MediaFutures not only supports artists and start-ups in their individual and combined efforts to tackle misinformation; we also seek to derive insight from their experiences in doing so, both within and beyond our support programme. And what would be better to gather this insight, than to actually talk to our participants? Our team is currently in the process of speaking to all of our artists and start-ups, discussing their experience in our programme, the highlights and lowlights of their engagement, what they learned, and what surprised them.

We learned that our participants came into the programme with very different expectations, primarily depending on which of the tracks they were in: Our Artists for Media were prepared for an artistic residency, and positively surprised by the organisational structure we provided; our start-ups for citizens came prepared for a classic accelerator, and enjoyed the learning and networking opportunities afforded by the programme. Our start-up meets artists teams were very open to the new experience, and highlighted the importance of talking through plans and the different perspectives throughout the project, to make sure that all sides of the collaboration can contribute based on their expertise.

A specific focus in our conversations lies on the role of interdisciplinarity: What kinds of disciplines do our participants touch upon, how do they bridge gaps in knowledge or language in order to create fully rounded artworks or products. So far, we found that our artists especially have extensive networks that allow them to source a lot of insight from within their community. External expertise that they bring in tends to be on specific subject areas, such as philosophy, rather than around technical skills.

Another area we’re especially interested in is our participants’ use of data, and how this evolved throughout their work with MediaFutures. Most of our interviewees were excited to learn more about data ethics, as well as legal aspects of data, both in terms of personal data and GDPR, but also around intellectual property rights and ownership models. They highly valued the training provided by MediaFutures in these areas.

We will combine all of these insights, and the expertise of our whole consortium, in the MediaFutures toolkit, the first version of which will be published next year.