April 2018 marks the third anniversary of VPRO Medialab in Eindhoven. Time to take stock: what are the results of a VPRO lab outside the Hilversum Mediapark and in the heart of the Brabant technology and innovation world?

Based on the considerations outlined below, the decision has been made that VPRO Medialab will take on national projects and will no longer be Eindhoven-based from the end of 2018. The VPRO will continue to actively involve its partners in Eindhoven and Brabant in its activities.

Evaluation of activities

The Medialab projects and activities undertaken during the past three years have provided important knowledge and an inspiring network that were not present before, such as the innovation and technology network in the Brainport region that VPRO Medialab has been able to connect with. Furthermore, the projects have provided new insights into innovative ways of making and consuming media. As such, the VPRO was the first broadcaster to explore storytelling with the HoloLens and to experiment with the measurement and visualisation of intrinsic emotions within a media context. In addition, the social outreach is significant. A wide audience has been reached through many events. There were over 700 visitors to nine editions of Bliksem en Donderdag, our DDW exhibitions attracted 45,000 visitors and 200 participants hacked during seven Hackathons. These are primarily people who are professionally involved with (new) media, design and technology.

Office in Eindhoven

For most of the Medialab projects and activities we have sought collaborations with a wide variety of (inter)national partners. In 2016 the Meet Up series travelled through TodaysArt, Cinekid, IDFA, Eurosonic Noorderslag and STRP. Together with these festivals and our visitors we explored the future of storytelling. In the autumn of 2015, 2016 and 2017 VPRO Medialab organised nine-day exhibitions during the DDW. These are all parties and events with national allure and support. A small number of the activities were organised locally, namely the editions of Bliksem en Donderdag and Hackathons. After three years in this location, the conclusion is that it is possible to realise innovative media projects with parties both in Eindhoven and further afield. An office in Eindhoven is not necessary for this. Furthermore, it is the ambition of VPRO Medialab to develop a closer relationship with the themes from the VPRO programming in the near future, both physical and substantively.

National focus in 2018

Based on this evaluation, the VPRO has decided to continue with the VPRO Medialab with full conviction after 2018, but to adjust the organisation and approach. This means that the focus will not be ‘Eindhoven only’, but national. This does not exclude Eindhoven and Brabant: not the location, but the appropriate content and collaborative partners will be leading in the projects.

This means that the VPRO Medialab office in the Natlab will become a travelling lab from the end of 2018 – a different home base will be possible per project. The correspondence address is within the VPRO in Hilversum. VPRO Medialab activities will continue in Eindhoven in 2018 with a last Bliksem en Donderdag on 3 May and the Internet of Things project, Blok22, with a final presentation during the Dutch Design Week in October 2018. We will share more news about these projects via our website and social media.

Contacts for VPRO Medialab are editor in chief Annelies Termeer (a.termeer@vpro.nl) and producer Samantha Castano (s.castano@vpro.nl).