Promoting a S+T+ARTS approach to digital innovation rooted in African sub-Saharan culture and digital innovation hubs

Project in Brief

With S+T+ARTS4AFRICA, European structures experienced with S+T+ARTS approaches will partner with change-makers in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as existing Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH), and together, they will push for innovation on a regional level by facilitating the involvement of local and international artists with regional stakeholders (industry, regional authorities, SME, NGOs, startups, art institutions, etc) and promoting the concrete outcomes of these collaborations, aiming at three overarching objectives. Those being: 1) accelerate the transition towards a more competitive African economy by stimulating development and uptake of novel technologies that address regional challenges; 2) highlight – through the S+T+ARTS Prize Africa award, the regional rich and complex relationships between technology, arts and culture, and 3) level the regional perception on the potential of innovation and breakthrough technologies´ application to local and indigenous issues.

S+T+ARTS4AFRICA will implement this approach and address the above objectives through:
+ S+T+ARTS Residencies– fund 8 artistic residencies in African technology institutions and other pertinent local stakeholders, in the 5 targeted countries and in line with the STARTS residencies program;
+ S+T+ARTS Prize Africa – implement a first pilot edition of the S+T+ARTS Prize for African artists and institutions in 2024, to single out for recognition innovative projects at the nexus of science, technology and the arts that have what it takes to make a significant impact on economic and social innovation within the continent;
+ Mentoring -implement a mentoring programme for STARTS residencies and its outcomes;
+ S+T+ARTS Academy -organise a S+T+ARTS4AFRICA Networking Academy for promotion of digital and art-driven innovation skills, oriented towards an enlarged participation of local stakeholders and open to EU-AF collaboration; and,
+ S+T+ARTS Sylloge – promote a dialogue and narrative building on an equal footing between artists and African and European DIHs for addressing relevant societal challenges, especially related to the green and digital transition and combat to misinformation​.

Duration: May 2023 – October 2024
Consortium: INOVA+ (Portugal) (Coordinator), Ars Electronica (Austria), GLUON (Belgium), PiNA (Slovenia)
Associated Partners: Emerging Communities Africa (Nigeria), Buni Hub (Tanzania), hapaFoundation (Ghana), Picha asbl (DR Congo), Goethe Institut (Germany/Nigeria)
Management Contact Person: Tânia Moreira & Patrícia Carvalho


On View / Ania Catherine, Dejha Ti (US)

© On View / Ania Catherine, Dejha Ti (US) / STARTS PRIZE

STARTS4AFRICA Residencies:
Call for Hosts


Design by Decay, Decay by Design / Andrea Ling (CA)

© Design by Decay, Decay by Design / Andrea Ling (CA) / STARTS PRIZE

STARTS4AFRICA Residencies:
Call for Artists


STARTS Prize 2021

© STARTS Prize 2021

S+T+ARTS Prize Africa:
Call for Projects


S+T+ARTS Day: Network Ecologies Panel Discussion

© S+T+ARTS Day: Network Ecologies Panel Discussion / STARTS PRIZE

Calendar of Activities

Rock Print / Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich

© Rock Print / Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich / STARTS PRIZE

Re-building the narrative (soon)

Impression of the STARTS exhibition, POSTCITY

© Impression of the STARTS exhibition, POSTCITY / STARTS PRIZE

Calendar of Events



INOVA+ is an expert provider of consultancy services in the fields of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. Created in 1997, INOVA+ operates from Portugal (Porto and Lisbon) and has offices in Belgium (Brussels), Germany (Heidelberg) and Poland (Warsaw). With a highly qualified team of more than 90 consultants, with a multidisciplinary background and different nationalities, INOVA+ is also linked to a wide network of partners, which include public administration entities at the local, county, and regional levels, research centres, industry, education & training providers, NGOs, brokerage Institutions and European bodies. INOVA+’s consultants and project managers deliver effective and sustainable solutions in various areas of innovation, including Management & Innovation; Education & Training; Communities and Networks; Activation and Management; Entrepreneurship and Business Development; Internationalization; Science & Technology; Regional Development and Transnational Cooperation. Over the years, INOVA has contributed to the promotion of European and national policies and to the achievement of its priorities, by supporting the design of strategies and projects financed by the European Union. The company has taken part in more than 100 European projects, having coordinated over 50 of them, in a large range of programs. 

Ars Electronica is a leading cultural institution, educational facility and R&D lab based in Linz, Austria. Its comprehensive approach to techno-cultural phenomena has brought Ars Electronica a worldwide reputation for excellence. Its four divisions mutually inspire one another in a circuit of creativity. The Ars Electronica FESTIVAL and PRIX set up a stage for the best and brightest international, artistic, cutting-edge experimentations each year. The Ars Electronica CENTER is a year-round presentation & interaction platform intended to educate and entertain local audiences. The FUTURELAB is an innovative, creative R&D facility, endowed with strong technical competence and implementation skills, and linked up to a global network of universities & research facilities.

GLUON is a Brussels‐based non‐profit organisation that realises projects on the crossing borders of visual art, research and industry. GLUON’s Art & Research department aims to maximise collaborations between artists, researchers and companies, and support scientists through residencies in artists’ studios. These interactions lead to artistic and philosophical outcomes or innovative ideas, services and products in non‐artistic sectors such as education, health care, ecology, cultural diplomacy and community building. The alliances developed within Art&Research reinforce GLUON’s educational programme, aiming to bring technological innovation closer to young people, through an educational STEAM programme in Brussels and abroad.


PiNA is an association, established in 1998 at the initiative of the Open Society Institute, which has been promoting socially responsible practices and strengthening the culture of dialogue for over 20 years. Since its establishment, PiNA has served as a point for meeting, providing information, exchange, connection and collaboration in the field of societal challenges. In 1998, PiNA was the first internet café in Slovenia, and by 2016, it has operated as a multimedia and youth centre, member of Slovenia’s Europe Direct information centres, a hub for NGOs of the Coastal-Karst Region, and from 2022 as a contact point for the program Citizens, equality, rights and values (CERV) and an organization that works in the public interest in the field of culture, youth and international cooperation and development.

Founded in 2017, ECA is dedicated to fostering technology development in emerging communities throughout Africa. ECA believes that technology is a powerful tool for addressing social issues and improving lives. To that end, ECA supports the creation and development of sustainable and globally competitive tech startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that can address challenges in sectors such as agriculture, education, health, food, arts, transportation, and security in suburban and rural communities across Africa. The goal is to empower local communities to drive their own development through the use of technology, and we are committed to working with partners and stakeholders to create positive change. ECA has a proven track record of success, and continues to strive for innovation and impact in all of its endeavors.

With a core competence on Community engagement, provision of tech co-creation workspace and technology entrepreneurship to startups, Buni hub focuses on promoting innovation and technology entrepreneurship in Tanzania. Its main focus is more on capacity building and skill development of Tanzanian youths. Buni hub nurtures individuals with or without ideas at the earliest stage of the journey towards becoming entrepreneurs and companies owners. With a well established community of 400+ registered members annually, Buni Hub offers practical hands-on support programs to its registered members. The programs include:1. Buni Internship Program 2. Buni Mentoring Program; 3. Buni Community Outreach Program 4. Buni Divas (Ladies Community). The hub is also home to a mini fabrication lab for small scale production of electronic softwares and hardwares. The fabrication lab hosts a ‘makers community’ made up of in-house and registered tech enthusiasts.


hapaFoundation was founded as part of the response to assist young adults in the city of Kumasi to build start-ups, develop skills in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) and offer a co-working space. While the overall goal of hapaSpace is to support entrepreneurs in Kumasi, the greater focus is on start-ups that are largely enabled by technology. hapaSpace supports the entire journey from idea generation to pre-seed funding. The hub engages in three main activities to do this: i) Capacity and skills development through workshops, specialised training, meetups, mentorship incubation and acceleration programmes; ii) Non-Cash support such as office space, internet access, provision of volunteers, events and networking opportunities; iii) Funding opportunities mainly through collaboration with Venture capitals, Angel
investors and prizes from Competitions

Picha is an independent art initiative that seeks to support and promote artistic creation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It
aims to further an artistic perspective on the indigenous reflection of the historical and social environment of Lubumbashi and the surrounding region. Picha raised and established as the collective necessity of a generation of artists, film-makers, photographers, arts and communication professionals, cultural entrepreneurs, to set up a common space to share their own vision on arts and culture. Picha rooted its activities on a strong connection with the city and its cultural actors, the complicity of national and international partners and the need of supporting the growth of artists based in Lubumbashi.

Covering all 5 target countries, and in particular Senegal, Goethe Institut is the official German cultural institute promoting and encouraging cultural exchange worldwide. The Institute runs artist residencies and training programs in cultural management world-wide. The global Culture and Development initiative provides interdisciplinary qualification for cultural professionals in the partner countries in dialogue with local cultural institutions and cultural workers, advising cultural institutions, and facilitating (digital) networks between the actors and German peers. Its worldwide networking and Internet- supported contact and network activities offer the ideal conditions for implementing the Creative Commons within their platforms. The Goethe-Institut has an experience in promoting youth self-organisation in the digital space (including through the organisation and running of youth Online camps) as well as bringing together journalists, scientists and artists.

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STARTS4AFRICA is co-funded by the European Union under the STARTS – Science, Technology and Arts initiative of DG CNECT (GA no. LC-01960720). Views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or DG CNECT. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.