STARTS Urban Fest explores the ways in which collaborations between science, technology and the arts are leading towards a more sustainable development around the world, with a positive impact on the economy, the environment and on society.

The festival gathers lead experts from policymaking, urbanism, design, social innovation, arts, science and many other sectors, to discover how these interdisciplinary collaborations are able to spark disruptive production processes and breakthroughs in scientific research.

The programme revolves around three main themes:

Green Digital Cities

Onlife communities

Human/Post Human

These will be explored across different sessions:


Keynote speech to imagine a future where the relationship between science, technology and the arts is a catalyst for innovation processes.


A series of debates to stimulate reflections on issues relevant to the urban future, with a focus on the role that industry, scientific research and artistic contribution can have in this scenario.


Successful case studies about projects that, thanks to the collaboration of artists with companies and research institutions, have managed to push forward the boundaries of technology and science and to respond to some of the most pressing challenges in our cities.

You should attend because:

You work in a big organisation or in an emerging startup and you are looking for inspiration for new projects;

You run an artistic organisation or you’re a creator looking for new opportunities;

You are a researcher or a student interested in finding out how to collaborate with other professionals;

You manage funds and investments in innovative projects;

You are a research centre/organisation and want to experiment new frameworks of collaboration;

You want to learn from peers and want to connect with them.

STARTS Urban Fest is powered by

Nesta Italia is an independent, non profit organization whose aim is to introduce a new approach to social innovation in Italy, one that has already been developed and tested at an international level. Our work is focused on the intersections of different areas - education, social inclusion, technology, arts and culture - because we believe that that’s where the opportunity for innovation lies.

Nesta Italia was founded in 2017 in Turin, with the support of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, one of the biggest philanthropic organizations in Italy, and Nesta, a global innovation foundation based in the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1991, Fondazione CRT is the third largest foundation of banking origin in Italy in terms of endowment. It has already distributed 2 billion euro, supporting 40,000 projects in art, research, education, welfare and environment, reaching all 1,284 Municipalities of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta (North-West of Italy).

Furthermore, it has re-converted the OGR in Torino into a hub for creativity and innovation. In addition to grants, Fondazione CRT embraces venture philanthropy and impact investing. It is active in international philanthropic networks and collaborates with organisations including the United Nations.

After driving the city’s industrial growth providing train maintenance for almost a century, in the 1990s OGR Torino’s 35,000-sqm structure lay abandoned, taken over by wild plants.

In 2013, Fondazione CRT bought the building and began redevelopment led by Secretary General Massimo Lapucci. In 2017, OGR Torino reopened as an inclusive space that celebrates contemporary culture. It welcomes visitors with site-specific art, music events and projects developed with international partners, and has created a strong business acceleration hub for an ecosystem of startups, scaleups and companies.

The programme is curated by:

Simona Bielli

Simona is Head of Programmes at Nesta Italia, where she leads a portfolio of projects in the areas Arts&Culture, Education, Social Inclusion and Tech for Good. She leads the activities promoted by the STARTS Regional Center in Piedmont.

Before joining Nesta Italia, Simona spent three years in London working as Research and Programme Manager for the Digital Startup team at Nesta, where she managed a number of European-funded projects, specifically in the area of corporate and startup collaborations.

Prior to Nesta, Simona was Head of Operations at Mind the Bridge. She was responsible for managing multiple activities aimed at nurturing the creation and development of startups’ ecosystems both in Europe and US.

Francesca Bria

Francesca Bria is President of the Italian Innovation Fund and UN Senior Advisor for Cities and Digital Rights. She is also S+T+ARTS Ambassador and Visiting Professor at University Central London (UCL).

Previously, Francesca was CTO for the City of Barcelona and Senior Project Lead at Nesta Innovation Lab.

Founder of the DECODE project, Francesca has long been devoted to research, design and advocacy activities on digital democracy and decentralised technologies for civic engagement and protection of citizens’ rights.

Linda di Pietro

Linda Di Pietro is Chief Cultural Manager at BASE Milano. Linda founded Indisciplinarte, a cultural planning, curating and territorial development company. Since 2009 she has coordinated the programming and services of CAOS, a cultural center born from the reconversion of the Opificio Siri, in Terni. Since 2018 she is cultural manager of the Manifattura Tabacchi Project of Cagliari.

Visiting fellow of the School of The Arts Institute of Chicago, among other things she participated in the drafting of the cultural project of Perugia 2019 - European capital of culture candidate and collaborated with NESTA Italia, the Presidency of the Culture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, the Teatro Stabile of Umbria, the Festival of the two worlds of Spoleto. He is on the Advisory Board of IETM - International Network for the Performing Arts.

Executive Producer

Rebecca Rossini

Rebecca is Director of Operations at Nesta Italia and is responsible for the day-to-day operations through programs, finance, human resources and regulatory compliance.

Previously, Rebecca headed Nesta’s Events Department, designing the strategy for hundreds of events in the UK and internationally, covering all aspects of innovation. She has been responsible for the production and growth of numerous high-profile events including FutureFest, attracting thousands of viewers and some of the most inspiring radical thinkers, innovators and changemakers.

Rebecca is a Producer and Programme/ Project Manager with over 18 years experience in the events industry, including managing operations for the London 2012 Olympic Games Organising Committee and hundreds of high profile public and private sector conferences, seminars and exhibitions.