Reflection 11.04.2023

The power of the citizens: Nouveaux Commanditaires Network

The three partners Concomitentes (Spain), De Nieuwe opdrachtgevers/Les Nouveaux Commanditaires (Belgium) and La Societé de les Nouveaux Commanditaires (France) operate under this methodology.

The project ‘Art Living Lab for Sustainability’ addresses the Innovation target to enhance the capacity of European cultural and creative sectors to nurture talents, to innovate, to prosper and to generate jobs and growth. Addresses also the priority of Sustainability, claiming culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development. 

The role of art and culture is one of the main keys against climate change. Re naturalizing the relationships of the human being with the non-human and the planet itself requires new points of view and different approaches, especially those what are based on participatory mechanisms. 

Spread out democracy is also a role of culture, new ethics and values must be generated that unite communities and give them strength to face the global challenges. Bottom-up strategies such as living labs represent an opportunity for art to generate spaces for greater interaction with society.

This has been the objective, for more than 30 years, of the Nouveaux Commanditaires network, an informal network on an European scale to which different independent associations and countries have been linked and which today recognizes more than 500 projects throughout Europe.

The three partners Concomitentes (Spain), De Nieuwe opdrachtgevers/Les Nouveaux Commanditaires (Belgium) and La Societé de les Nouveaux Commanditaires (France) are recognized agents that operate under this methodology.

Based on the methodology devised by the artist François Hers, different initiatives have emerged in recent years that seek to facilitate access to culture by citizens, putting them at the centre of artistic creation and giving them tools to carry out their own initiatives. 

The potential of communities

European culture will be more relevant when it increases its social value. The role of culture in our century is to create more inclusive communities and generate citizen agency, demonstrating that citizens, with the support of technical staff and artistic agents, can solve local challenges themselves, that at the same time are global. 

In ‘Art Living Lab for Sustainability’ project hubs of co-creation will be generated, where mediators play a relevant role, as they act as innovation catalysts, their listening and crossing capacity will allow a reading of a citizen demand on an environmental challenge.

An artist will co-create an artistic work in response to that citizen desire. The cross innovation that is generated in the process, as well as all those participation protocols, such as user-design, or facilitation tools can be useful, due to their high degree of experimentation, for other areas, such as social innovation or the grassroots.  

‘Art Living Lab for Sustainability’ seeks to create a collaboration process at a European level enhancing artistic and cultural cooperation, favoring the exchange of knowledge and professionals in the cultural/artistic sector and promoting innovation through an innovative practice and methodology.