From observations to co-research: Analysing the CCIs resource systems and services according to the challenges and opportunities of the climate transition

Creative case studies allow in-depth, multi-faceted explorations of complex issues in their real-life settings. The value of the case study approach is well recognized in the fields of business, law and policy. In PACESETTERS it allows for a progressive analysis of advanced practices  across the CCIs by identifying and responding to critical challenges of the climate transition. 

Firmly rooted in the creative ecosystem approach, the creative case studies of PACESETTERS will investigate the current and potential interdependencies between stakeholders, networks and their collaborations. Supported by cross-disciplinary, collaborative co-research methodology, these case studies make explicit links between the status of resources or services and the impact of potentially disruptive innovation. 

The PACESETTERS creative case studies will identify and investigate advanced practices and models. In a second step they will be bundled across sectors to analyse CCI-specific opportunities that emerge from transition challenges. Bundling advanced practices that run across sectors into case studies and synthesising their outcomes into approaches implies higher levels of value created collectively relative to what individual actors can create in isolation. This allows for deliberate considerations of how to address conflicting value propositions while maintaining the integrity and functioning of a creative ecosystem as a whole. 

The third step is to document experiences, progress, achievements and success in ways that survey existing CCI capacities and identify gaps and needs. Specific research formats employed in the case studies include desk research, field trips, interviews, collaborative workshops and the presentation and dissemination of the results in scientific publications and conference presentations.

The creative case studies will encounter specific methodological challenges: They have to address contested and complex forms of data and evidence, identify and define shared terminologies and values across sectors and geographies, and recognise potentials from multiple or seemingly contradicting perspectives. Bearing in mind the tremendous challenges of the climate crisis specifically for the CCIs, the creative case studies will address cross-cutting challenges and focus on three main areas where the CCIs show potential to drive the climate transition: alternative modes and means of production, circulation and evaluation. 

1. Decentralized architectures: sustainable re-industrialization by translating avant-garde strategies into mainstream production

Driving the climate transition requires a shift from centrally planned and implemented to decentralized architectures distributed among federated nodes operating in a relative autonomy with respect to central authorities. Regenerative and renewable modes of production rely on distributed networks that operate in an interconnected but independent fashion. The result is not only greater resilience but a multiplication of creative business opportunities and realistic scenarios for the sustainable scaling of creative business models. Cases  might include investigations into circular aesthetics of new materials in artificial biology systems; repurposing place in post-conceptual art and design; digital knitting as a counter-concept to “fast fashion”; fermentation and metabolic processes across disciplines.

2. Collective intelligences: Big data, parametric design, and the future of event industries 

The challenges of the climate transition overwhelm individual agency and call for new forms of collaborations in a co-agency of human and non-human assemblages (e.g., data narratives, citizen assemblies and knowledge communities). Contextualising the concepts of co-agency and collective intelligence enables deeper understandings of how different social, political, cultural and geographical environments shape what can be done, where and to what degree: “Different people hold different pieces of information and different perspectives that, when combined, create a more complete picture of a problem and how to solve it.” Cases might include research on algorithmic modelling and simulation of large-scale cultural events and their footprints; reappropriating meta-, user- and connection data for creative purposes; game engines as creative frameworks; co-agency in emerging hybrid human–machine assemblages.

3. Shared creativity: Claiming ownership of the transition, documenting impact and value, monitoring progress 

Art and culture are no longer merely an indulgence or the exclusive privilege of a creative class. In today’s economy, creativity — understood as the capacity to shape or even create affect — has become imperative in almost every aspect of value generation across a wide range of productions and circulations. However, endowed with a power to be affected, the understanding of shared creativity is a precondition for claiming co-ownership of the transition and a circular approach to aesthetics. Specific cases might include explorations into reverse engineering data visualization; documentary theatre and post-dramatic strategies to monitor progress towards climate neutrality; anticipating a green post-war Ukraine as a model for the triple transition; stand-up strategies: nomadic, temporary and ephemeral modes of sustaining creative practice