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Elisabeth Schmid on joining the New European Bauhaus initiative

By Emilia Campagna

February 8, 2024

A new opportunity is on the horizon, which promises to involve our orchestra actively. Recently, ICONS Foundation joined the New European Bauhaus initiative as an official partner. The foundation that manages, develops and supports our orchestra is a leading non-profit organisation operating in the field of science communication, developing large-scale cultural projects.

We asked Elisabeth Schmid, Grant Office Director at ICONS, to tell us more about this initiative:

The New European Bauhaus serves as a link between the worlds of science and technology, arts and culture, aligning seamlessly with ICONS’ core activities. Joining the NEB network is a terrific opportunity for active involvement in shaping a more sustainable and inclusive Europe and pursue our values of beauty and culture.

Elisabeth Schmid, what is your role at the ICONS Foundation?

As the European Grant Office Director, I focus on developing new project ideas across various research and cultural domains and establishing European-level partnerships. I identify suitable open calls and funding opportunities, aligning them with ICONS’ expertise in science communication, business, and social innovation.

I seek out those opportunities for collaboration with stakeholders whose goals align with the values and mission of our foundation. Working with universities, companies, public authorities, civil society organisations and many others, we collectively aim to meet project scopes and anticipated outcomes from calls. All our project proposals aim to implement existing European policy agendas and future strategies contributing to a more sustainable, inclusive and liveable Europe, while preserving our culture and values. In my job, it is fundamental to maintain and expand  ICONS Foundation’s network to enhance collaboration and cross-fertilize knowledge, practices, and strengthen human capital, a key element of our mission.

What is the New European Bauhaus initiative and when did it start?

Launched by the European Commission in 2020, the New European Bauhaus initiative is a creative and interdisciplinary movement to rebuild a more sustainable and inclusive Europe. This initiative connects the European Green Deal to our daily lives, living spaces and experiences. Inspired by the German art school of the early 20th century, it integrates art, culture, and science to expresses the EU’s ambition for a sustainable and inclusive future.

Why has ICONS joined the NEB initiative?

ICONS Foundation’s commitment to science communication, business and social innovation, aligns perfectly with the NEB’s values of beauty, sustainability, and togetherness. Our daily work in making research and innovation accessible to all through awareness campaigns, social engagement strategies, co-creation processes, and roadmaps to facilitate the adoption of research results for the benefit of society at large, meet the NEB mission of inclusiveness (together). Sustainability is a key focus in the many projects ICONS is involved in addressing social, economic and environmental challenges and develop new solutions. ICONS is commitment to musical and philanthropic initiatives that emphasise societal impact and cultural excellence. By actively fostering artistic talents, managing and supporting international youth orchestras of early music such as Theresia Orchestra and the European Union Baroque Orchestra, we align with the NEB mission of promoting beauty.

In short, the NEB is perfectly summarises the Foundation’s spirit, and we are ready to support its intrinsic values. That’s why we decided to apply to the NEB initiative, and we have now officially become partners, together with many other non-profit organizations in Europe. Each partner has a role to help build, inspire, and act as key interlocutors for the initiative.

New European Bauhaus
“The New European Bauhaus Initiative is a creative and interdisciplinary movement for rebuilding a more sustainable and inclusive Europe”

What kind of projects does ICONS Foundation intend to carry out as part of the New European Bauhaus initiative?

ICONS’ experience in enhancing human capital, fostering intangible assets, and promoting philanthropic endeavours can significantly contribute to increase awareness and engagement around the New European Bauhaus. In 2021 ICONS successfully applied to the first round of Horizon Europe NEB-inspired calls and since 2022 we work on one of the first five NEB Lighthouse projects: Eyes Hearts Hands Urban Revolution.

As President Ursula von der Leyen said on occasion of launch of these new projects, they “[…] should become the starting point for a European and worldwide network of New European Bauhaus projects”. We feel somehow part of this first cornerstone, which set the path for an increasing social engagement with the NEB movement. Moreover, the Foundation is coordinating the Creative Europe EMPOWER project, further merges arts with sustainability, co-design and investing in the development of young talented professional musicians’ soft skills, which again are fully in line with the NEB spirit.

More recently we have joined new projects connected to NEB and are currently working on new research and cultural proposals inspired by NEB values , hoping they will soon turn into real projects.

What impact does ICONS expect from its participation in the New European Bauhaus initiative?

The participation in the NEB initiative enables ICONS to expand its network and reputation as a key player at European level. The NEB platform supports networking, community building and knowledge sharing, for which it will be possible to find and establish new partnerships with entities and communities aligned with NEB values to get involved in the development of new research and cultural projects. ICONS can intrinsically be considered as a natural ambassador for NEB, its involvement inspires our team but also resonates with those we engage with. Being a supporter and partner of such a movement will also inspire our team and the people we are getting in touch with. We should all be aware that we are contributing to building on a sustainable and inclusive future together through our daily efforts.

How do you think the New European Bauhaus initiative will influence the music projects supported by ICONS?

The Foundation’s support and management of of a unique system of international youth orchestras playing on period instruments – Theresia Orchestra and the European Union Baroque Orchestra – will continue to pursue the NEB values of beauty and culture and work in a new European movement that is gaining more and more attention in Europe and beyond, also thanks to the European Commission’s promotion of and commitment to the NEB initiative.

The New European Bauhaus platform is facilitating the engagement with many different cultural realities and organisations working both at a local and European level. It demonstrates inspiring projects and opportunities in which also the music projects supported by ICONS can find a place to join, sustain or cooperate with already existing or new cultural events, initiatives, festivals and campaigns. The network also gives substantial communication support to publish and promote events e.g. via their official Instragram account to increase outreach and engagement. Each year, the New European Bauhaus Festival is organised to celebrate its core values, which represents another opportunity for creative projects involving our two orchestras.

Explore the New European Bauhaus platform or visit ICONS Foundation’s website to find out more about their impactful projects.

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About Emilia Campagna

Journalist and musician, Emilia is a blogger for Theresia