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UNIL-EPFL Cultural Innovations Program / Programme Innovations Culturelles (PIC)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the well-established relationship between cultural institutions and their public, raising in a very short period of time new and urgent challenges to be addressed collectively. The digital realm is being mobilized as a reservoir of effective and adaptable solutions in the face of closures, cancellations, and restrictions that affect exhibition spaces, concert venues, and theaters. These uncertainties have translated into an impetus to develop new innovations, to renew critical thinking in the face of the digital transition, and to imagine scenarios for a sustainable future for culture. 

Hosted by the UNIL-EPFL dhCenter, the Cultural Innovations Programme (Programme Innovations Culturelles, PIC) aims to bring together actors in digital studies and innovation across both campuses in the service of the culture and heritage sectors. Based on a collaborative research approach, in partnership with a wide variety of cultural actors and institutions, the PIC aims to create a center of expertise for the development of new approaches, both structural and technological, to innovations in cultural scholarship and performance.

Among the central questions that the PIC aims to answer are:

– How can we help cultural actors to continue their activities, to foster meaningful connections, to produce collective emotions and to facilitate audience engagement in a context of social distancing?

– What economic models need to be developed to encourage open and collaborative digital innovation, and to ensure that everyone involved in the value production chain is remunerated?

During the spring of 2020 , through a series of Open Labs, PIC’s partners (see list below) have drawn up an inventory of the challenges and issues they’ve been facing, and have shared and promoted innovative uses of digital technologies developed during the first months of the crisis. In the longer term, the PIC intends to create a permanent platform dedicated to research, pooling of resources, fundraising, support for innovative projects and consulting for ongoing digital transitions in all areas of culture.

PIC – Open Lab I (2020) Summary Report (in French)


Contact person: Alexandre Camus, email: alexandre [dot] camus [at] unil [dot] ch


Project coordination


Alexandre Camus (PIC coordinator): lecturer, UNIL ISS and EPFL CDH

Alain Dufaux: director, EPFL Cultural Heritage and Innovation Center, VPI-EPFL

Florence Graezer Bideau: senior scientist and lecturer, EPFL CDH

Anne Headon, director of the HUB Entrepreneurship and Innovation UNIL

Alain Kaufmann: director, UNIL ColLaboratoire

Charlotte Mazel-Cabasse: director, dhCenter UNIL-EPFL

Marie Neumann, Cheffe du Service culture et médiation scientifique UNIL

Pascal Vuilliomenet, EPFL VPI


Related news


PIC Open Labs – Open Lab I (dhCenter, September 10th, 2020)

Créer des expériences culturelles pour une société post-pandémique (19.05.2020) 

Creating cultural experiences for a post-pandemic society (dhCenter, May 19th, 2020)

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