CreaTures – Creative Practices for Transformational Futures is EU Horizon 2020 research project investigating the potential of creative practices in art, design, and related cultural fields to support positive eco-social change (a term that we use to signal an interlinked concern for ecological and social relations). The project responds to current social and environmental challenges and the urgent need to find new, more sustainable and nourishing ways of living and being together on our shared planet. Recognising that a major role in fostering this societal change is played by the cultural sector, CreaTures brings together diverse creative practices that aim to support eco-social change and examines their transformational processes and strategies.
The project sprouts from pilot research (Light, Wolstenholme and Twist, 2019) showing that creative practice has already demonstrated its transformational potential – for instance, by scaffolding people’s imaginations, providing equitable spaces for exploration and building new networks and capacities – but this potential has not been widely recognised. A central concern of the CreaTures project is to better understand the impacts of creative work that aims to question current everyday practices and create experiences for people of alternative, more sustainable and care-full, futures.
The three-year project (January 2020-December 2022) involves three interrelated components:
- Observatory, identifying and mapping existing, fragmented and often hidden transformational creative practices.
- Laboratory, supporting new experimentation and direct collaboration with diverse stakeholders, by mounting several different scales and types of creative arts production.
- Evaluation, testing new and existing creative practices for their impact, in a systematic and concerted way.
These components are interwoven with a series of engagement events enabling broad access to the evolving outcomes of the project for different groups, including policy actors, scientific community, and members of the public.
The project combines insights from these undertakings into an open-access, transdisciplinary, evidence-based framework demonstrating effective paths to achieving sustainability, social cohesion, and peaceful co-existence at a time of rapid change. The Open Creative Practice Framework (OCPF) that will be delivered at the end of the project will offer a strategic research agenda for key stakeholders, a set of innovations addressing the cultures and conditions for delivering greater sustainability, and policy recommendations to focus and optimise work in mobilizing the arts for transformational futures.
Our research and practice are led by the following questions:
- What are the specific qualities of transformational creative practices?
- How might artistic and transformational aspirations and aims be aligned in practice?
- What are the ways to measure and communicate the impact of such practices?
- How might we encourage and support future transformational creative practices from the individual to infrastructural level across Europe and beyond?
There are 11 partners in the CreaTures project, bringing together several organisations associated with creative approaches to transformation and sustainability. The CreaTures consortium involves creative practitioners working alongside researchers from social science, design, and sustainability science.