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DigiArts


thumb digiarts.gifDevelopment of interdisciplinary activities in research, creativity and communication in the field of digital arts. 

Introduction

Digi-Arts project is one of UNESCO’s major initiatives aiming at the development of interdisciplinary activities in research, creativity and communication in the field of digital arts. It is expected to promote intercultural dialogue among specialists, artists, students, and teachers from different geo-cultural regions and further extend the regional practices of interdisciplinary research and creation. It will also allow developing countries to build and extend their own approaches in digital arts. Young digital creators will be encouraged to actively participate in Digi-Arts through competitions, forums and exhibitions under the guidance of leading experts and teachers.

Background

Education, science and culture are at the heart of the trend towards a knowledge society as are the media and information; this theme is fully addressed by and integrated into all UNESCO programmes through cross-cutting projects under the title “the contribution of information and communication technologies to the development of education, science and culture and the construction of knowledge society.” The goal of this crosscutting strategy is to show how the organization intends to provide coordinated responses, based on an interdisciplinary approach.

Information and communication technology opens up new horizons for progress and the exchange of knowledge, education and training, and for the promotion of creativity and intercultural dialogue. The opportunities to accomplish UNESCO’s core mission – to promote “the free exchange of ideas and knowledge” and to “maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge” – have possibly never been greater. These technologies could also help to strengthen social cohesion and reinforce the capacity for self-development of individuals and groups in all regions. Nevertheless, the growing digital divide is actually leading to greater inequalities in development. This is giving rise to paradoxical situations where those who have the greatest need for them – disadvantaged groups or even entire countries – do not have access to the tools which would enable them to become fully fledged members of the knowledge society.

Arab culture has historically had strong links between arts and sciences, which provide a foundation for the emergence of new developments in the future. Currently, very little is known about digital arts within the region. A Digital Art network connecting the Arab states in the region could enable artists to break the isolation and help them open new opportunities crossing country borders. Several aspects of the richness of Arab cultural expression could benefit from this new cultural space, especially in promoting creative participation of young people in social development.

The regional network is to stimulate and consolidate regional research, while focusing on culturally marginalized regions in the field of digital arts. The network should reflect and extend the region’s artistic and technological fields of practice, leading to the development of a trans-disciplinary discourse, which would:
- Identify the creative needs and aspirations of the region;
- Define requisite technological and informational tools and support;
- Promote the display and dissemination of research and works created in the region;
- Develop a dialogue and create interactive links with artists, research centers, etc;
- Identify possible business and governmental funding sources, and fellowships in institutions;
- Initiate events and instruments that alert the region to the digi-arts initiative.

Based on this guideline the regional network is to operate in tight collaboration with the UNESCO field coordination network. Two regional focal points, the Bangkok (Thailand) office and the Havana (Cuba) office, are to initiate establishing the main conceptual platform of regional research studies and meetings. The network of regional nodes will naturally develop and expand to other field offices to serve as privileged access points to the project and as active relays for demonstrations to local communities.

Though the network is to be global in scope, the programmes will be conceived in an adaptable manner, capable of being adjusted according to local socio-economic, cultural contexts and specific local needs, enabling developing countries to build their own approaches. The establishment of local infrastructure is vital for the development of the project, reaching to concrete results such as the creation of multi-media training centers which will simultaneously bear local and inter-regional operations.

Projects commissioned within the framework of digi-Arts

A database of regional key resources of historical developments and exemplary collaboration of arts and new technology will be built to provide the novice user with specialized information. In parallel with the database, the established network of research institutions, educational institutions, and artists is to create interactive links within and across regions, assisting the growth of the other potential networks.

A rich digital archive with a collection of online art works, publications, and with links to virtual exhibitions and other digital archives will operate as a reference directory to the users. The creative software repository with training tutorials will empower the worldwide public to get broader access to open source and free software. e-Learning seminars, especially dedicated to students for specialized training on digital arts practice, are to be online with a number of courses.

Planned Activities
- Extended services and increased representative ness of the current regional portal on digital arts,
- Promotion of digital arts at a major contemporary arts festival in the region through master classes to university students and an on-line tutorial on digital artworks.

Key Players
- UNESCO field offices
- Regional Office in Bangkok - Thailand
- Regional Office in Havana – Cuba
-

intercultural dialogue
arab states
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