The answer is a resounding “yes”. It was no coincidence that the Bauhaus of the 20th century basically engineered a change in the educational paradigm, with limitations at the time that we would find difficult to admit today, such as the role of women in the movement. But it implied a revolution not only in artistic education but also in the role that the arts should play with regard to science, technology, engineering, etc.

In September 2020, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented an initiative that aims to bring together the scientific, social, technological, artistic and cultural fields in the search for solutions to contemporary challenges, as well as helping to achieve the European Green Deal. This initiative enshrines a seemingly simple idea: how to create a more sustainable, beautiful and inclusive Europe.

Europe is aware of the need for a multidisciplinary approach in the search for sustainable solutions, in which soft technologies have taken on a new relevance. And it does so by recapturing the essence of change in relation to its time that the German Bauhaus movement, founded by Gropius, represented between 1919 and 1933 in terms of avant-garde, divergent thinking.

Europe therefore intends to break with the existing hierarchy of generating knowledge and the potential catalyst for transformation and innovation. There are neither first-rate nor second- or third-rate disciplines. Today more than ever we need to construct transversal, complex visions to respond to complex problems, incorporating scientific, technological and humanistic perspectives in a cross-cutting manner, making creativity a vital component of this new knowledge that will lead us to societies that seek solutions focused on people and nature, posing new questions that help to endow the tools we use with new shared meanings.

The dominance of neoliberal economic discourse in the world has led us to understand education from an exclusively utilitarian perspective: educating for employment and productivity. There is a growing number of young people with a high technical mastery of “hard” tools and processes, but they often do not have a clear understanding of the why and what for of these tools.

Education has to prepare people for life and, in any case, for employability, especially in an environment of accelerated uncertainty, in which disciplinary and sectoral barriers are becoming increasingly blurred, in contrast to ultra-specialised training processes.

The New European Bauhaus must also engineer the capacity for disruptive innovation that is required by education. And it must do so under the idea that Ursula von der Leyen has already expressed in that it is essentially a cultural movement. Does anyone still have any doubts?

Written by Roberto Gómez de la Iglesia, Conexiones improbables