How We Shared Arts and Culture With Davos 2018

We need to break the cultural silos. Too often people put science and humanities, or science and the arts, in different compartments, they think they are mutually exclusive. They think they don’t have much in common, but they do have much in common. They are the highest expression of the creativity and the curiosity of humanity. We should really talk about culture in general, and not focus on one particular sector of culture. This is an important message we should be giving to teachers and to young people, for a better world, and so they can grow to face the challenges of society.”

This insight from Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN, on transdisciplinarity captures what was a dominant theme at Davos this year.

Fabiola Gianotti of CERN speaking at ‘Creating a Shared Future through Education and Empowerment’


Many of the conversations in the formal sessions, as well as at the social events revolved around the importance of creativity in education, with the need to seriously address the inadequacy of the formal education system echoed in several sessions. The clear point was made that teaching STEM is not enough: creativity and critical thinking won’t be enabled by STEM alone. The session, ‘Creating a Shared Future through Education and Empowerment’ with Fabiola Gianotti of CERN, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and girls’ education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was one of the clearest articulations of this.

Founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, spoke about the importance of emotional skills: "To gain success a person will need high EQ; if you don't want to lose quickly you will need a high IQ, and if you want to be respected you need high LQ - the IQ of love."


Jack Ma: "I believe if a person wants to be successful, they should have a high EQ." #wef18

— World Economic Forum (@wef) January 24, 2018


Science Gallery International (SGI) had the extraordinary opportunity to present an exhibition and provoke debate for the second year in a row at this year’s Davos, and to talk to the participants about how fundamental the arts and humanities are for enabling and strengthening critical thinking, alongside more ‘liquid’ skills of social interaction, self confidence, humbleness and awareness.


Andrea Bandelli and Raffaella Ragazzi during the Session 'Are You Ready for the Next Pandemic?'


Andrea Bandelli, the Executive Director of SGI, was participating in the Annual Meeting once again as a Cultural Leader and as part of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network. Andrea participated in ‘Are You Ready for the Next Pandemic?’ led by Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI). The session presented a pandemic threat simulation designed to prompt open discussion on shaping a roadmap for better preparation and response. Simulations are a great way to prepare ourselves for major geopolitical shocks. At Science Gallery Dublin’s IN CASE OF EMERGENCY exhibition, The Situation Room is a big hit with visitors, using game play, voting, and discussion, to explore a range of catastrophic emergency scenarios.


The Situation Room at Science Gallery Dublin


Together with David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Andrea led the session ‘Is Culture Healthy?’ Arts therapies have been found to alleviate anxiety, depression and stress while increasing resilience and well-being. The session asked how can we counteract public health crises with tangible physical and mental benefits through culture. King’s College London, the site of Science Gallery London, has an extensive programme looking at how engagement with art enhances health and wellbeing in clinical, community and care settings.

Andrea also hosted also one of the most entertaining dinners at Davos, titled ‘Sci-Fi Dreams’. Over 70 participants wrote the science fiction stories of tomorrow, inspired by the science of today.

A session that resonated with us really strongly was A Code of Ethics for Science. The pace of change brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution as well as divisions among the scientific community are drastically altering the research landscape, and this session asked: What is the role of scientists in leading a positive research culture today? 

The Code of Ethics


The session coincided with the launch of The Code of Ethics, a tool to nurture a positive change of culture in the research world, created by the World Economic Forum Young Scientists community which brings together the most forward-thinking young scientific minds in the world. Science Gallery International has been working with the Young Scientists community over the past year to review the Code of Ethics to secure a positive environment for the greater research outcomes benefiting society as a whole.

Also launched during Davos was a new book by Klaus Schwab, Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The book aims to help leaders develop the techniques necessary to harness technological advances to solve critical global challenges. Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution contains a chapter on arts and culture written by Andrea Bandelli, together with Nico Daswani, another endorsement of arts and culture as a key part of preparing humankind for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


The PORTALS exhibition at Davos 2018


Davos exhibition explores how technology can be used to foster meaningful human exchange.

— RTÉ (@rte) January 26, 2018

Click to play


Reflecting the importance of arts and culture as a key strand of the Meeting, SGI collaborated with the World Economic Forum to co-curate the exhibition PORTALS, a reclaiming of technology for meaningful human exchange. PORTALS, a partnership with IDA Ireland and the Wellcome Trust, was a series of interactive provocations to remind Annual Meeting participants of what makes us human and what it means to connect with one another. Among the hundreds of particpants who enjoyed PORTALS were musician, creative innovator, STEAM advocate and tech entrepreneur, Irish Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, and Martin Shanahan, the CEO of IDA Ireland.


Thrilled to share PORTALS, our interactive exhibition at #WEF18, with @iamwill this morning. is enjoying one of the exhibits called 'The Machine to Be Another' here, a virtual reality experience that gives access to the body and mind of another person.

— Science Gallery Intl (@ScienceGallery) January 24, 2018


Virtually anything can happen when you visit the @ScienceGallery stand at the @wef in Davos

— Paschal Donohoe (@Paschald) January 25, 2018


Our partnership with @ScienceGallery at #wef2018 is a fantastic showcase of Irish innovation with a global impact

— IDA Ireland (@IDAIRELAND) January 24, 2018


Hilde Schwab and Andrea at the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils in Dubai 2017


This year’s Davos was our fourth partnership with the Forum, having brought arts and culture to last year’s Annual Meeting in Davos, the Annual Meeting of New Champions in Dalian, China and created a bespoke installation for the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.

Thank you to the incredible people who helped make PORTALS happen, and made it possible to bring people together in Davos to share an understanding of other perspectives. Thank you to our friends and colleagues in the World Economic Forum, and to our partners: IDA Ireland, Wellcome Trust, BeAnotherLab, USC Shoah Foundation and Heather Maio, Shared_Studios, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Nicole Newnham and Lynette Wallworth.