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Science & Exploration

N° 25–2005: Developing a cultural policy for the International Space Station

20 May 2005

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the independent arts organisation the Arts Catalyst in London a contract to carry out a 6-month study on possible future cultural utilisation of the International Space Station (ISS), the European aspects of the Station in particular.


"The International Space Station is a great achievement of human ingenuity and international cooperation, as well as a cutting-edge research facility. But the European Space Agency believes strongly that the cultural world too should have a say in the future of space exploration. We therefore want to open the ISS to a new community of artistic and cultural users," emphasises Daniel Sacotte, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration.

"This new study sets out to investigate and focus the real interest of the cultural world in the International Space Station, to generate a policy for involving cultural users in the ISS programme in the longer term and to develop a first representative set of ready-to-implement demonstrator projects in arts, culture and media," explains Dieter Isakeit, Head of the Erasmus User Centre for the International Space Station, who is supervising the study on the ESA side, "and in order to provide potential future cultural users with the full context for their engagement with the ISS programme, the study also aims to examine and articulate the contemporary social and cultural significance of the Station in the larger sense of human space exploration."

In the course of the study, artists and cultural practitioners from a broad spectrum of disciplines are being consulted by the Arts Catalyst team on the features of the ISS that would be of interest to them, including its ground-based support facilities, such as launch sites, astronaut training facilities and national user support centres across Europe.

Under the leadership of the Arts Catalyst in London, the study team includes Leonardo-Olats (Paris, France) and Delta Utec SRC (Leiden, Netherlands), together with a Europe-wide network of cultural and space advisors.

For further information about the study please contact:

Franco Bonacina

ESA Media Relations Division

Tel: +33 (0)1 5369 7155

Fax: +33 (0)1 5369 7690

Dieter Isakeit

Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration

Tel: +31 (0)71 565 5451

Fax: +31 (0)71 565 8008

Miranda Pope

The Arts Catalyst

28 Commercial Street

London E1 6LS (United Kingdom)

Tel: +44 (0)20 7375 3690

Fax: +44 (0)20 7377 0298




For further information:

ESA Media Relations Division

Tel: +33(0)

Fax: +33(0)