Space Agency, and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

The project was organized by Science Now: a studio that specializes in strategic design, scientific communication, and the development of new business ventures on the confluence of science, education, art, and entertainment.

The pilot edition of the program was co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the creative sectors development program.

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