Citizen Artist Incubator

The Citizen Artist Incubator aims to empower the next generation of artists with the skills necessary to actively implement change in our society and to explore unconventional partnerships and interdisciplinary exchange as part of an international network.


Project Summary

The Citizen Artist Incubator is the first program developed for performing artists that aspire to develop new ways of using collaborative artistic innovation to create an active impact on current issues and global challenges. It will take place from September 4th to 30th at Laxenburg Castle, 20km outside Vienna.

The faculty is composed of artists that have found effective ways to address pressing problems through their artistic practice, leading academics, scientists, policy makers, and experts from the fields of change management, conflict resolution, systems analysis, fundraising and media.

CAI aims to find new ways of creating artistic projects that will directly help to implement societal change; to develop a vision and ideas on the role of impactful art by designing new forms of collaboration between art, science and citizens in order to contribute to positive societal change in Europe; and to develop a concrete plan for an art project that applies these concerns.

Participants will become part of an international network of artists, scientists, academics and practical idealists that strive to trigger change.

The program is fully funded. It covers travel, accommodation, tuition and a 600 EUR stipend.


Visit the program at

The Founders

Merlijn Twaalfhoven

It is time for artists to become aware of their potential to impact today’s world.

Inequality, ­ Climate change, ­ Migration, Terrorism are some of the major global challenges we currently face. Whether we like it or not, we live in complicated times; consequently, a compelling time for artists. In the midst of this chaos there is a window of opportunity – a second phase of enlightenment where the sciences and humanities cease their co­existence and join forces ­in order to move towards a sustainable future.

We have reached a point where excellence alone is no longer enough; our problems are too complex and interconnected. The additional challenge we face is figuring out how we can actually apply our excellence in order to create active impact. For example, scientists used to think that their field could solve a problem such as climate change. While scientists have come up with possible solutions, those solutions are not being implemented because there are a lot of other factors at stake (economics, politics, etc.) and, consequently, we are at a standstill. The idea that these solutions need an interdisciplinary approach is now becoming increasingly accepted. In other words, the good news is that leading thinkers in the world – including scientists, policymakers, and academics – are waiting for us.

The Incubator challenge is to figure out how artists can contribute their knowledge and tools. It’s up to our generation of artists to make it happen! That’s why the Citizen Artist Incubator is here.

Gloria Benedikt

The challenge for the artist today: connector or specialist or both?

When you aspire to be a professional artist today, you need to be an amazing specialist. The demands of today’s art world are immense. There is a focus on excellence and competition on a global scale: ­you are expected to train, study and practice for years and years. On the other hand, you need to be an incredible generalist. You have to find your way across a multitude of skills, building networks of collaboration, exchange and entrepreneurship.

Many of us experience a big dilemma: should I focus on my work and deepen my artistic specialization, or should I develop a broad view on society, explore different ways to communicate and connect? You should not have to make that choice. The Citizen Artist Incubator is there to help you combine the two. We aspire to deepen your artistic specialization through a constructive connection with other artists, scientists and experts. By sharing your experience, skills and knowledge, you can broaden your impact without blurring your focus. You’ll find out how you can respond to current affairs, make sense of our changing world, convey key messages, leading by example etc. without compromising on your artistic vision. A Citizen Artist can depoliticize the political, emotionalize the analytic, move people and help communities to look at issues from new perspectives. There are endless ways to employ our craft and maximize impact. We are just at the beginning.