Supported by:

Partners coming together for digital co-creations:

Theme for 2020-2021: Migrations

Context:

At a time when new digital technologies are opening up a world of possibilities for creativity and storytelling, we’re witnessing the emergence of a new creative industry dedicated to digital mediationand cultural innovation,built upon digital installations and experiences designed to create a bridge between visitors and cultural institutions.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, video projections, binaural sound, and interactive devices…. Together, these technologies are used in a wide variety of devices and experiences in situto enhance the way people access culture and help raise awareness of culture. The type of technology applied is a vehicle for interaction, immersion, emotions, and transmission, and the way the message reaches and engages its audience is reinventing the user experience (UX) in museums, heritage sites, and educational centers.

Numerous European creative studios and production companies are increasingly sought after for their skills and knowledge. Museums, heritage sites, and cultural institutions are expressing new needs, and are producing, co-producing or inventing new ways of mediation which are more immersive than ever before. We no longer access culture like we did in the past. The digital transformation has changed the way we use technology, and cultural offerings must follow in this same direction. This combination of culture, storytelling, and technology is where the future of cultural accessibility and knowledge sharing lies for future generations. The PiXii& Co incubator aims to increase skills sharing between European digital culture market players and to develop a transnational network of companies, cultural institutions and content creators who are ready to create

and seize new opportunities and new ways of sharing culture with as many people as possible. Its collaborative model also encourages new financing and distribution models for digital co-creations.

Migrations represent both challenges and opportunities for Europe. The arrival of asylum seekers and migrants in the European Union, which peaked in 2015, required an EU response on a number of levels, politically and socially.

International migration and integration are highly timely and topical questions in a large number of countries across the world. Policies are not enough to make a great deal of difference to echoing the challenges, considerable benefits and positive outcomes that migration can generate.

That is the reason why it becomes ever so important to feed knowledge, culture, history, art and storytelling into the social and public debate. PiXii& Co has the ambition to voice the perspective of content creators on the migration issue, offering artistic reflection and solidarity, promoting the value of co-creation and synergy, building a forum for free expression and narrative digital experiences on this universal issue.

It gives selected creators and partner museums the means to produce new storytelling opportunities around the theme of migrations, reaching out and captivating audiences in a new way.

The long-term aim is to:

Provide support to European companies in the industry who are looking to develop internationally, helping them gain capacity building, access to new markets and foster international co-productions,

Foster collaborations between innovative companies and cultural institutions in Europe.

And finally, promote European cultural institutions’ expertise, and values such as tolerance, openness, diversity and inclusion.

Strategy:

Over the course of three co-creation workshops, PiXii& Co shall gather together European and Canadian digital creators (new media producers, digital artists, digital content producers, installation creators, exhibition designers, creative studios), to collaborate on and co-create a digital installation designed for museums and cultural institutions on the theme of migrations.

During this co-creation experience, the group will learn how to best use new technologies to narrate an enticing, modern story and offer an attractive user experience, all under the guidance of a mentor. Over the course of the workshops, the participants shall be invited to form multi-disciplinary, transnational co-creation teams and present definitive proposals for partner museums.

The collaborative projects will undergo several accelerator stages. Designed and supervised by the mentor, each stage enables participants to meet with renowned experts from different domains (arts, technology, museums, cultural mediation), as well as providing research and testing opportunities in relation to the new digital tools’ uses.

The theme of this first edition being “Migrations”, we’ll include in the process the voices and points of view of either digital creators with a migrant background or representatives of migrants, to feature real experiences, real stories and real inspiration for the co-creation path.

PiXii and Co is responsible to establish the tools for capacity building and to provide the best guidance, advice, and support to the participants towards the realization of projects prototypes. Then, depending on each project’s production costs and additional funds available, some concepts may be brought to completion and exhibited in one (or several) PiXii& Co partner museums.

The programme’s unique quality and novelty:

PiXii& Co’s innovative dynamic is based on the principle of co-creation, which is injected into every week-long workshop, encouraging valuable exchanges with the experts and other participating creators. This collaboration shall take place at important milestone in the projects. The content of the workshops and experts’ contributions shall be guided by a mentor, Dominic Desjardins, who shall be in charge of the projects’general coordination. Dominic Desjardins is an interactive producer at Zazie Films (Canada), who has solid experience in producing artistic mediation installations for museums, and in mentoring co-creation workshops and hackathons.

Publish a targeted call for participants: The first stage of PiXii& Co is to launch a call for participants. Co-drafted with partners, it shall be published via each partner’s national and European networks. Sunny Side of the Doc/PiXii shall make use of its network of industry professionals from creative studios and museums who have previously taken part in its annual events. Créatis and 2K Films will also do the same via their own networks, to increase the diversity and range of profiles applying. Festivals such as Mutek_IMG in Canada will also share this opportunity amongst its network of digital artists and studios.

The participants selected by a jury will thus benefit from unrivaled support and expertise from those in the fields of audiovisual development, storytelling and production (2KFilms), connection between cultural and creative industries and stakeholders (Créatis), and digital mediation, cultural innovation and content distribution (Sunny Side of the Doc and PiXii).

The aim of this collaboration between international industry actors is to mobilize experts active in their respective domains, giving them the role of accelerators. Over the space of approximately one year, they shall provide support in the technical, creative and financial conception of four to six innovative and immersive digital device projects. The number of projects incubated remains limited. The reason being that the main importance of such a transnational co-creation process is to be able to provide and maintain individual guidance and support to a small number of project managers with strong potential, and to genuinely facilitate their completion. Over time, PiXii& Co intends to create a permanent network uniting creators looking to expand internationally and international experts and museums able to act as mentors to a growing number of innovative projects in immersive and/or interactive storytelling designed for heritage and cultural mediations devices.

Search for partner museums and cultural institutions to support and benefit from the PiXii& Co program.

From the offset of the initiative, Sunny Side of the Doc/PiXii, Créatis and 2K Films, together with Mutek, will work together to unite a group of European museums and exhibiting centers who are likely to:

Provide support based on the project theme, by providing resources from documentaries/archives/collections or expertise on the subject.

Take part in one of three PiXii& Co workshops as speakers.

Facilitate the logistics around one of the three PiXii& Co workshops (venues, accommodation, technical supplies…)

Sponsor an award for the prize winner (in cash or in kind)

Invest in one of the creative concepts, becoming one of the co-producers or co-exhibitors of the work.

Partner museums / cultural institutions will be influential and play an active role in the building and strengthening of an emerging network of international digital culture stakeholders/institutions and more broadly, a community of professionals involved in digital mediation and innovative cultural content supporting the principle of information sharing, co-creation, co-production, and co-distribution synergies.

This status of “Partner Museum / Institution” will open opportunities in terms of communication and visibility on promotional material (web and print) during the course of the action. Such partners will benefit from privileged access to information on the incubator process and transnational creative teams involved at different stages.

The museums / cultural institutions who have already expressed an interest include:

The BnF, which will provide resources and specialist documentation on the theme of migrations.

The Musée de l’Homme, which is preparing an exhibition entitled “Frontières” (Borders) for 2021.

The MUCEM

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg

The Onassis Foundation

Updates from the different stages will be shared during various festivals, such as PiXii in La Rochelle, Mutek_IMG in Montreal.

Activity rollout:

The incubator will gather together 12 creative participants from different artistic domains and new technologies/new media, such as: virtual reality, augmented reality, multimedia/multiplatform storytelling, digital art, video mapping, interactive technology, spatial sound design, lighting, animation, scenography/museography, etc.

Together, this group of new media talent shall share their ideas and knowledge. They shall be supervised by a mentor, Dominic Desjardins, who will share key learnings and organize three week-long workshops for them, during which renowned experts in specialist fields shall also take part. They may be experts on the theme or on new technologies, or even curators, exhibition designers, museum installation designers or digital artists, together with invited digital artists with migrant background.

The creative teams shall come together freely, the only rule applied is that teams must be transnational, at least two different countries must be represented. The digital devices resulting from the first PiXii& Co incubator session should be based on the theme of “Migrations”, taking inspiration from information included in the “Content Packages” shared with all participants. At the end of the program, one project will be supported through a phase of financing and production to come up with a digital creation prototype as a goal. We will follow up on the other incubated projects toward their development, production and potential installation in one or several PiXii& Co partner museums or institutions.

1st workshop: “Creativity Blitzes” and updates on the cultural and Creative Industries context – during Sunny Side of the Doc/PiXiiJune 2020 in La Rochelle, France.

The first stage features a series of “Creativity Blitzes” whose aim is to foster creativity amongst the 12 selected participants. The workshop shall be structured as a series of creative exercises with thematic constraints or formats corresponding to the various digital devices which may be developed as part of PiXii& Co (VR, AR, video mapping, connected devices, AI interactions…). The initial stage shall focus on ideas-building exercises, to encourage skills and knowledge synergies amongst the creators at the incubator. This shall enable operational collaborations to take place more quickly amongst participants when partner museums submit their specifications.

The other part of this first week-long gathering is to acquire professional skills that will help participants better understand the industry and the world of entrepreneurship in Cultural and Creative Industries.

Encourage synergies and collaborations between:

Creators

Creators and museums

Creators and experts in innovative immersive technologies

Creators and specialists on the theme from various domains (journalists, philosophers, poets, migrants’ first-hand experiences, etc.).

During the first session, the creative teams shall be formed freely, the only rule applied is that teams must be transnational, at least two different countries must be represented. After the workshop, teams shall continue to work together freely and be in constant contact with Dominic Desjardins, resulting in each team presenting one project.

The second workshop shall then be developed to best meet each project’s specific expectations and needs.

2nd workshop: Storytelling and Accelerating projects development – Brussels and Namur, Belgium / November 2020.

The second stage focuses on accelerating and developing, providing individual, tailor-made support to the chosen projects regarding the technological format, the storytelling style and the fitting to cultural exhibitions’ constraints.

Each of the projects shall delve deeper into the social, historical and geopolitical issues surrounding the theme of “Migrations”, depending on the approach adopted by the aforementioned projects. New specialists in mediation, scenography and technical solutions shall assist the creative teams to help increase visitor engagement regarding their projects.

The workshop will end with a matchmaking session and pre-organized one to one meetings with decision-makers and heads of cultural sites, in attendance at the KIKK Festival. This step is important to gather concrete feedback from the industry and measure the interest from international cultural stakeholders in investing or co-producing certain co-created projects. A debrief will place after the meetings, enabling creators to effectively adjust the creative approach and financing strategy before the last workshop of the program. This stage will also be an occasion for a marketing campaign targeting the networks of all partners involved, in the ways mentioned earlier: social media, websites, newsletters, but also via talks at conferences organized by partner events.

3rd stage: Synergies and Strategies to put projects forward– Athens, Greece // January 2021

The third stage focuses on production strategies and synergies. This shall all be done in cooperation with the managers and exhibition production specialists from the host museum in Greece. This event shall be the opportunity to test other working hypothesis and economic models by looking for additional opportunities: co-productions, resource sharing, crowdfunding, touring projects or exhibitions… These are various opportunities which are designed to encourage installations to circulate and tour different sites, and giving smaller sites who may have financial restrictions the chance to access and showcase such installations.

At this advanced stage, the projects will be pitched in front of an audience of international decision-makers and heads of cultural sites.

An international jury of experts shall be put in place to select the digital project with best potential to receive guidance and expert advice from Dominic Desjardins. This prize shall be enriched by others endowments through sponsorship and a partnership with the crowdfunding platform Kiss Kiss Bank Bank. Partners museums and cultural institutions will be given the opportunity, at this stage, to engage a co-production partnership with one of the incubated projects.

Final stage: Reporting and project results – Sunny Side of the Doc/PiXiiJune 2021 in La Rochelle, France.

The 2021 edition of Sunny Side of the Doc/PiXii Festival will feature, with the support of PiXii& Co partners, a special event designed to present overall feedback and share the results achieved by the emerging projects from PiXii& Co. The opportunity to renew and extend its scope to a larger European scale will ensue from the results.

Depending on how far advanced the project prototypes are, a showcase shall be planned as part of the PiXii Festival demonstration area. In the best-case scenario, the winning and supported digital installation will be inaugurated and opened to the general public at the confirmed partner museum in Greece. An optimal success that cannot be guaranteed through the course of the action, but the best guidance provided to both partners and candidates should enable this positive result.
The ability to move all or part of the winning installation for the aim of international touring and co-exploitation of the work will be considered in its design.

TIME LINE

November 2019 / February 2020: Research and finalize partnerships; draft “Content Packages” based on the theme; design three workshops; communications/distribution strategy.

December 2019: Make Media Kit available and open PiXii& Co website hub.

January 2020 : Finalise Call for Concepts: Rules, Process, Criteria…

March 2020: Press release for the launch of the initiative and publish the call for European and Canadians candidates. The registration form shall be centralized on the official website.

April 2020: Select and announce chosenparticipants.

June 2020: The program’s 1st workshop shall take place before Sunny Side of the Doc/PiXii in La Rochelle.

August 2020: Promote PiXii& Co program during Mutek_IMG Festival in Montreal.

July – September 2020: Develop and submit projects lead by trans-national creative teams.

November 2020: The program’s 2nd workshop in Brussels, Masterclass and matchmaking session during the KIKK Festival in Namur.

January 2021: The program’s 3rd workshop in Athens, related to the partner museum in Greece. Last pitch session, best project selected by an expert jury. 

January- June 2021: The team behind the winning project receives guidance, coaching, and support by Dominic Desjardins.

June 2021: Reporting on PiXii& Co results and dissemination. Prototype(s) showcased during Sunny Side of the Doc/PiXiiFestival 2021 in La Rochelle.

August 2021: Communications and dissemination campaign at Mutek_IMGfestival in Montréal.

September 2021: End of the action.

September / November 2021: Report of the action to the EACEA Culture.