Acta Astronautica 105 (2014): 181-191

Towards a cooperation between the arts, space science research and the European Space Agency – Preliminary findings of the ESA Topical Team Arts and Sciences (ETTAS).

Pell, S.J., Imhof, A.B., Waldvogel, A., Kotler, J.M., & Peljhan, M.


  • Recommendations to ESA for an ESA Arts Initiative (EAI).
  • Towards a collaboration between artists, scientists and engineers.
  • Formats of cooperation, strategic relations, financing, quality management, results.
  • Use of existing ESA infrastructure and programmes to complement project goals.
  • Recommendations can serve also as basis for future similar initiatives.
  • Abstract

    The arts offer alternative insights into reality, which are explored by science in general, and broadened by the activities conducted by the European Space Agency and other space agencies. Similar to the way the members of ESA are ambassadors for spaceflight and science, artists and cultural professionals are ambassadors for human expression, experimentation, and exploration. In June 2011, the ESA Topical Team Arts and Sciences (ETTAS) held a three-day workshop at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. During this workshop, topics and ideas were discussed to develop initiatives between the arts, sciences and ESA. The aim was to foster and expand the human and cultural aspects of space exploration, and at the same time offer a means of communication that aims to reach audiences beyond the scope of traditional space-related channels. The consensus of the team was that establishing and sustaining a transdisciplinary professional community consisting of ESA representatives, scientists and artists would fuel knowledge transfer, and mutual inspiration. Potential ways to provide a sustainable cooperation within and between the various groups were discussed. We present the preliminary findings including a number of measures and mechanisms to initiate and conduct such an initiative. Plausible organisational measures, procedures and consequences, as well as a proposition on how to proceed are also discussed. Overall, the involvement and cooperation between the arts, space science research and ESA will enhance in the citizens of the ESA member states the sense of public ownership of ESA results, and participation in ESA׳s research.


    Art–science collaboration; Space; Exploration; Artists; Knowledge transfer; ESA Arts Initiative

    This paper was presented during the 63rd IAC in Naples, IT. Copyright © 2014 IAA. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    ⇐ Back to Publications