The ARS Electronica 2023 festival in Austria was a dynamic gathering of minds, featuring a multitude of sessions that explored a wide spectrum of themes. Among these, the session titled “Re-build together: digital, human, and arts-driven innovation in Africa” stood out as a significant highlight. This particular panel discussion, sponsored by Starts4Africa and AfriConEU, brought together a diverse group of experts to delve into the intricate theme.
The panel, featuring esteemed individuals including Chris Emezue of the Masakhane Project, David Shongo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gideon Brefo of hapaSpace Collaborative Hub in Ghana, Femi Johnson from Nigeria’s EMOWAA, and Michaela or Tammy from the Art Meets collective in South Africa, was expertly moderated by Tânia Moreira from Portugal, with Patrícia Carvalho taking on the role of the reporter. In this session, the panelists embarked on a journey to explore the multifaceted aspects of innovation in Africa, reflecting on how digital, human, and arts-driven innovation can collectively shape the continent’s future.
Each panelist kicked off with a single-word descriptor for crucial elements driving digital innovation, ensuring no duplication and offering comprehensive explanations. The discussion then delved into the unique innovation ecosystems of their respective countries, with a particular focus on the role of the arts within these ecosystems. This exploration illuminated the distinctive characteristics of each country’s innovation landscape and highlighted the pivotal role played by interdisciplinary collaboration. As the conversation progressed, the panelists shared their insights on the essential elements that could further strengthen their countries’ innovation ecosystems, emphasizing the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration between science, technology, and the arts.
Each panelist presented two key aspects that could foster this collaborative spirit, underscoring the need for holistic and inclusive approaches. In conclusion, the panelists offered valuable advice for individuals and organizations looking to engage with African ecosystems, emphasizing the significance of understanding local contexts, fostering genuine partnerships, and promoting initiatives that are both inclusive and sustainable.
While the session on “Re-build together: digital, human, and arts-driven innovation in Africa” was just one of the many enlightening sessions at the ARS Electronica 2023 festival, it played a pivotal role in highlighting the potential for transformative collaborations across diverse disciplines and regions. The festival, as a whole, provided a comprehensive and immersive experience for all attendees, fostering dialogue and cooperation at the intersection of art, technology, and innovation.