European Cities of Advanced Sound

The project was funded by the European Commission, Education and Culture DG to develop innovative technological tools, nurture connections among members, and ensure the availability of future funding streams. Berlin, Germany 2011-2012.



European Cities of Advanced Sound and related arts is a network of independent non-profit organisations across Europe, all dedicated to advancing sound cultures, music and related arts.

All members of ECAS have spent years crafting unique festivals and events, each with its own identity grounded in strong local connections and context.

The ICAS network emerged from the ECAS – European Cities of Advanced Sound network, when the ideas and potential for collaboration provided by the ECAS framework sparked interest from international partners. The ICAS network was thus conceptualised by founding members of ECAS and likeminded festivals in Europe, North and South America during Montreal’s MUTEK festival in 2009.

In 2010, ECAS officially launched Networking Tomorrow’s Art for an Unknown Future, a 5-year project sponsored by the European Commission’s Programme Culture dedicated to exploring the future of art and culture and the infrastructures that support them. Zooming in on the social and political role of music and the arts in cultural and community life, the project aims to identify tools for independent cultural production, support creative innovation and artist mobility, and engage diverse audiences in the exploration of new cultural forms and technologies. Initiatives within the project strive to propose new methods of collaboration for cultural workers, and have included the commission of artistic works, artist residencies, and international conferences and colloquia.

Using a palette of transdisciplinary approaches, ICAS member organisations reflect on the aesthetic and societal agency of contemporary sound creation in regard to transformation processes induced by digital technology, and actively engage in building bridges between art disciplines, cultural fields, scenes, and genres.

Its goal is also to support members in their activities to develop and promote independent music and sound creation within their specific localities.

Activities within events and festivals organised by ICAS members include concerts, performances, commissioned work, exhibitions, participatory projects, educational workshops, conferences, presentations, panel discussions, publications, and the curation of informal spaces for knowledge-sharing within and among fields.

ICAS serves as an interface to intensify dialogue between its members and decision makers in cultural, political, and economic fields, propose alternative criteria for measuring success and regulating exchange, and increase public awareness concerning the issues addressed by ICAS and its member organisations.

The project was funded by the European Commission, Education and Culture DG. It has now been transformed into the SHAPE platform.


Alpha-ville – London, UK
Communikey – Boulder, USA
Club Transmediale – Berlin, Germany
CynetArt – Dresden, Germany
Decibel – Seattle, USA
Dis-Play – Las Palmas, Spain
Full Pull – Mälmo, Sweden
FutureEverything – Manchester, England
Insomnia – Tromsø, Norway
Les Siestes Electroniques – Toulouse, France
Musikprotokoll – Graz, Austria
MUTEK – Buenos Aires, Argentina
MUTEK – Mexico, Mexico
MUTEK – Montréal, Canada
MUTEK – Santiago, Chile
MUTEK.ES – Barcelona, Spain
New Forms – Vancouver, Canada
NuMusic / NuArt – Stavanger, Norway
Pomladi / MOTA – Ljubljana, Slovenia
RIAM – Marseille, France
Rokolectiv – Bucharest, Romania
ROOM40 – Australia
Skanu Mezs – Riga, Latvia
Soco – Montevideo, Uruguay
Sperm – Prague, Czech Republic
TodaysArt – Brussels, Belgium
TodaysArt – The Hague, Netherlands
Ultrahang – Budapest, Hungary
Unsound – Krakow, New-York, London, Adelaide


The ECAS Network currently consists of nine co-organisers and 18 EU and11 non-EU affiliated partners from 14 European and eight non-European countries. Each if this network members currently produces and maintains an annual not-for-profit music and related arts organisation and festival.
As a collective network, this group has access to an immense amount of experience, knowledge and contacts in East and Western Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas.

A wealth of artists, creative business initiatives, ideas, projects, funding know-how and administrative experience exist in this network, that when combined will create a formidable cultural resource for ECAS members, partners, institutions and cultural workers alike.
The formation of the network will provide access to solutions and ideas for many of the problems faced by these often idealistic not-for-profit organisations during their continued development.

Projects and productions being developed both by the ECAS project and independently by partners would be ‘pooled’ and shared by the group. Trans European sponsor networks and related creative business initiatives will be established, opening up a much larger arena for potential partnerships, both financial and creative, and without threatening the profile of individual events or compromising quality.

By formalising this network and through a commitment to sharing our experiences and knowledge, we will create a sustainable organisation that can offer support to all members and partners in an atmosphere of unity that also celebrates innovation and European diversity.

Framework of new cultural forms related to sound and new technologies.
Developing new technological tools.
Unity of members and art forms they represent.

Commission and present inter-cultural artworks.
Citizen creativity and innovation.
Engagement methods.
Mobility of artists, audiences and professionals.
Artistic collaboration.
Build connections and consolidate ECAS networks.

Adoption of digital technologies.
Local and global.
User generated content.
Real time information sharing.
Supporting and nurturing cultural connections.
Audience participation.

Activity outlines and deliverables
Artistic co-commissions and curatorial projects.
Audience development and engagement initiatives.

Festivals and events as living laboratories
Playgrounds or experimental spaces.
Present and evaluate with a live audience new technology prototypes, new cultural forms, new modes of audience engagement.
Broaden research and engagement methods.

Art, sound and the everyday
The City is increasingly a focus, as urban spaces draw together different communities and forms of media and technology.
Digital technologies are changing the city
Cultural events, which respond to the urban context.
Site specific artworks in each city responding to the specific local context and engaging local communities.

Sound in public space will articulate the ways in which artists and sound practitioners are designing and using sound in the public domain, so that current trends and practices can be examined, compared and contrasted.

Trans-national level.
Bridging different cultural sectors and different media.
Creative dialog between diverse migrant communities, minority music.

Presenting the work in a special context/ public space.
Experimenting with venues and formats.
Using online and mobile media that allows the audience to shape projects and become involved in the creative process.

Cultural and environmental relevance
Wider societal impact.
The concept of “digital public space”
Engaging large audiences in high quality cultural events in the public realm
Showcasing new approaches to public space.

Tools for Unknown Future
Sustainability and legacy.
Developing a set of tools for a members and other cultural institutions
Establish sustainable ECAS network
Applied and theoretical knowledge into tool-kit
Form of a set of resources for cultural production and event organization, focusing upon the specific insights and expertise of the ECAS members and their partners.
The tools will be in the form of online and printed resource.

1 Database and forum for international funding opportunities.
2 Archive for new art forms.
3 Database for emerging artists.
4 Audiences/ Toolkits.
5 Online forum for audiences and followers of advanced sound and related arts.

Look back on what has been developed so far.
Toolkit will help cultural workers, artists and the general public in their quest for empowerment and inter-connectivity.
New working methods, new funding instruments.
Trainees and internships.


Audiences-Cities. Local context.
Festival and events as living labs
  • E.C.A.S. Network needs a common online work-space with shared instruments and effective methods for engaging more diverse audiences in a local context of the cities and neighbourhoods where festivals are being produced.
  • Research on the local context needs to be documented and presented online for productive exchange of ideas and successful cases between all the members.
  • In order to facilitate this exchange, Network needs to create an online peer-to-peer platform open to stakeholders and larger interested audiences.
Media Habits, psychographics, demographics. Collective resource approach
  • The specific online platform is conceived to become a worldwide social network of Cities and festivals, projects promoters and partners, where emerging technological and artistic issues and site–specific topics will be posted, compared and debated, where new researches and current trends of audience engagement will be promoted and where new festivals programs and projects will be enhanced.
  • Activating already existing knowledge, networking and sharing best practices across the Cities and festivals will accelerate learning and reduce duplication of effort for all E.C.A.S. members.
  • In order to obtain this goal festivals projects with similar characteristics and comparable approaches will be clustered. Site-specific artworks and cultural events, which respond to the specific local context and engaging local communities, will be mapped.
  • The resulting clusters will facilitate focalised discussions and more useful exchanges. And will create stronger links between all E.C.A.S. members working on similar topics.

Experimenting new forms, models and methods.

Engaging audiences.

Bridging sectors and media.

Enabling citizen innovation.

Extending to the everyday

Measuring the impact

Local and global
  • Each participating City/ festival has access to the development plans and information of the other, and because the projects are all released under an open source licence, each can use any application built or modified.
  • Online platform can extend to I.C.A.S. network and propose space for new members and Cities.
  • Mapping of diffuse cases of E.C.A.S. members innovations in the fields of audience engagement online.
  • Designing scenarios to promote shared visions and tool-kits to stimulate the start-up of new initiatives bringing wider social impact, cultural and environmental relevance.
  • Communicating innovations through festivals, workshops and platform to stimulate strategic conversations, create awareness and promote change within local communities.
  • Stimulating a creative dialog between diverse communities about the future of a particular solution or tool.
achive, present, communicate and share
  • Main functionalities are presentation and exchange of resources and practical methodologies.
  • Present and evaluate with a live audience new technology prototypes, new cultural forms
  • Cross-references between sources, interactivity and communication between users.
  • All parties can be brought into contact with one another, collaborate and experiment. Meeting point for different cultural agents, initiatives and local networks.
  • User generated content: Mush-ups boards, sound and podcasts, image galleries and videos.
  • Community generated content: problems, ideas, proposals and solutions.
  • Micro-financing and donation tools.
  • Database for funding opportunities.
  • Archive for emerging and existing artists and new artistic creations; researchers who already have methods and tools.
  • Curators, developers, designers, urban planners profiles and their latest activities.
  • Projects blogs-gateways to ongoing and related projects and documentations.
  • Forums presenting ideas divided into groups to work on the common topics.
  • Evaluation tools like voting and rating.
  • Real time feeds from partners and collaborators.
  • Urban interventions and performances
  • Interactive digital installations
  • Geographical information – mapping and localisation
  • Open data real-time visualizations
  • Digital storytelling
  • Mobile applications
  • Social – analytic applications
  • Public space revitalization and social games

*with emphasis placed on the importance of digital culture and the arts.

Tools to generate projects (knowledge)
  • Built-in project/ proposal portfolios.
  • Promote, broadcast work on Facebook and Twitter, sync it with other networks. Project gets pushed to partner sites throughout the platform.
    Get exposure to all networks and users.
    Get qualitative response from field specialists or community and citizens rating.
  • Any member can form a group and invite other members to join.
    Groups can be public or private, and can be used to work together, share tips and media and get feedback.
  • Get funding. If any of projects needs funding or extra resources, integrate micro-financing widget directly into project portfolio or blog.
Citizen creativity and innovation
    • Citizens report issues and ideas on the go, and festival teams monitor their neighbourhood online or via mobile phone, registering and marking locations on the map, adding descriptions and media files.
    • Get in contact with other users.
    • Citizens vote on artistic proposals and ideas, neighbourhood issues, or promote more efficient collaborations.

Municipalities and policy makers

  • Governments and other entities responsible for the public space (such as utilities and property owners) become more accountable to the public and event organisers by acknowledging problems and ideas and providing effective communication about solutions.
  • Media outlets use the platform to build upon citizen-driven news content and attract readership and audience attention.
Platform users
  • Bridging different stakeholders groups online and offline.
  • E.C.A.S. network – I.C.A.S. network – new members
  • Cities – local networks – neighbourhoods
  • Municipalities – policy makers  – community leaders
  • Cultural organisations, Educational institutions, Research Labs, Design groups, Businesses, Festivals, Artists.
  • Social consciousness through digital culture.
    Develop new methods of audience engagement by researching local context and site specifics.
  • Adapting new technologies and artistic ideas to your City and festival.
    Providing production and information facilities to all existing members of E.C.A.S. and territory – based artists.
  • Seeking applications from artists, hackers, engineers, designers, curators, and creative technologists to participate.
  • Creating an interactive knowledge – management system to capture progress – tools and open source platforms to archive and diffuse information in real time.
The City is a focus

Encouraging people from different backgrounds to collaborate and improve the city environment with new cultural forms related to sound and new technologies.

Bridging different cultural sectors, gap between art and community to inspire positive social change.


ECAS platform beta

This work programme has been funded with support from the European Commission.

Hear, interacting with end-users to learn the E.C.A.S. Network situation, gathering stories and ideas, understanding how community structured.
Making sense of data.
Identifying patterns.
Defining opportunities.

Create, design prototype solutions to test with the end-users.

Synthesis, brainstorming, prototyping, and feedback.
Create opportunity areas.

Deliver, the third and final phase covers implementation, creating sustainability models, and measuring and monitoring feedback and performance.

Identify required capabilities.
Create model for financial sustainability.
Develop an innovation pipeline.
Plan pilots and measure impact.

1. Core group definition, pilot projects collection, supporting platform design (year 1).
An initial “core group” of partners (inside and outside ECAS) is defined.
A collection of framework projects is realised (it could be a short list of 10-20 projects).
A first pilot on 3 framework projects is conducted with the aim to analysed them in depth (out of the list of 10-20)
A template is designed on the basis of the results that will come from the pilot.
Web platform to facilitate the exchange of experiences between the partners, and between the selected projects main actors, is designed.
A Workshop is organised with representatives of the pilot projects (sharing experiences; comparing approaches; further investigations; action plan for further collaboration and research online.

2. Projects collection and platform fine-tuning (year 2)
A collection of a second, wider set of framework projects is realised.
The collected cases are clustered and common characteristics are focalised.
The supporting platform is up-graded.

3. Scenario building and platform use extension (year 3)
On the basis of the previous 2 years of experiences, different scenarios are built and visualised.
The up-graded supporting platform is opened to other interested actors and a variety of other interested stakeholders.

4. Projects and scenarios communication (end of year 3).
A publication presenting projects, clusters and scenarios is prepared (using different contributions collected through the platform).

5. Working group meetings / Collaboration (all along 3 years)
Three Task group meetings will be organised during each of the project year.

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