Resonances Festival

Resonances Festival is the flagship programme of the JRC SciArt project, held every two years at the JRC in Ispra, close to Lago Maggiore in Italy. Resonances Festival brings together scientists, artists and policy makers to discuss matters of concern, not only to the JRC and the European Commission but also more widely to society.

Resonances Festival is prepared by a Summer School in Ispra. Scientists, artists and policymakers come together to discuss a theme relevant to EC policy – Food in 2015, Fairness in 2016-2017, Big Data in 2018-2019. They meet, explore, dialogue, find out, and, sometimes, contradistinguish. Yet they discover: similarities of intent, method, scope, in their differences of approach. If everything goes well, they connect, collaborate and develop shared projects.

The artists are inspired by science to develop proposals for novel works of art nurtured by science that in its turn is inspired by art and policy. The resulting art works are produced the year after the Summer School during an Artist-in-Resonance programme where artists work closely together with specialised scientists and policymakers of the European Commission.

The ensuing art works are presented first at a festival in Ispra. The exhibition then moves to a significant art venue in Europe, to continue the dialogue with the European citizen.
Scope of the Festival is to bring about resonances: resonance between disciplines as reflected in certain modern scientific fields such as Earth Sciences; resonance between art and science; resonance between art and policy. The plural, Resonances, indicates the transdisciplinarity and multi-faceted character, the need to confront any object of study from multiple points of view.

Resonances Festival is an experiment in dialogue, public discussion, rapprochement of knowledge and society, an active sign of union in a union of equals, an exercise in and invitation to a true democracy of disciplines. As any good experiment, it has no fear to fail.


In its simplest definition, SciArt is art inspired by science and art made with scientific concepts, tools and materials. It indicates a method rather than a stylistic or aesthetic principle or unity. The Joint Research Centre's SciArt project investigates the overlapping fields where art and science operate, their similarities of method and commonalities of approach. The assumption is that after centuries of estrangement, both bodies of knowledge are converging again in a new constitution/constituent of knowledge, freed from the limits inflicted by arbitrary disciplinary codes. The project does this as a JRC project, linking art as well as science to policymaking and hence, to society. Art can help scientists and policymakers not to lose sight of the big picture, through helping to unlock new avenues of research.

The central axis of the SciArt project is the stimulation of intense dialogue between scientists, policymakers and artists by bringing them together in one room and discuss one theme from various points of view. Art meets science meets policy, in order to investigate novel answers to known problems. Based on the understanding that you have to experience the rapprochement between art and science first-hand if you want to understand why and how they are converging again after centuries of estrangement, the project is driven by a DIY philosophy.


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy. It supports EU policies with independent scientific evidence throughout the whole policy cycle. The SciArt project intends to integrate art in the JRC's multidisciplinary work on an equal footing.

The JRC has six sites in five EU countries (Brussels, Geel, Ispra, Karlsruhe, Petten, Seville). Its work has a direct impact on the lives of citizens by contributing with its research outcomes to a healthy and safe environment, secure energy supplies, sustainable mobility and consumer health and safety. More information can be found here.