NEB Festival

The first New European Bauhaus Festival in June 2022

– by Päivi Tahkokallio

The New European Bauhaus initiative is now moving from the co-design phase, which  collected more  than 2,000 pieces of insight from all over Europe during the first six months of 2021, to the delivery phase. The communication from the European Commission on the New European Bauhaus shared in mid September creates the framework for actions to follow.

One of the actions will be an annual Festival to further strengthen the community of organisations and individuals committed to be part of the NEB family, to showcase outcomes of NEB around Europe and to communicate beyond Europe that Europe is positioning itself as the global reference for sustainable transformation of our living environments.

Here is what we know so far

  • The first NEB Festival, to be organised and financed by the European Commission, will take place early June 2022. Exact dates are to be confirmed but the Festival is expected to cover four to six days. 
  • The following editions will be based on a call for interest for places to organise the Festival, both within and beyond the EU.
  • DG Research and Innovation is responsible for organizing the first edition. Contact points are Paola Momoli, Head of Unit Communication at DG RTD and Giuseppe Ruotolo, Deputy Head of the same unit. 
  • The first Festival will be a hybrid event. Onsite location will be Brussels. The exact venue is to be confirmed. Ideas for a-typical locations are welcomed. The online platform already exists, and has been tested in events for some years. 
  • Satellite events are encouraged to be organised especially by NEB partners all over Europe both simultaneously with the onsite events in Brussels in June, and time wise they can spread wider in 2022. How, when, what and who is yet to be decided. A likely timing for the Commission to communicate on all this will be the beginning of the year 2022.
  • An information session by the NEB Team and DG RTD was organised for NEB partners on 27 October. Some 175 organisations of the total 300+ NEB partners took part. Festivals have a charm, the number of participants is a definite sign of the big interest in the Festival, indicating that everyone yearns for concrete actions about the initiative.

What’s in here for BEDA

BEDA Members who organise Design Weeks have already discussed the Festival. Design Weeks are tested, long standing platforms all over Europe. And more, the World Design Weeks Network supports regular connection and collaboration between design weeks all over the world. It is considered well worth it to propose collaboration with the Commission on the Festival. An initial proposal has already been communicated. 

As a BEDA member, after reading what we know so far, if this sparked your interest, please approach DG RTD and the contact points directly with a concrete proposal. Even better, discuss your thoughts with other BEDA members, the Open Doors Dialogues is a good framework for that. The next Special Open Doors Dialog, dedicated to Design Weeks,  is taking place on 23 Nov from 17:00 to 18:00 CET.

Proactive versus reactive?

The Festival does not emerge in a vacuum. I am sure we’ll hear of further focus of the Commission soon.

However, as a starting point it is good to remember that the input from all over Europe in the NEB co-design phase has resulted in four very interesting thematic axes to guide the delivery phase: reconnecting with nature, regaining a sense of belonging, prioritizing the places and people who need it most, and the need for long-term, life-cycle thinking in the industrial ecosystem. This is a framework set by active Europeans, interpreted by the Commission. As always, I encourage you all to be proactive, not just reactive.

Päivi Tahkokallio
Past President of BEDA 2019—2021