Design System
Social Dynamics

How can an artist residency framework be designed to foster technological innovation?


For centuries, collaboration between art and science has generated some of the most important movements in innovation. As part of a large interdisciplinary European consortium in the Horizon 2020 programme, the EPFL+ECAL Lab took on the challenge to do this again today. The team set up and ran the pioneering STARTS Residencies, facilitating and promoting the placement of artists in technical institutions across Europe.


The STARTS initiative – which stands for innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology, and the ARTS – is Europe’s answer to a growing need for social and ecological innovation rooted in digital innovation. STARTS encourages collaborations between science, tech companies, the creative sectors and artists as a means to foster the development of human-oriented technologies.

The EPFL+ECAL Lab was a member of an interdisciplinary European consortium which organised artist residencies at technology institutions. The aim was to support match-making between science and technology projects and artists and to jumpstart collaborations between artists and technologists as part of interesting use cases.


Specialised mediation, an integrated methodology, adaptation to contemporary contexts, goal setting and scalability are key to successful art-science cocreation.


The EPFL+ECAL Lab team undertook an extensive literature review to understand the factors that facilitate dialogue between artists and researchers. Using this knowledge, a streamlined co-creation methodology was developed which was then implemented in 45 residencies between artists and technical institutions across Europe. Through a framework of reporting and evaluation, as well as hands-on monitoring of 2 residencies, the lab was able to generate new knowledge on the key factors of success for art-science collaboration.

The STARTS Residencies ran in locations across Europe from 2018 to 2020.


Nicolas Henchoz

Research Assistant

Pierre-Xavier Puissant


Emily Groves and Pierre-Xavier Puissant

Interaction Design

Renato Zülli, Emily Groves and Pierre-Xavier Puissant

Featured residencies

ATLAS, Yann Deval and Marie-Ghislaine Losseau
The Plants Sense, María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde
HackAIR, Ling Tan
Magic Lining, Kristi Kuustk

Funded by the European Union