Digital didactics: how ArtCentrica inserts itself into the New European Bauhaus


ABSTRACT: Il NEB (nuovo Bauhaus europeo) si pone in essere come una proposta creativa e interdisciplinare, in cui le idee più visionarie prendono vita, grazie all’incontro di arte, cultura e scienza. In uno scenario di forte cambiamento come questo, viene naturale pensare a quanto sia necessario trasformare i nostri sistemi di istruzione e formazione, in modo da renderli sempre più inclusivi e capaci di soddisfare le esigenze degli studenti di oggi, i cosiddetti “Gen Z”.

Questo è uno dei motivi che sta spingendo il team di ArtCentrica, applicazione cloud – oggi anche startup innovativa – a continuare lo sviluppo e l’integrazione di un numero sempre maggiori di collezioni culturali, potenziare la piattaforma, fornendo un prodotto/servizio rivolto all’insegnamento e all’apprendimento dell’Arte all’avanguardia nel panorama EdTech. La piattaforma è nata con l’intento di rivoluzionare il paradigma delle lezioni frontali in classe, a favore di un apprendimento attivo (anche da remoto), basato sulla collaborazione tra studente e insegnante. ArtCentrica ha già partnership importanti (Gallerie degli Uffizi, Pinacoteca di Brera, National Geographic) ed è accelerata da FuturED di Cassa Depositi e Prestiti-H-FARM.

ABSTRACT: NEB (New European Bauhaus) is an interdisciplinary and creative proposal wherein far-seeing ideas take form, thanks to the encounter of art, culture and science.

In a scenario of strong change in which we find ourselves it is natural to think about how necessary it is to tranform our methods of instruction and education in a way to make them more inclusive and able to satisfy the needs of today’s students, the so-called Gen-Z component of society.

This is one of the factors pushing the ArtCentrica team cloud application – today also a tech start-up – to continue the development and integration of an ever increasing number of museum collections which rienforce the educational platform providing a service directed to the teaching and learning of Art by using state-of-the-art tecnology directly associated with the vision of EdTech. The learning platform has evolved with the intent of disrupting formal instruction methods in favor of active participation (even remotely) based on student and instructor collaboration. To date ArtCentrica has developed important partnerships with Gallerie degli Uffizi, Pinacoteca di Brera, National Geographic and is being accelerated by FuturED of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti-H-FARM.

The New Bauhaus and the digital world: the proposal of ArtCentrica

The new european Bauhaus is a project that was launched last november by the President of the European Comission, Ursula von der Leyen, to reconsider the lifestyles of the citizens of the European Union, and to respond to the challenges of the future while taking into consideration accessibility, inclusivity and sustainablity. NEB positions itself as an interdisciplinary and creative proposal in which far-seeing ideas take form thanks to the encounter of art, culture, and science.

Riding the wave of regeneration within the european union it comes naturally to think of the necessity of transforming our educational system in a way to make it more inclusive and capable of satisfing the needs of today’s students, the so-called “Gen-Z”. Where does one start?

Digital tecnologies can assist us in this, in that they offer infinite possibilities of application and can be modified with ease to the requirements of today’s youth, regardless of their level of preparation.

The digital world opens a path to new methodologies of learning, encouraging the formation of a scolastic environment based on collaboration and team building between teachers and students.

Over the past two years – with the unplanned assistance of the pandemic – teachers were able to experiment with digital resources during a prolonged period, aknowledging that digital resources were not that bad, all things considered, but rather, that benefits were present from which to draw upon. A research project by the Fondazione Cariplo in collaboration with WeSchool and the Politecnico di Milano, and presented during the conference, Innovazione e didattica: i big data per disegnare la Scuola di domani, noted that at least 57% of the teachers continued to utilize digital resources after the lock-down period.

Encouraging data of this kind indicates something is changing, even within the complex structure of educational systems and is one of the reasons that encourages the cloud application of the ArtCentrica team – a recent innovative start-up – to continue the development and integration of the aquired database of an ever increasing number of important cultural collections to rienforce the platform, to supply a service, a product, for teaching and learning Art in a state-of-the-art scenario within the world of EdTech.

Let us take a step backward. ArtCentrica was born with the task of improving the learning experience with regards to Art. This in that Art is considered minor league material by students because it is considered unappealing and not participatory. And yet, Art is an essential discipline and the studies undertaken – such as those by the European Education e European Schoolnet, summerized in the article “Digital learing during the pandemic – Resources from cultural heritage for and from teachers” demonstrate that the study of Art has a positive influence in the overall learning process and ameliorates the way in which one experiences the scolastic learning environment.

As a result educators have updated the the resourses acronym from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to STEAM, where the “A” of Art plays a crucial role in the development of cross-cultural competences – at present considered a fundamental necessity to enter the workplace – where scientific and technological competences are united with humanistic fields of study.

As long as the platform is aligned with the New European Bauhaus the ArtCentrica team will be dedicated to the diffusion of digital culture in an ever expanding field while applying to and winning entry to accelerator programs, the most recent of which are: IMPACT EdTech – promoted by European Schoolnet, ISDI and FundingBox and FuturED – promoted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and H-FARM. Furthermore ArtCentrica continues to upgrade its own offerings through an internal research and development process with educational and cultural partners (Pinacoteca di Brera, National Geographic) and also through European projects such as “CCI Thrive” which is co-financed by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and is in partnership, among others with Ars Electronica (Linz) e IMZ Internationales Musik&Medienzentrum.

The goal is to understand the obstacles which interfere with cultural and creative european initiatives to acheive international fame and competitivity, experimenting with avant-garde technologies and processes tested for future use to find solutions that are practical and convincing for small and medium sized companies.

More recently, ArtCentrica has been selected to be a partner in the DIGITART project – financed by the EU funding agencies – within the specific european fund KA220-SCH- Cooperation partnerships in school education Erasmus+, which gets underway during the month of November 2022. The principle objective is to allow the participating organizations to operate independently as well as in partnership with each other at a trans-national level, allowing for internalization of the activities through the exchange and development of innovative methods, as well as to promote the condivision and discussion of ideas.

Instead within the scolastic context, the ArtCentrica team has designed a pilot project which will soon take flight in 14 middle schools – in Italy and beyond. In this project teachers and students will be able to touch with their hands the ArtCentrica platform during art history lessons. They will become first person participants in this moment of transition: they will be able to construct, in a innovative way, lessons for futher involvement of the subject matter which they prefer most, directly from the application, adding notes in the areas of interest, zooming into the details and much more.

Thanks to ArtCentrica, teachers will put into use the TPACK model for the creation of a live learning experience. The TPACK model predisposes for the integration of pedagogical elements, content, and associated technology with the desired end result of obtaining innovative didactic experiences programmed into the system by the teachers allowing them to experiment and ameliorate the offering each day with the end goal of presenting an alluring and inclusive learning setting.

In the development of active learning experiences the teachers encourage the students to actively participate in the act of learning itself, allowing them to construct their own comprehension and learning history thus contributing to the construction of a collaborative didactic environment. This approach is in contrast to the “passive” system whereby the teacher speaks to the students taking for granted that the students understand everything immediately.

The proposed paths, formative as well as collaborative, allow the students to aquire competences not forseen by traditional scolastic curricula but are important by virtue of the rapid pace that the digital sector is crossing. Citing the Winner & Hetland study “the thought process” that students aquire through a high quality experience of Art, include the capacity for internal reflection, self-criticism, and the willingness to experiment and learn from errors.

(“Why Do We Teach Arts in the Schools? The dialogue continues. A response to Winner/Hetland”).

The effects of digital didactics on cultural institutions

Increasing student interest in Art can also generate positive returns for the families of the students in that family members can take advantage of ArtCentrica to increase their knowledge of art.

ArtCentrica is a continually evolving product, whether tecnologically, or in its content which at present includes over 6000 hi-resolution images of artworks from the some of the most prestigious collections in the world from some of the most important museum in the world (Gallerie degli Uffizi, Pinacoteca di Brera, MET, Rijksmuseum, and etc.). All this information can be used in didactic activities thanks to the inclusion of interactive tools.

By its nature the platform contributes to give visibility to Museums, furthermore, the team has developed a business model that goes beyond this, bringing value and added resources (with respect to traditional models) to cultural institutions, giving them a percentage of the income earned from the annual sales of the platform to schools and universities. Through the activation of these good business practices ArtCentrica has not only introduced a rethink of how to offer cultural holdings but also a way to incentivize the connection – virtual and in person – between cities and museums.

In that regard it is important to note how, in fact, museums and cultural institutions make limited use of technology for commercial uses (2% – ISTAT database 2020) and didactic uses (2% – ISTAT database 2020). And yet, especially during the pandemic period many people made use of these digital resources and by way of the ISTAT database for the year 2020 44.2% of the public will continue to utilize digital resources with the same intensity as during the pandemic months.

Another piece of data to take into consideration: 65.5% of the visitors interviewed in research made by the Direzione DG Musei during the year 2020 believes that the availabilty of high quality digital content on-line (photographs, video, content) can induce the visitor to make the effort to visit the museum or cultural institution in person.

Therefore, a direct consequence of increasing the visibility of museums on-line is the increased visits to the museums, which results in an increased growth in ticket sales.


The introduction of digital platforms for didactic purposes gives way to an innovative and stimulating school, first of all for the students, but also for the teachers, especially for those who have less experience with technologically advanced systems. The digital platform helps them to improve their relationship with the new technology and to stay up to speed with the changes in society.

Thanks to the interactions that students and teachers can have with ArtCentrica, as well as with the eventual feedback, it will be possible to construct a valid database to study the effects of this method of teaching Art and the relationship students develop with this system. The increased data will allow for the improvement of didactic models and demonstrate the importance of the educational material with regard to the evolving scolastic panorama.

It is now obvious that an interdisciplinary atmosphere is necessary to build the future. It is most apparent that culture and technology should build a synergetic relationship and not insist on living in separate worlds.

Teachers are called upon to find beauty in their teaching environments, such as in a Learning Community with the goal of bringing to the fore the potential of each and every student, and in this, we wish to emphasize, that digitial instruments, due to thier inherent interactive nature, represent a truly valid resource. For further information on ArtCentrica go to: the video https:// and send an e-mail to