Thematic paths of the European City of Science

The activities carried out as part of the preparation of the EMNK 2024 celebrations fall into 6 thematic paths.

Climate and Environment

Nowadays, the anthropogenic climate change observed worldwide is the biggest challenge for the humanity. Its consequences include population migrations, armed conflicts (e.g. over the access to drinking water), devastating droughts, sudden weather phenomena, and new diseases. This is why it is so important for us to start introducing actions intended to slow down such changes and adapt to the changing reality. In this path, we are focusing on research related, e.g. to low-carbon economy and its effective implementation, energy transition and green power industry, closed-circuit economy, water and air quality as well as sustainable cities and communities.

Health and Quality of Life

Both physical and mental health are among the basic values that we strive for. Good health and well-being is also the name of the third out of 17 UN sustainable development goals. We are interested in how to take care of the quality of life, especially in times of crises – pandemic, war, growing economic tensions. Increased access to health services and health education are the grounds for sustainable development of the region and one of the goals of the European City of Science Katowice 2024. Within this path, we are focusing, e.g. on revitalising post-industrial areas so that they serve the local community in the best possible way. Good public space planning and greening areas will allow people to spend free time in the open air. Work also impacts our health and quality of life. The establishment of new attractive workplaces will not only allow us to keep young people in the region and contribute to the inflow of individuals from other regions of Poland of from abroad. It will also have positive influence on the quality of their lives. We are also jointly working on planning the future Green Science Zone as a place dedicated to contact with knowledge but also a place for spending free time.

Industries of the Future

In recent years we have seen a progress in modern technologies, including those related to artificial intelligence and robotics. The 21st century is a period of distinct technological changes, which may significantly improve the quality of life for many people. However, what should be done to make sure that this progress is beneficial for everyone, without leading to further social inequalities? Within this path we focus on issues such as digital economy, artificial intelligence and Internet of the future. We are also interested in ways to create transformative solutions and new economic practices, as well as the development of creative sectors, such as e-sport and gamedev.

Social Innovations

Katowice and the whole Upper Silesian region have undergone an extraordinary metamorphosis in recent years: we have changed from an area unambiguously associated with heavy and extractive industry into a centre where culture and industry based on knowledge plays the primary role. The most significant manifestations of this transformation include the establishment of Culture Zone with the new headquarters of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, three top nationwide musical festivals (OFF Festival, Tauron New Music, and relatively ‘young’ Fest Festival), as well as the success of Silesian Science Festival KATOWICE. We also ask ourselves how the City of Science should strengthen and develop cultural life around the above-mentioned institutions and initiatives, and emphasize the culture-forming role of science. We are interested, e.g. in significant changes for the development of the city and region and analysis of social needs. We also deal with citizen science, which gives us an excellent opportunity to have a real impact on the researchers’ work through the inhabitants of the City of Science and let them decide what the process of changes should look like.

Industrial and Cultural Heritage

One of the subjects we deal with under the European City of Science is the processes of social-economic transformation in the regions where heavy industry was present. Coal still plays an important role in our region – it is worth looking at it from many perspectives, not just as the black lumps that used to be extracted in mines. However, looking into the future, we cannot forget about our past. It is important for the region’s inhabitants to find out as much as possible about its mining and the industrial heritage and specific culture created around coal mines and foundries. We are also interested in cultural heritage. Past cultural goods are a source of information about the life of previous generations. They also show the history of places and people who lived before us. Within this path we are also looking far ahead. Prototyping future will allow us to better understand future products and services. Thanks to the foresight method, we can forecast future in mid- and long-time perspective. The present world requires us to keep gaining and developing new skills all the time. We focus, among others, on shaping the competencies of the future, such as critical thinking, problem analysis and solving, entrepreneurship, creativity and digital skills.

Creation and Criticism

We all like good stories, we all like moving to other worlds where these stories happen, and we all need someone to tell us these stories in an interesting way. Although building the City of Science mainly consists in discovering and connecting what already exists, the entire process also involves creating ‘a new world’ where a good and well-told story is to take place. We are interested, among other things, in creating and maintaining narratives but also in critical reflection on the conducted actions. We also rely on interdisciplinarity because a complementary and internally coherent reality can only be created by looking at the issue from many perspectives. We also handle the latest teaching methods. Forming critical reflection and openness to another human being, not only among students, but also in the whole society, is important from the point of view of the changes we observe in the modern world, which is filled with all kinds of false information. This is why critical thinking is a crucial skill.