The final conference of the EU-funded project FAST45 – Futures Art School Trends in 2045 took place on 6 – 7 December 2023 in Brussels, hosted by LUCA School of Arts in Brussels, Belgium, and co-organised by AEC and ELIA. Taking a futures studies approach, the FAST45 project, which is now coming to its end, aimed at imagining, mapping and shaping a higher arts education landscape where participation, research, and education in the arts play a crucial and integrated role within the sector and society/ies of the future. During this 2-days event, about 100 participants coming from higher art education all over Europe discovered and responded to the four future scenarios depicted in the project: Open Spaces, Slow Eco-life, Phygital Frontiers and Profitable Endeavours; furthermore, participants had the opportunity to get to know the FAST45 Learning Platform, which includes a Data Map and a 3-year-long journey of lectures and seminars. FAST45 tested new methodologies for enhancing future thinking and imagining alternative futures in higher arts education: during the event, participants got to know the FAST45 Guidelines for implementing Future Labs and got insights on how to apply future thinking and its possible applications.

On the second day, participants moved to a very special venue, the Cinematek, in the centre of Brussels, in order to be able to meet and interact with EU policy makers and discuss with them the policy recommendations that came out as a result of the project. A panel moderated by Lars Ebert, Secretary General of Culture Action Europe (CAE) welcomed two special guests from the European Commission: Barbara Stacher, Senior Expert, Cultural Policy Unit, Directorate-General for Education and Culture, and Svein Hullstein, Policy Officer, Higher Education Policy, Directorate-General for Education and Culture; the panel was completed by the representatives of higher arts education Simon van Damme, Dean of LUCA School of Arts, Susanne Stürmer, President of ELIA and President of Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf and Deborah Kelleher, AEC President and Director of Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Participants engaged in the policy debate with the panellists starting to construct a roadmap that will empower higher arts education institutions to anticipate an unknown future and actively shape it.

A discussion document whose primary objective is to continue stimulating dialogue, instigating action, and driving information on the Scenarios and the Draft Policy Recommendations beyond the event, is now available for consultation.