The Bari Declaration
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We, stakeholders of the Creative & Social Innovation (CSI) Community sponsored by the Interreg MED Programme 2014-2020,
after experiencing over the past 3 years the benefits of the transnational cooperation organised between the partners and beneficiaries of 11 modular and integrated projects engaged in the Creative and Social Innovation priority theme under the Horizontal Project TALIA (https://social-and-creative.interreg-med.eu)
the interest to constitute on a permanent basis a Transnational Mediterranean Cluster devoted to Creativity and Social Innovation.
We consider that such a Cluster would be important for pursuing together, after the end of this Horizontal Project and of those 11 Modular and Integrated Projects, the overarching objective of the Interreg MED Programme «to promote sustainable growth in the Mediterranean area by fostering innovative concepts and practices (technologies, governance, innovative services…), reasonable use of resources (energy, water, maritime resources…) and supporting social integration through integrated and territorially based cooperation approach» .
Indeed, thanks to the impulse of the MED Programme, the idea of a Creative and Social Innovation community has gained momentum: Creative Industries and Social Innovation were explicitly put together for the first time ever and attributed a “strong development and jobs potential in Mediterranean regions”, alongside the Blue Growth and Green Growth sectors.
The core [*] of our community alone, is grouping already 121 organisations from 14 MED, IPA and other EU countries and intends to extend to any related organisations in our area. Based on the current evidence, more than 250 stakeholder names (not including external experts) should be added to the 169 Full and Associate partner organisations already in the census. This makes a total number of Creative and Social Innovation Community members largely exceeding 400.
We believe that the Transnational Cluster we propose to make permanent would reinforce a MED level ecosystem of knowledge by maintaining the relationships between different previous project partners of this community. This would not only be important for the dissemination of our project results and their scaling from the local to the global level, but also relevant for the multiplication of local effects and the production of local impacts from interregional cooperation.
As identified through a report presented at the Bari Mediterranean Forum on Creativity and Social Innovation, 15-16 October 2019, few MED government S3s (Smart Specialisation Strategies) seem to be aware of the promising implications of a joint consideration of Creative Industries and Social Innovation together with the broader industrial economy, even those that are separately considering these sectors as part of their S3 priorities.
Our Cluster would then bring benefits to regional or national S3s in three main ways:
1) As an opportunity of policy diversification, for those S3s already oriented to support Creative Industries as instrumental to some (non-manufacturing, such as tourism) sectors, but not yet to manufacturing industries;
2) As a possible source of inspiration for a new wave of non-financial aid measures to an economic sector already in focus of the existing S3 and OP provisions though with limitations in terms of available financial resources;
3) As a suggestion for including Creative Industries and Social Innovation as linked to industrial policy within the next priorities of the forthcoming programming period.
All these directions of change need our Cluster to be in place when the current S3s are revised as planned – in the concluding phase of their lifetime until 2020 – and/or subject to a broader upgrade in the perspective of the new programming period 2021-2027 where the S3-based policy model is going to be confirmed and reinforced EU-wide.
Among the various outputs of the Horizontal Project proposing this transnational Cluster, the TALIA project, two stand particularly high in terms of their potential to support the work of the Cluster: the Semantic Framework with its associated set of tools and the so-called Toolkit, namely a collection of all the main outputs of the Interreg MED funded CSI projects.
The TALIA Semantic Framework encompasses a number of innovative tools for the textual analysis of documents coming from already funded project descriptions, deliverables, and any other source containing useful information. More specifically, the Smart Search and Discovery tools allow a non-expert user – policy analyst, researcher or practitioner - to choose a library of documents to analyse (e.g. the full range of deliverables produced so far by the MED CSI projects) and then make semantic queries on that library to extract relevant knowledge for his/her tasks at hand. In addition to that, the user has the possibility to create a Cross-Correlation Matrix having on the rows and columns any number of concepts autonomously defined by the users. The contents of the cells can be extracted from the library of documents preselected by the user. In so doing, the knowledge contained therein can be successfully exploited.
The TALIA Toolkit promotes in a tangible way the reuse of results of the 11 Modular Projects in the CSI Community by providing easy access to their outputs in the forms of “tools for policy making”, tailored on the profile and role played by each user looking for them (e.g. academic/researcher, civil servant, entrepreneur of various sizes, or member of an NGO. Examples of tools include: background studies, models for implementation, a training service or a strategy in a certain domain.
Using these tangible results within the permanent Transnational Mediterranean Cluster on Creativity and Social Innovation, would facilitate attaining the transformational impact on national and regional policies that territorial (MED level) cooperation aims for.
Actions to be co-designed and validated by our Cluster include the following:
· Community Building: Following on the track and complementing previous work with modular projects and their local and transnational networks, more attention should be paid to liaison and interaction with thematically relevant, current or future Horizontal Projects and their target audiences. This would also enable to populate the Semantic Framework engine with additional sources of evidence and include more and more relevant usage scenarios;
· Transferring: Organisation of a number of dedicated events at the local and MED levels, including a Summer School for policy makers;
· Mainstreaming: This would particularly involve the creation of interregional working groups across the MED space, aimed at discussing and implementing the most prominent results into exemplary and reusable policy templates, thus contributing to a new wave of evidence-based policy making.
[*] This headcount is limited to Full (i.e. funded) members of the project partnerships and includes multiple participations. If we add the Associate partners to the list but only count multiple participants once, the total number of involved organisations increases to 169 and the following non MED countries are to be added: Austria, Belgium, Egypt, Netherlands, Serbia and Tunisia.
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