“Thinking creatively encourages thinking freely”

22 June

Scholarly discourse is fundamental to the IYTT, but we strongly believe in the transformative power of artistic expression too, and therefore initiate project events under the heading Art for Democracy. In this spirit, we have this spring issued a collaborative effort with DemoCreate, which is a cross-cutting innovation project for the creative sector pioneered within our host organization Lindholmen Science Park. Like the IYTT, DemoCreate sees a vibrant and diverse cultural life as a core requirement for democracy. By unleashing and strengthening the democratic and innovative power of cultural and creative activities, DemoCreate’s mission is to build a dynamic and inclusive society that safeguards the fundamental freedoms of all citizens.

Together with DemoCreate in early June we reached out to the IYTT Youth Panel, which now amounts to 181 participants from 43 countries, with four questions on creativity, democracy & digitalization. The results are mostly encouraging, but also display some worrying views: 92% of the panelists thinks that cultural and creative activities strengthen democracy; 61,5% thinks that cultural diversity is challenged in a digital world; 92,3% says that young peoples’ cultural and creative expressions are promoted in a digital world; and 69,2% thinks that young people strengthen cross-border understanding thanks to digitization. The full panel results are found on the IYTT homepage and include a rich variety of personal comments, like the one in the heading, and the ones below.

Each day, more and more people from different cultures from non-european/non-western societies expose their (cultural) understandings of the world on social media (for example), and that may lead to a better cross-border understanding of the world.

I tend to believe that the digital world promotes cultural and creative expressions by exposing them to everyone, but it can also have the opposite effect – by endlessly promoting the “scroll” on social media, for example. It’s all dependent on the way we use the digital world.

Cultural and creative activities represent a direct display of freedom of expression and thereby both an extension and execution of democracy as a whole