In May 2015, the CASTII (Center for Arts, Sciences, Technologies, Innovations and Inclusion) project, initiated and led by iMAL, was selected by the Brussels-Capital Region as part of the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020.
With CASTII, iMAL wants to develop a newly equipped art center, offering an art and culture programme for a large audience, both international and local for the Molenbeek and Brussels population. iMAL, Center for Digital Cultures and Technology, is the integration of a digital arts center, a medialab and a fablab. The center holds a unique position in Europe and is renowned both locally (in Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders) and internationally.
A pilot programme of activities, integrating Digital Creativity and Social Inclusion
The project will develop a new programme of activities, aimed in particular at the disadvantaged local populations of the Canal zone (Brussels center and Molenbeek), living in a problematic situation of integration and inclusion. With this dedicated programme, iMAL intends to reach and attract an audience that usually does not visit cultural venues. These activities will be carried on with the project partners: the LES association (Fight against Social Exclusion), and the Molenbeek House of Cultures and Social Cohesion (HCSC). They will take place both at iMAL and HCSC.
Focused on creativity through technology, this pilot programme aims to investigate new forms of teaching, empowerment, autonomy, inclusion, but also social and professional recognition. It intends to put a new value on “making”, on manual skills, knowledge and personal sensibility by associating them with the the possibilities offered by digital technologies.
A new infrastructure for digital cultures and for a wide variety of audiences
With its international and local outreach and over 15 years experience, iMAL has de facto become the Center for Arts, Science and Technology the Brussels-Capital Region needs. One of the objectives of the CASTII project is to consolidate this position by doubling the surface of the center – from 600 to 1200m² – allowing to create new exhibition and public spaces, a new FabLab, and artist residencies facilities. The art & culture programme of this new space will be fully financed outside of ERDF, and will cover activities around digital arts and cultures, building further on the current operations of iMAL.
An advanced FabLab for artists, creative professionals and Local Audience
The new iMAL center will incorporate a larger and newly equipped FabLab, in order to better prepare the Brussels population to societal and cultural changes that result from new technologies (e.g. digital manufacturing). It will also attract young audiences to new and creative professions and provide advanced infrastructure to all creators of the region (artists, designers, engineers, developers,…). The new FabLab will also be a tool that increases the attractiveness of iMAL as an international artist residency location for advanced art projects.
A FabLab for the youth in Molenbeek
Fablab’ke, a FabLab space dedicated to young audiences, is installed at the Molenbeek House of Cultures and Social Cohesion, with the purpose to better reach local populations, to decentralise and to transfer skills. Mobile elements will allow the MCCS to work directly within the schools network of the Molenbeek municipality. The equipment is adapted to the young people. The FabLab’ke program focus on Young’s and family’s activities. With this approach, the FabLab’ke reach a wide audience that won’t spontaneously visit cultural and technological venues.
An area in full renewal in the center of Brussels
Very well situated in a central priority zone undergoing a dramatic renewal, it offers a programme of activities that combines arts and culture for a large audience as well as inclusive activities for the local population. It also provides an advanced digital manufacturing infrastructure to creative and international artists in residency, preparing tomorrow’s contemporary art. Ideally located – and visible – between the MIMA (Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art, opened in 2016) and the future Pompidou/Citroën Art Center (planned for 2020), the new iMAL center will, in 2018, fully contribute to the revival of the Canal zone and strengthen the position of Brussels as the European Capital for contemporary arts and digital creativity.
iMAL (coordinator), LES asbl, Molenbeek House of Cultures and Social Cohesion (MCCS, Municipality of Molenbeek)
CASTII network: Formation Insertion Jeune (FIJ) asbl, Indutec, Sirris, Brussels Business Hubs. See partners.
2016-2020. Opening of the new iMAL center in the fall of 2018.