Introducing and& festival 2021, a hybrid event around tech, innovation and arts & music for a better world.
and& is a five day event, found at the intersection of health, high-tech and creativity. Pieter Goiris - co-founder of Boondoggle, Het Depot and De Hoorn- is curating the second edition of this ambitious event, an initiative of Leuven MindGate.
Last years edition was cancelled due to Covid19 measurements. Although the pandemic is still in our daily lives, the team announced it will make and& happen. In any case.
Pieter: I’ll admit, that was not an easy decision. But this meeting of the minds has to happen. With Leuven named as City of Innovation 2020, we had to come up with an alternative, Covid-proof plan. The pandemic proved us how vital science, innovation, tech, arts and entrepreneurship really are, to look beyond the big issues of our times.
We call out all creatives, tech wolves, entrepreneurs, leaders and storytellers to join us around five pillars: a Conference, Music & Arts, an Entrepreneurial Summit, a Play-programme for the little innovators and the Leuven iCapital Show.
The conference evolves around 21 questions for the 21th century. We want to know from the experts and from you, the public: which question is keeping you awake at night? Keep an eye on our communication channels, where we will regularly announce new questions and names of influential speakers.
Nice. How can we prepare for and&? Any podcast you can recommend us?
Pieter: "I had a good time listening to Cal Fussmans’ podcast ‘Big questions’, in preparation for and&. The episode with Simon Sinek called ‘The Infinite Game’ is epic. Sinek makes a case that the most successful companies now tend to be guided by leaders with an infinite mindset. "Business should not be treated like it’s a sporting event that has a definite period of time and ends with a win or a loss," he said. It definitely offers inspiration for our Entrepreneurial summit, that evolves around the wellbeing of our planet and its people.
Cal Fussman signed present to our conference, by the way. The man sent a letter to the president of the United States at the age of seven. I figured I could send him one too. (wink)
"The pandemic proved us how vital science, innovation, tech, arts and entrepreneurship really are, to look beyond the big issues of our times."
Photo by Thomas Ost for The Word Magazine.
Let's say 2021 goes up in fire. Which book do you take with you into the 21st century?
Pieter: The 21th century will be the era of the female. Take the book of Italian American economist Mariana Mazzucato 'Mission Economy - A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism'. She calls governments for the same level of boldness and experimentation as with the Apollo launch to the moon, to be applied to the biggest problems of our time.
And then there's the great Alicia Garza, who started the #blacklivesmatter movement back in 2013. Her book 'The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart?' tells her own story, the story of one woman's lessons through years of bringing people together to create change. She is leading a new generation of changemakers, from the mind and heart.
What was the most important trend, evolution or happening for you, in the last year?
Pieter: The pandemic makes it painfully clear that, if innovation is governed badly, it doesn’t necessarily make the world a better place. There were different vaccins developed in ten months time, which is a widely celebrated technological wonder.
But there are still no answers for structural inequality, the knowledge gap, digital poverty, disease and other fundamental problems. To innovate for the better is not so obvious, without drawing the full picture. With and& we want to provide an environment to work across disciplines.
What will be the soundtrack of and&?
Pieter: "That will be the music of Max Cooper. During the first edition, music was a vital part of our programme. We are strong believers of the synergies between arts and science. Het Depot in Leuven is one of our key partners. With current Covid measurements though, we had to refrain from most of our music programme. Though and& wouldn’t be and& without some novelty. We are proud to have joined forces with electronic musician Max Cooper, to create a stunning new audiovisual work, especially for and&. Cooper will be exploring the themes of the conference through a unique immersive experience that will get its world premier during and&, at an exclusive location in the city centre of Leuven.
Finally, we welcome you to STUK Leuven for the exposition Look At Us Now. The artists Angela Washko -presenting a solo exhibition, Roel Heremans and Marco Barotti will also be giving a talk our conference. Creativity is the motor of all innovations. Without the Music & Arts pillar and& would not be complete.