EMPACT – "Empathy and Sustainability: The Art of Thinking like a Mountain" is an exciting 24- month project, co-funded by the European Union's Creative Europe program, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

The EMPACT project adopts an innovative approach in advocating for climate crisis, based on the idea that the concept of empathy can shed new light on how we understand and embody sustainability in the arts. The project lies on two interconnected pillars:

(i) the facilitation of artists to produce, through sustainable practices, art that fosters an empathic stance towards non-human beings and nature, and thus effectively incorporate the concept of sustainability in their artistic production;

(ii) the necessity for artists and cultural workers to become themselves empathic and resilient individuals in order to deal with the post-pandemic social and economic crisis. Key role players, including, artists, sustainability experts, philosophers and social scientists will engage in effective dialogue to explore the importance of empathy as a central means to encourage individual sustainability orientations and broader environmental sustainability, with the ultimate action of tackling climate change.

EMPACT project aims to address the following needs:

To bring together artists, cultural institutions and key thinkers in creative sustainability, philosophy and social sciences to discuss and explore ways of intensifying the powers of art in tackling the key pillars of sustainability.

To introduce, discuss and clarify the meaning of “empathy” in arts, which has important implications for artistic research, training and practice.

To support male and female, in all their diversity, artists, and cultural professionals to engage with mainstream research from philosophy, social sciences and sustainability studies on the role of empathy and perspective-taking in advocating for environmental issues.

To offer artists training courses that will allow them to transfigure moral emotions (empathy, compassion, perspective-taking imagination) to new skills related to sustainable creation.

To inspire the creation of innovative projects that address the empathy-sustainability relationship through arts and raise awareness on the challenges that climate change poses to environmental, physical and emotional health.

To engage new audiences and establish an innovative, participatory approach to contemporary visual and performative arts.

To support European artistic co-operation and mobility of artists and of artworks that redefine sustainability within an empathic and creative context.

From this, EMPACT will deliver a holistic, well-designed, series of activities and tools that will provide artists and cultural players with the knowledge and tools to address complex scientific and social conflicts generated by climate change, namely:

A training program on Empathy & Sustainability pathways for arts that will be developed by relevant experts, and will be tested and delivered during the project with artists from all partner countries through landmark and experiential workshops.

An artistic program that involves co-operation and creation of innovative art-projects, comprising the creation / curation of 2 contemporary art exhibitions that address sustainability within an empathic and creative context. 101055903 — EMPACT — CREA-CULT-2021-COOP-2

A series of art/artist orientated projects, including, a residency program offering artists the opportunity to work with international collaborators and present their work to the public; socially-engaged art interventions, to collaborate with the organization and local people, communities and/or art students to initiate and implement a socially engaged art intervention, tackling specific problems related to sustainability and the promotion of circular economy practices; and, collaborative interdisciplinary artistic projects.

The development of the Sustainable Circular Economy (SuCiE) Platform to enable artists and companies to post and trade waste, spare or unneeded material with other artists cost effectively.

The consortium

EMPACT is led by the Cyprus University of Technology and scientifically coordinated by Assistant Professors Efi Kyprianidou and Yannis Christidis (Department of Fine Arts). The above measures will be implemented with the collaboration of nine European partners (University of Technology (Cyprus), Fondazione Lamberto Puggelli (Italy), Espacio Rojo (Spain), ID22:  Institute for Creative Sustainability (Germany), National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (NATFA) “Kr. Sarafov” (Bulgaria), Nature, Art & Habitat (NAHR) (Italy), Umetnostna Galerija Maribor (Slovenia), Wisefour (Cyprus), and Vorres Museum (Greece)) offering diverse experiences and know-how, which represent a broad, balanced, and targeted geographical area.

Start date 01-09-2022 – End date 31-08-2024. The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Project Number: 101055903 — EMPACT — CREA-CULT-2021-COOP-2

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.