A look back at the Creativity World Forum 2022

What a relief! After two years of COVID, the Creativity World Forum – our flagship event for creativity, innovation & entrepreneurship – had another great edition in 2022. This edition of the event was hosted by the German region of Baden-Württemberg, and took place online from 18 – 20 July 2022 and as a hybrid event in Stuttgart (Germany) on 21 July 2022.

During these 4 days, we saw a series of inspiring talks, surprising tech/startup demonstrations and promising pitches. Those who made it to Stuttgart discovered a lovely venue with great hospitality. And perhaps the most important: we had lots of opportunities for formal and informal knowledge exchange between people and regions from all over the world.

In this video, you can relive all the plenary talks on stage in Stuttgart on the 21st of July:

The Creativity World Forum is the annual gathering of the international Districts of Creativity Network. The aim of this network is to stimulate creativity in society through intercultural exchange and thereby promote innovation and prosperity. Creativity makes people, companies and regions unique.

More info on this edition of the Creativity World Forum can be found on cwf2022.de.

The Creativity World Forum 2022 is coming to Baden-Württemberg!

After a two-year break due to corona, the flagship event for creativity, innovation & entrepreneurship is finally back! As a proud member of DC Network the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg is very excited to host the CREATIVITY WORLD FORUM 2022. The conference will take place live at Hospitalhof, Stuttgart/Germany on 21 July 2022 and online from 18 – 21 July 2022.

The motto of this year’s Creative World Forum is “sustainable digital innovation”. Creative industries are known as a driver for sustainable digital innovation. This approach improves awareness for creative solutions as a creator of economic value. The combination of sustainability and digital tools helps to develop better ways of living together (‘smart city‘ as a global social model), working together (real experiences in virtual spaces) and creating together in our „new“ hybrid world (post-COVID-19).

The Creativity World Forum is also the annual gathering of the international Districts of Creativity Network. Further information on the event and the full program can be found at www.cwf2022.de. Take the opportunity and register today!

DC Network Meetup: Technology enhancing sustainability in fashion

Wearable technology, high tech fabrics, AR, VR, data analytics, blockchain, nanotechnology, internet of things, robotics, 3D rendering,… can all have an impact and added value on how we create, produce, experience and consume fashion today and tomorrow. Concrete examples such as smart textiles for second life purposes, RFID tags for traceability or AR/VR sizing for better fit in e-commerce showcase the potential of technology to create change and improve sustainability in fashion. In this Meetup we shared some of the most innovative approaches in the DC Network regions of how fashion designers and creative entrepreneurs use technology in fashion to enhance sustainability.

This online DC Network Meetup was hosted by DC Network-region Flanders (Belgium) and was organised by Flanders DC, the main supporting organisation for creative industries. Flanders DC has developed other projects on sustainability in fashion such as Close The Loop and on fashion tech such as Fashiontech works.

Who’s this for?

Designers, Creative entrepreneurs, representatives of creative clusters, network and business support organisations, policy makers and anyone with an interest in the subject.


The Meetup was held online (via Livestorm) on September 9, 2021 from 3 – 4:30 pm (CET).


3:00 pm – Welcome by the Districts of Creativity Network and Flanders DC

3:10 pm – 6 Inspiring cases of technology enhancing sustainability in fashion (10 min. each)

4:20 pm – Q&A & Networking

4:30 pm – End of Meetup

About the cases & speakers

Constructing connectivity (Jessica Smarsch)

Constructing Connectivity is a person-centered stroke rehabilitation method that addresses the need to quicken and improve recovery, motivate the patient, and provide connection to support systems. It blends creativity with goal setting and helps to create more synaptic connections in the brain by combining exercises with sensory feedback. The Connextyle Techstyle sensor shirt captures body movement. The accompanying app inspires creativity, interprets data into visual patterns and written reports, quantifies and tracks progress, and connects the patient to the community. The system incorporates sustainability: it recycles and reuses the technological components of the garment and provides a stylish accompanying shirt that can be worn long past rehabilitation. The patient’s experience is the most important part of Constructing Connectivity and this is reflected in the design sensitivity of all its components, aiming to improve the rehabilitation experience.

Jessica Smarsch

Jessica Smarsch is an internationally recognized designer who collaborates cross-sector to bring beauty, creativity and enhanced user experience to technological, scientific and industrial innovations. She is passionate about systemic and disruptive innovation design that enhances well-being, quality of life, user experience, community connection, and circularity. She is motivated by the unique outcomes that unexpected collaborations produce.

Brazil Immersive Fashion Week & ION-project (Olivia Merquior)

Created by a group of women during the pandemic, BRIFW’s first edition happened in November 2020. Unlike other digital experiences in fashion weeks, BRIFW proposed using expanded realities such as CGI, filters, metaverses, and holograms from the start. The goal is to explore the difference between digital and immersive technologies and all the new possibilities those technologies bring to the fashion industry. BRIFW core values are education, sustainability, and equal opportunities in the technological environment. In June 2021, BRIFW developed the first Latin American fashion exhibition in the metaverse. Beyond a gallery, we built an environment in an open atmosphere that users can navigate from all over the world. The purpose of this space is to present new ways to interact and unveil the creative process behind the collections of young Latin American designers and the various impacts of technology on their creative workflow. All exhibitions were designed based on co-creation among a network of different artists from BRIFW’s immersive community. The exhibition aimed to educate the public about interacting with the metaverse and how the digital can bring new creative opportunities for Latin America.

Olivia Merquior

Olivia Merquior is the founder of Brazil Immersive Fashion Week, the first immersive fashion week in Latin America. She is also a partner of BR Immersive, a company that offers experiences in expanded realities for the fashion, design, art and culture markets.

X-Ray Fashion (Maria Herholdt Engermann)

X-Ray Fashion is an award-winning VR documentary that tells the dark story of garment production in the fast-fashion industry. As an audience in X-Ray Fashion, you are invited on this eye-opening journey to see and feel different stages of the garment production that you usually never have access to: The glamorous catwalk shows in New York, the inside of a sweatshop in India and water supply polluted by fabric dye from the factories. In this presentation, hear Maria tell about the project and how it came to life. 

Maria Herholdt Engermann

With a bachelor degree in VIA Film & Transmedia, Aarhus, Denmark, Maria Herholdt Engermann has a deep craving hunger for new media storytelling – especially within transmedia and virtual reality (VR). For the last five years she has been specializing in how to create XR experiences that can attract international attention such as X-Ray Fashion and Separate Silences proven by having these exhbited all over the world at various A-ranked film festivals such as Cannes- and Venice film festival. Today she’s the founder of the XR company MANND that creates VR and AR solutions for both business and art, and together with co-founder Signe Ungermand where they are always seeking new and creative projects pushing the boundaries of VR and AR.

Redcycle (Edu Uribesalgo)

Launched in 2015 in collaboration with the Basque Government, the fishermen’s association of Gipuzkoa and the Italian company Aquafil, Redcycle is a pioneering process through which the discarded nets from the associations (in Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia) of Bermeo, Getaria and Hondarribia are collected. The nets are then sent to Slovenia, where Aquafil prepares, shreds and cleans them and sends them, in turn, to the ECONYL® regeneration plant. There, the waste is converted into ECONYL® thread, a result of mixing the recycled fishing nets with other recycled materials such as carpets. This thread is used to make the fabrics that are transformed into recycled, recyclable and environmentally friendly garments. Ternua has received 2 international awards in the most prestigious outdoor fairs in Germany. Today they have over 20 products made using discarded fishing nets in our Ternua collection

Edu Uribesalgo is the Ternua Group innovation and sustainability director.

Advanced clothing solutions (Anthony Burns)

The fashion industry is one of the most resource-intensive industries in the world. At ACS, our goal is to improve the sustainability of the fashion industry by delivering ecological, robust, low-cost, dependable, profitable services to our customers. In 2018, we realised that – in order to accomplish our goal – we had to become ‘Sustainability Champions’ in everything we do. We constantly endeavour to recycle, reuse, and reduce our waste and minimise our energy and water consumption right across the business. We are huge believers in the fact that all positive environmental changes we make contribute to us delivering ‘Fashion Without The Footprint’.

Anthony Burns is the COO of ACS, an internationally recognised business, which empowers fashion retailers and brands to strategically embed, and easily embrace, circular business models. In his role, he sets the strategic priorities of the business and leads the company in growing all areas, including marketing, technology, product and analytics. Anthony Burns’ mission is to improve the sustainability of the fashion industry, and be more socially accountable, while increasing ACS’s turnover exponentially within 5-years.

IT Fashion (Flora Miranda)

Flora Miranda is a future-forward couturier based in Antwerp, emphasising the importance of digital identities, intangible and yet seemingly predominant in our daily lives. Whether introduced as a method like 3D-scanning, 3D-printing, laser-cutting, machine learning or generative design, technology is an essential medium in the designer’s work. Coming from a family of artists and musicians, Flora’s mission is to bring art to fashion. Seeing computer programming as a creative tool, her vision is to transform into a creative software company. She sets the first step into this direction with “IT Pieces”: Garments that are generated based on personal data, as a proposition to a 100% automated pipeline from design to production. In the webinar, Flora will introduce the vision behind “IT Pieces” to use technology for a sustainable approach to fashion.

Flora Miranda is an Austrian fashion designer and visual artist, based in Vienna/Austria and Antwerp/Belgium. Throughout her work the main focus is on the human being, one’s body, senses and perception. Gradually the designer is taking away restrictions and practical considerations in fashion towards the real expression of the self.

Basque country joins the Districts of Creativity Network

The Basque Country may be small but it has a big identity. With over 5,000 years of history, it conserves a unique culture and the oldest language in Europe. Nowadays industry is the driving force of the Basque economy, accounting for 21.7% of GDP. By joining the Districts of Creativity Network the region aims at improving its international collaboration strategy for cultural and creative industries and share their experiences.

Founded in 2004, the DC Network unites regions around the world that focus on cross-disciplinary creativity and innovation to improve prosperity. The DC members believe the combination of creativity/creative industries, technology/science and entrepreneurship is a major source of prosperity and growth. Creativity is what makes people, companies, and regions unique. It offers the capacity to find innovative solutions to challenges in society. It allows to create new products, services or processes and contributes to the creation of economic value and to the general well being of people.

“Being part of a stable network such as DC Network means taking an important qualitative step in the international collaboration strategies of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) of the Basque Country.”

Josean Urdangarin – Basque government

The Basque Country will be represented by the Department of Culture and Linguistic Policy of the Basque government in the DC Network. “Being part of a stable network such as DC Network means taking an important qualitative step in the international collaboration strategies of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) of the Basque Country, says Josean Urdangarin of the Basque government, who will be the key contact person within the DC Network for the region. 

“I hope that by joining the network we will be able to share the experiences of the  Basque CCI sector and companies, on the one hand, and better understand and open channels of collaboration with the members of the network, on the other, with the common objective of addressing processes of innovative cross fertilisation”

In the Basque case, with an important level of cultural and linguistic specialization, the development of the creative economy is growing, opening up new channels of exchange and potential markets that have not been developed until now.

First DC Network Meetup inspires with new creative business models & initiatives that tackled COVID-19

Article by Hanna Schäfer

The first edition of the newly established online DC Network Meetups took place on May, 23rd, 2021. More than 50 participants from 13 countries all over the world joined to learn more about inspiring creative initiatives and business models that tackle the COVID 19 crisis.

“Creativity doesn’t stop within the borders of certain industries or disciplines, it is a universal tool for innovation and offers high potential for cross-disciplinary problem solving processes.”

Thomas Schwara – Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg

Dr. Petra Püchner, SPOC of the DC member-region Baden-Württemberg held the opening words for the meetup and introduced the welcome speakers Carlo Vuijlsteke (Districts of Creativity Network) & Thomas Schwara (Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg). “Creativity doesn’t stop within the borders of certain industries or disciplines, it is a universal tool for innovation and offers high potential for cross-disciplinary problem solving processes. One current example from Baden-Württemberg is CureVac with its RNA Printer®”, starts Thomas Schwara his welcome speech and opens the meeting by taking the COVID 19 crisis in focus. 

Grim Fest: organising a COVID-proof festival

Starting from there, our first speaker on stage was Aage Stokholm, founder of Grim Fest, and the co-creator of the Corona concept: De Grimmeste aftner (Grim nights). Giving up was no option for Aage and his team. They established the format: De Grimmeste aftner. A percentage of the ticket revenue is divided amongst all parties, depending on their investment. The amount of profit of the events were thus in correlation with how many tickets were sold to the specific event. This format not only ensured the survival of Grim Fest but was so successful that it was adapted in several cities.


Watchapp: a new performing arts format and platform

Mathijs F. Scheepers introduced to us Watchapp. The micro entertainment format uses Whatsapp to give the user the possibility to follow an interactive play for 3 weeks as a “spy / voyeur”. The participants are members of a Whatsapp group where they follow the play as a spy on their mobile device. Every message, picture, GIF, link and film the artists send each other will be delivered to the participants in real-time. This format does not only fill the gap on cultural life, but also reaches a total new target group. Right now, they are working on new event formats such as documentaries in order to widen the offer for the audience.


Petersburg Concert: from organising concerts to cultural export consultancy

Petersburg-Concert is one of the largest concert organisations in Russia and was hit hard by the consequences of the pandemic. In reaction to the changing reality, they launched the Cultural Export Activity. The initiative aims to gather new experiences and knowledge for supporting activities of Petersburg Concert and to develop the city’s cultural exports. “Russia has a very vivid and diverse cultural background and we just need to use this.”, said Ekaterina Artyushkina (General Director of Petersburg Concert). Right now, they are exploring a algorithm for promotion of Russian cultural services abroad, they offer online & offline seminars, workshops for potential exporters and they are supporting a variety of exchanging experience formats.

Petersburg concerts

Pitchview: starting an app from scratch again

In the beginning of 2020, everything was looking really good for Pitchview and their product Pitchview Collect, an app to capture leads of trade fair contacts. The numbers of clients were rising and there was a lot of work in the pipeline. March 2020 changed everything. Jonas Reinsch and Frederic Sell (CEOs & founders) started from scratch and together with a client, they came up with a new product: Pitchview Projector. An app that allows the marketing team to easily create interactive presentations in-house, bridging the digital divide. “Really helpful was the convertible funding: Start-up BW Pro-Tect from the state Baden-Württemberg, which gave us the necessary financial security to start something new.”, said Frederic Sell.


MadeBrave: working from anywhere, forever

MadeBravers Can Now Work from Anywhere, Forever – The COVID19 Pandemic is changing the way we work, not just for now, but forever. That is what Andrew Dobbie, Founder/CEO of MadeBrave, truly believes and that’s why he changed the way his company works completely. MadeBrave introduced a “work from anywhere” policy, which will be applied in post-pandemic time, too. Furthermore, they also adapted the working environment of the existing physical office space. “Our office will be more a ‘destination’ for people when they want or need it and not a mandatory 9-5 office space. Therefore, we introduced new physical measures such as desk spacing and Zoom pods for increased privacy.” explained Andrew in his lecture.  Those actions opened MadeBrave to a wider group of potential employees, since they do not have to live in the same city or even in the same country.

About the DC Network Meetups

The DC Network Meetups are about bringing together professionals from the different DC Network-regions to discuss specific topics related to cross-disciplinary creativity, innovation & entrepreneurship. The idea is to share good practices/inspiring examples/projects and stimulate knowledge exchange.

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