Today marked the final day of the u19 CREATE YOUR WORLD Presidency workshops but also marks the beginning of a new collaboration between Valletta 2018, Esplora and ARS Electronica initiating the u19 Malta – CREATE YOUR WORLD competition – a global first outside of Austria.

The u19 project was a collaboration between the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, an Austrian Centre for Electronic Arts – ARS Electronica and Esplora Interactive Science Centre. During these special set of free workshops related to Technology and Art, children and youths under the age of 19 had the opportunity to meet artists and experts in the fields of art and technology and create works using Ableton live, Arduinos, Little bits, animation applications and coding practices. The project came to an end with a closing event at Esplora Activity Centre, Kalkara, presented by Giselle Calleja from the Public Relations office at the Malta Council for Science and Technology.

During the event, several local and foreign projects linking technology and art were highlighted, as exemplars for future works and collaborations. The event was co-organised by the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Malta International Arts Festival and Esplora. The Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta 2018 Foundation will provide a legacy to the u19 project in Malta leading to a Grand Prix competition for local artists in 2018.

At the start, Clayton Cutajar, Esplora Lead Programme Developer, presented a feature about the highlights of the u19 workshops that happened at Esplora during the Presidency period. Mr. Andreas Bauer, Senior Director at ARS Electronica Centre, who was present for the event, said that ARS Electronica tries “to trigger the creativity and enthusiasm that lies within these youths and acts as a spring board for them so that when they leave the workshop room they carry on to see the potential in them”. A perfect example of this is Jonas Bodingbauer, a 17-year-old native of Linz, Austria who presented his winning entry in the 2016 Grand Prix competition held by ARS Electronica.

Ms. Rachael Blackburn, Director of Esplora Interactive Science Centre, mentioned “that the workshops have served as an inspiration for the Esplora Education Programme. The 2017-2018 Education Programme now includes a whole new category of STEAM workshops – that is including Art in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. These new workshops are possible through the Culture Pass funded under Arts Council Malta.” She added that Carnival at Esplora is now the official opening of the carnival programme thanks to the support of Arts Council Malta and the EU Presidency funded Shadow Puppetry which has toured 30 schools and will continue to tour in the new academic year. Esplora looks forward to developing a working relationship further with Arts Council Malta, Spazju Kreattiv and the Manoel Theatre. Ms. Blackburn also commended the Esplora team for all their efforts, creativity and coordination.

Visitors were able to enjoy Blooming Creature, a dance performance by Moveo Dance Company, related to the adaptations of creatures to their immediate environment, which combined elements of the Arts and Technology. Visitors had the opportunity to network and visit the SPARKS exhibition which was also launched today by Des Cini, Programme Developer at Esplora, at the end of the event.

The SPARKS exhibition entitled ‘Beyond the Lab: the DIY Science Revolution’ is a project belonging to Ecsite, The European Network of Science Centres and Museums, and is funded by the Horizon 2020 the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.The exhibition which consists of 7 stories divided into three themes: Citizen Science, Health Hacking and DIY Biology is touring around 30 European science centres/museums and schools and now is being hosted by Esplora. Incidentally one can find three commissioned artworks developed during a residency process at ARS Electronica from the fourth section of the exhibition.