The Landscape of STEAD in Brazil and the United Kingdom: A Comparative Study

Coordinators: Bronac Ferran/Felipe Fonseca
with Professor Karla Brunet

Within this White Paper, we will survey SEAD-related activities and identify significant developments in two contrasting countries – Brazil and the UK. We adapt SEAD to STEAD to include ‘t’ for technology which  Is very much at the core of this collaborative study. The word STEAD is also anold English word meaning place.

The work builds on a close history of exchange between digital media networks and arts-environmental communities in both countries as well as on earlier reports and publications including ‘Mapping Digital Culture in Brazil’ a report co authored by Ferran and Fonseca in 2008 and ‘Paralelo: Art, Technology and Environment’, a networking event and publication with Brazilian, Dutch and UK contributors held in 2009.

Our aim is to achieve a panoramic overview of the landscape of STEAD developments in both countries within policy and funding contexts, including research initiatives, pinpointing significant developments, challenges and opportunities. We will map, compare and contrast key trends and trajectories

We believe the work may potentially form the basis for future comparative studies with a broader range of countries. Its methodology will be piloted and open for future adaptation as well as potential extension beyond the scope of this initial study.

A key focus in this initial stage will be on level and direction of funding of projects, shaping of funding policies, resources and structures of support.  We will conduct intensive interviews with a selected group of people coordinating STEAD programmes and projects in both countries and create also a series of questionnaires, following the methodologies deployed within the earlier mapping report. Our work will also include desk and literature review. The analysis will cover a range of private and independent funding sources along with public and state support frameworks. We will seek to identify leading organisations and agencies working across and between the different STEAD sectors and track trends which we perceive as pivotal in this area. Our paper will also seek to address some of the complexities at work in the formation of inter-, multi- and anti-disciplinary support structures and explore the interplay between formal institutionalised bases and often more informal, networked or practice-led activities.

About the writers:  Bronac Ferran is a writer, visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London and former Director of Interdisciplinary Arts at Arts Council England; Felipe Fonseca is a writer, founderof Metareciclagem, Ubalab and Bricolabs networks and a Graduate Student at Labjor, Unicamp, Campinas, Brazil and Karla Brunet is an artist and Professor at the Federal University of Bahia.