What a pleasure it was to share the activities of VAST H2020 project in the Galleria d’ Arte Moderna (GAM)  in Milano, on 10 November 2023.

Ιnspired by the Suzanne Jackson’s exhibition ‘Somethings in the world, 11 students of the last year of the Istituto Europeo Leopardi in Milano, accompanied by their educators, were invited to reflect about the concept of values and their role in our lives.

Through interactive activities and a brainstorming session, collaborating researchers of VAST project Dr. Dora Katsamori (NCSR-D), Ms. Carmen Gagliardi and Ms Ilenia Ulivi (both from Museo Galileo)  encouraged the students to create their personal mind maps and then, to work in groups and through dialogue  and collaboration to create  group ones.

A completely fresh and inspired view of how values emerged from contemporary art and perceived by youth in modern society.

Special thanks to Fondazione Furla for the warm hospitality at the  exhibition!

Many thanks to the educators of the Istituto Europeo Leopardi for the creative collaboration!

The video from the webinar is available to watch here.

What do we know about the values of people? What are the values distilled in an AI system and how are they licensed? How do we ensure trust in the AI lifecycle? This webinar explores current activities and practices that aim to align the values of people in AI systems and in the society at large.

Invited Talks

What’s in a Value? Understanding the Normative Structure of Ethics in Technology. | Dr. Katie Evans, IEEE 

The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence has become one of the busiest buzz words in the AI ecosystem to date, finding increasing traction in technical discussions, popular discourse and even in recent legislative advances. Nonetheless, it stands to reason that a knowledge of the substantive content of AI ethics, and a fortiori, of the basic structure of ethics itself, is often lacking in these contexts. What do we really know about values, if only that they seem somehow « valuable »? The aim of this talk is to demystify the connection between ethical structure and technology practice, debunking common misconceptions, clarifying key concepts, and addressing how to successfully identify what matters ethically (and how it matters) in the design, deployment and governance of current AI technology.


Experiments on automatic extraction of values from texts. | Dr. Nicolas Stefanovitch- Research Officer, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

An overview of Dr. Nicolas Stefanovitch’s talk is available below:

ValuesML Project

From Open Source to Values Based Responsible AI licences. | Mr. Alexandros Nousias, NCSR Demokritos

In an era where AI is as influential as the electricity that powers it, aligning its course with our set value system is not just ideal but imperative. The present talk will focus on the vital importance of contextual use behaviour in shaping AI licences and AI usages thereof. While exploring the symbiotic relationship between AI licensing and regulation the talk draws lessons from the rich history of Open Source Software licences.


Talking about values to AI professionals. Why and how? | Dr. Maria Dagioglou, NCSR Demokritos

Encouraging inclusion within AI practices and methods is not just a desired behaviour any longer. Considering diversity, non-discrimination and fairness is a requirement and even an obligation for ethical AI. AI professionals need to receive the training and the tools that promote an inclusive culture. This talk will describe approaches that have been followed during this end. Specific focus will be given on how a VAST educational activity has been adapted to a workshop that heightens AI professionals’ awareness on the diversity of people’s values,  encourages critical thinking and avoidance of personal-biases.

What do the values of Democracy, Freedom and equality mean to us today? How do we experience tolerance and dignity? Why do we need dialogue? Do we all mean the same thing when we say rule of law?

To help answer those questions, VAST partner Athens Epidaurus Festival organises a series of 8 theatrical workshops with the Municipality of Nice – Aghios Ioannis Rentis (in Athens, Greece) in the frame of the project’s research on how ancient drama values are communicated through theatrical approach. Each workshop lasts for 2 hours, is free of charge, open to the public and will run for 8 weeks.

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday 26 October, 19:00 – 21:00
Thursday 02 November, 19:00 – 21:00
Thursday 09 November, 19:00 – 21:00
Thursday 16 November, 19:00 – 21:00
Thursday 23 November, 19:00 – 21:00
Saturday 25 November, 11:00 – 13:00
Thursday 30 November, 19:00 – 21:00
Saturday 02 December, 11:00 – 13:00

People over the age of 18 can participate, with pre-registration, at the Culture and Education Department of the Municipality (tel. 00302104906021 | mouseia@nikaia-rentis.gov.gr) and will take place at Mantra Blokou Kokkinias.

VAST project partner National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) cordially invites the general public to a full day conference dedicated to Ancient Greek Drama and Theatre Values Across Space and Time in the frame of the project on Tuesday 3 October 2023 in Athens, Greece.

In view of the finalisation of the VAST project in the coming months,  partner NKUA organises the event so as to present to the general audience the research results of the project in relation to how the perceive the past and present of values in ancient Greek drama.

Time: 10:00am – 20:00pm

Place: Amphitheatre Alkis Argyriadis, Central Building of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Conference language: Greek

The Agenda is available to DOWNLOAD HERE


In the beginning of April 2023, VAST participated in the 13th Conference “Cutting Edge Technologies in Educational Practice” organised by the Avgoulea-Linardatou Schools, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. VAST project collaborating researchers Dora Katsamori and Lida Arnellou presented the VAST educational approach and the educational materials and exhibits created during the project’s implementation.

The presentations focused on the use of cutting-edge technologies in the field of intangible cultural heritage providing hands-on activities and tools to educators and museum curators for their everyday work.

For more info about the conference and its program (in Greek) click here 

Within the framework of the Ancient Greek Drama pilot of the VAST Project, partner FESTIVAL staged a contemporary adaptation of the ancient Greek drama Antigone by Sophocles. Through this performance and case study, the Athens Epidaurus Festival investigated questions regarding the way core European values, such as freedom, democracy, equality, tolerance, dialogue, human dignity, and rule of law, are related to the present, the role of ancient drama in relation to the communication of values, and the way that values are perceived and interpreted by theatre artists and audiences in modern society.

The performance of “Antigone” by Sophocles

The research was based on a mixed methods approach, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methods and addressing the perception of values by theatre artists, as value communicators, as well as by audiences, as value recipients and final co-authors of meaning. In what concerns qualitative methods, eight semi-structured interviews were conducted with theatre artists (the director, the dramaturgist, the set and lighting designer, the costume designer, and four actors in key roles), and two focus groups were held with audience members. Concerning quantitative methods, an audience questionnaire based on 33 variables was prepared and circulated during all three performances, and it was answered by a random and representative sample (15,06%) of the audience.

Post-performance discussion between theatre artists and the audience

Research results demonstrated a strong engagement with values by both theatre artists and the audience. At the same time, both groups coincide in their positive assessment of contemporary ancient drama adaptations as a means of addressing values in the present. Antigone’s spectators, in particular, clearly display the features of the “knowing” audience, while a multivariate analysis demonstrates the significance of age and professional or educational involvement in theatre regarding the perception of values and ancient drama adaptations.

The Athens Epidaurus Festival presented its research results at the AIMS Conference in a paper titled “Televising Antigone? Understanding the political values of ancient Greek drama in a contemporary media environment”, at the Reconnecting & Recovering Conference, in a paper titled “The values of democracy and the politics of adaptation: Remaking Sophocles’ Antigone in a contemporary political and media landscape” and at The Off-Screen Conference  in a paper titled “Democracy on and off screen: Political values and discursive oppositions in a contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone.”


VAST partner Athens Epidaurus Festival was represented by Dr. Aristotelis Nikolaidis at The Off-Screen Graduate Student Conference, which was held in hybrid mode at Georgia State University, USA and online on 23 and 24 February 2023, with a paper titled “Democracy on and off screen: political values and discursive oppositions in a contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone“.

Abstract: Based on a modern theatrical performance of Sophocles’ Antigone, which is set in a contemporary political and media environment, the paper revisits Antigone through the lens of its current interpretation, examines spatial and discursive oppositions of meaning, and discusses the connection between ancient drama, performance space, and cultural politics.  The paper also presents the main research results on the communication and reception of values, addressing theatre artists (as value communicators) through semi-structured interviews, as well as audiences (as recipients of the communicated messages and final co-authors of the meaning) through focus groups.


The VAST project was presented at the Conference on Information and Research Science Connecting to Digital and Library Science IRCDL 2023 -XIX which was held in Bari, Italy on 23-24 February 2023.   Dr. Martin Ruskov of partner UMIL  presented the paper “Grimm Hallucinations: Prompt Engineering with Midjourney to Illustrate Fairytales”.

A few words about the IRCDL 2023 Conference

The Italian Research Conference on Digital Libraries (IRCDL) is a yearly date for researchers on Digital Libraries and related topics, organized by the Italian Research Community. IRCDL encompasses the many meanings of the term “digital libraries”, including new forms of information institutions; operational information systems with all manner of digital content; new means of selecting, collecting, organizing, and distributing digital content; and theoretical models of information media, including document genres and electronic publishing. For 2023 the conferences focuses on Artificial Intelligence and Semantic Web Technologies Empowering Digital Libraries.

VAST was represented by Dr. Aristotelis Nikolaidis of partner Athens Epidaurus Festival in the online conference Reconnecting & Recovering: The Second LFA/AAS  on 16 February 2023. A paper was presented with the title:  The values of democracy and the politics of adaptation: remaking Sophocles’ Antigone in a contemporary political and media landscape.
The paper is based on the performance/case study of Antigone by Sophocles, which was commissioned for the VAST project, and the original research conducted at the Athens Epidaurus Festival in July 2022. It addresses a contemporary adaptation of Antigone, set in a television studio and a modern political context resembling a western parliamentary democracy. The paper examines the representation of key political values, such as democracy, equality, and the rule of law whilst also focusing on the adaptation of Antigone through a mixed methods approach that combines qualitative and quantitative research methods. It also reflects on adaptation as a shared discourse that involves both artists as value communicators and audiences as recipients of the communicated messages and final co-authors of meaning.
The presentation of Dr. Nikolaidis is available here: RR Presentation FINAL

The VAST project continues its research on the present of values through interactive and co-creative activities, which give valuable feedback to the study regarding the transformation and the perception of values through space and time.

Specifically, on Friday 27 January 2023, Dr. Dora Katsamori, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications (IIT) at NCSR Demokritos realised an educational workshop at the University of the Peloponnese (UoP). The workshop was addressed to post-graduate students of the Social and Education Policy Department of UoP,  aiming to raise awareness and investigate students’ perceptions about values.

The activity was based on an excerpt from the tragedy Antigone by Sophocles, where the students were motivated to reflect on the values found in the excerpt, and interlink them through team working and dialogue, whilst creating their personal and group mind maps.