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Celebrating the New European Bauhaus in Barcelona

Last month, the Spanish city of Barcelona hosted a celebration of the New European Bauhaus (NEB), a creative and interdisciplinary initiative that connects the European Green Deal to our living spaces and experiences.

13 Feb 2024

Supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the European Commission (EC), the event brought together over 50 participants from relevant EIT Community programmes to build connections and reflect on the past year’s achievements — highlighting the NEB’s collaborative spirit and commitment to building a sustainable, inclusive and beautiful future for Europe.

Teresa Thiebaut, Innovation Project Officer at the EIT, spoke at the event and underlined the significance of the New European Bauhaus:

“From the moment the NEB initiative was launched, the EIT immediately moved forces and mobilised its network of thematic pan-European KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Communities) to explore NEB innovation and implementation on the ground.”

Thiebaut highlighted that the areas covered by the KICs – including climate, food, manufacturing, urban mobility and digital transformation – are critical in creating a fundamental transformation based on social inclusion, quality of experience and sustainability, with citizens’ needs and community-driven change at the core.

In her speech, Thiebaut underscored the commitment to supporting a wide range of initiatives, from start-ups and social activation projects to teams of young innovators:

“In this three-year track record, the EIT Community NEB has supported 44 start-ups, 55 social activation projects (including Connect, Co-create and Enhance) and 13 teams of young ideators. Through each iteration, and learning by doing, the EIT Community NEB has adapted and evolved – creating new activities such as Ignite NEB events, NEB mentors and the Enhance NEB programme.”

Elisa Julia Grafulla Garrido, Policy Officer at the Joint Research Centre, spoke about the New European Bauhaus’ role in the broader context of European policy:

“The European Green Deal is the EU’s compass for social, economic, and industrial transformation. We have a substantial regulatory frame for the green transition and we have mobilised substantial funding, yet there is room to accelerate the speed of change. For the green transition to succeed, it must be implemented with and for the people, in a way that reflects their identity, and integrates communities in the process. Over the past three years, the New European Bauhaus has been delivering this: translating the Green Deal into tangible change that improves citizens’ daily lives and ensures that this transformation is people-centric with societal needs put first.”

Grafulla Garrido explained that one of the strengths of the NEB lies in its growing community, with over 1,000 entities from EU Member States and beyond actively participating. Furthermore, with 20 per cent representation from organisations in innovation, education, and research, the NEB is steadily expanding its reach.

The celebration in Barcelona was a wonderful example of the New European Bauhaus spirit and recognition of the diverse community of social innovators formed by the EIT Community NEB. Participants gained new skills and insights – highlighting the importance of in-person training and networking. The event was not just a reflection on the past but an opportunity to imagine a future where innovation and collaboration lead to positive change. In this way, the celebration was part of a larger narrative – and we look forward to next year’s gathering with even more funded projects and start-ups.

Until then, another significant celebration is already in the pipeline. From 9-13 April 2024, the Festival of the New European Bauhaus will return to Brussels for its second edition, uniting individuals from around the world to exchange ideas and actions for a sustainable, beautiful, and inclusive future.

This year’s festival, free and open to everyone, will showcase a diverse and comprehensive programme featuring discussion panels, exhibitions, art performances, and much more. Alongside the vibrant events in Brussels, the festival is expanding globally with co-created side events independently organised by partners.

Find out more on the official Festival website!

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