N.O.W - New Open Working process for the performing arts

As cultural Europe needs to work collectively to find new springboards for its evolution facing the major social, economic, and environmental transformations and disruptions, the New Open Working process for the performing arts (N.O.W.) worked at finding creative solutions that would help professional actors from the artistic and cultural sector to adapt to the new paradigm.

With a broad view of the European territory, the N.O.W project has brought together a range of complementary structures with assorted scales and missions, production, artistic and scientific profiles, within a very varied and at times tense European geo-political context.


N.O.W was a 3 year project conducted between 2014 and 2017.

This European cooperation project involved professionals (artists and operators) working in the field of the performing arts, researchers from the social and human sciences fields and publics from nine different countries (France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Iceland, Hungary, Canada, Japan).

This initiative created the conditions for its participants to:

  • SHARE reflection and find pragmatic leverages to improve professional practises (internal and external conditions) to the changes affecting the sector

  • STRUCTURE a way to research and cooperate

  • CREATE the frameworks and methods for collective elaboration and small scale experimentation

  • GENERATE new methods of collaboration facing intercultural contexts   

  • EXPERIMENT with systems which might offer innovative leverage instruments for developing and supporting the arts and artistic journeys, including contact and relationship with communities (locals, professionals, etc...)  


N.O.W developed a transnational laboratory platform exploring contemporary ways of supporting artistic practice in its articulation with society, thus engaging new processes of interaction with communities.

Through meetings, working sessions and public events, we confronted our respective practices, analysed them from current situations and according to the sector and its transformation perspective. We unfolded the problems professionals need to work on and from.

We also experimented with models of action with chosen artists, artistic and student communities, cultural establishments and a wider public.






Implementation, work process and modalities 


This experimentation was made up of 4 interdependent labs that shaped the project and determined the 3-year program of activities through 16 itinerant work sessions in Europe, Canada and Japan.

The process was conceived in two phases:


Phase 1 : (2015-2016) was devoted to structuring the group and the exchanges, gathering and organizing the contents, implementing the experiments of the 4 project laboratories and coordinating the initiatives.

Phase 2 : (2017) was dedicated to the implementation of activities, the analysis and reporting of research and experimentation, the exploitation and dissemination of results and the articulation towards future projects.

LABS, working sessionsl & meetings

The labs were distributed as follows:


LAB 1 - A forward looking collaborative space: Strengthening competencies and knowledge to improve the participants’ practises and their trans- and international development perspectives.

LAB 2 - A management structure based on exchange and networking: to unfold and enhance development of artists’ practices and careers

LAB 3 – Investigation of one artistic commissioning process: as a tool for social innovation implemented through the co-writing of a call addressed to European artists, experiencing with public space–its production and documentation

LAB 4 – A collection of mediation and documentation instruments: collecting data and tools – questioning interactive formats and restitution of the creative process - the arts as a tool and means of sharing experiences as well as scientific contents.

The outcomes and outputs of these 4 labs are:



 One collective training and thinking process reinforcing the participants’ competencies and capabilities 

> One scientific report to trace and conclude the process. 



A collaborative networking and experimental production layouts to extend artist’s work and career development by implementing intercultural accompaniment practices and involving economic and territorial strategic development, that privileges sustainable practice. 

The 4 artistic working groups  (5 artists in total) that participated to the this lab were : Sonia Gomez (ES), Leonardo Delogu (IT), Gosie Vervloessem (BE), Dance for me - Pétur Ármannsson (ICE) Brogan Davison (UK).


An immersive artistic and cultural event was prototyped and co-designed by N.O.W partners and artists involved in this lab.

The final event, called Half a House, was hosted in Florence during Festival Fabbrica Europa 2017 and was curated by the artists – it engaged a number of Italian artists and created liaisons with the research field as well as engaging a general audience.

> A documentation of the event was produced (writings and 2 videos made by Master2 students of University Paris 8 -  and one report written by Danae Theodoridou)



An artistic commissioning process – was designed, implemented and gave birth to the “Rope, possibilities of binding” project created by Ief Spincemaille

> One scientific documentation was produced by researcher Valérie Pihet.

> One catalogue / booklet was co-written by the artist Ief Spincemaille and Valérie Pihet.


A collection of new/most effective audience development practices – based on digital and/or physical mediation instruments

> This process resulted in the design and conception of the platform The End of N.O.W - 
The goal of this platform is to refresh our environment via spaces of expression and meetings around cultural practices co-produced by a variety of actors, operators, researchers, artists, creative designers...

Primarily addressed to communities with particular work interests, the ambition is to provide project visibility and the possibility of exchanging with other actors via qualitative contribution.

The description of each project will be presented in forms specific to each project and the construction of singular universes.
Those using this platform offering a vast landscape of interconnections will be invited to imagine and generate a new arborescence of connections.
A first prototype of the platform will be launched in January 2019



Transversal outputs and outcomes at the European level


N.O.W allowed us to set up of a transnational skills platform - nevertheless its existence will remain informal; The partners won’t engage a new formal EU cooperation project together but most of the partners will continue to work collaboratively and transnationally, co-conduct projects internationally and share ideas on a long run perspective.


N.O.W also permitted creating a transnational practice-based research group, engaging one part of the N.O.W partners, and members and a new range of actors from the arts, the human and social sciences, digital humanities, amateurs and professionals from various fields.  The group aims to structure a research a development space focused on the relationship between art and society;


The prefiguration of this "art and society” laboratory gave rise to one study that includes an investigative enquiry, as well as exploratory interviews. The results and contents of this inquiry will be published on the end of now.org platform.

This expérimentation représents the continuity and reorientation of N.O.W's project towards a research-action methodology and the desire to co-produce knowledge and relay knowledge related to cultural practices.


Partenaires Associés

Ann Olaerts - observateur critique - Belgique

Roger Christmann - coordinateur  financier  - Allemagne 

Valerie Pihet - documentation - Belgique/France

Danae Theodoridou - artiste chercheuse - Grèce/Belgique

SISMÓGRAF – festival - Espagne

HIROSHIMA - Lieu de diffusion et de résidence artistique - Barcelone

N.O.W a été soutenu par l'Union européenne dans le cadre du programme Creative Europe


Avec l'aide d'Arcadi Île-de-France /

Fonds de soutien à l'initiative et à la recherche