Control, Refusal, Trust and Care bookcover
Waag Futurelab BY-NC-SA

Toolkit for making change in the cultural field

Working in the cultural field inherently comes with challenges. Are you working as an artist/designer/creative, dependent on the current techno-digital infrastructure? Are you a creative coder with a critical attitude towards algorithms and Big Tech’s social media? Or are you working in a cultural organisation or governmental institution and wondering what form of governance can be built that is based on trust in the digital era? This is a toolkit that will interest you! 

The toolkit details methods and strategies for changing and altering the conditions of cultural work. It is structured under five themes: REFUSAL, CONTROL, METHODS, TRUST, and CARE. It offers an exploration of projects that demonstrate how playful interventions reveal algorithmic control, how techno-solutionism and greenwashing can be refused, how to implement feminist design principles that resist harmful biases, how trust is performed to reimagine governance, and how considerations of care and self-organisation can allow greater accessibility to the arts through new forms of assembly. In their own ways, each project strives towards a practice of care. 

The toolkit is designed to operate on two levels. The first level focuses on how to develop programmes or rules of conduct, or how to challenge the status quo as cultural institutions or artists/collectives to work towards more just and fair futures. The second level offers ways to think about structural and systemic change at an institutional and sectoral level. 

The learnings this toolkit offers are distilled from the three cultural organisation partners in Horizon Europe 2020 project Artsformation: Waag Futurelab, FACT, and transmediale from 2020 to 2023. Within the Artsformation project, these cultural organisations investigated how the arts provide resources for tackling social inequalities and injustice, unequally distributed digital literacies, and threats to democracy and democratic processes – specifically as a consequence of digital transformation. 

Download the toolkit



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Artsformation has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 870726.