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Meet the team: George Konstantakopoulos

Get to know George, Business Innovation Lead at FutureEverything in this quickfire Q&A

George first joined the team to work with us on GROW, an EC Horizon 2020 funded Citizens’ Observatory project engaging thousands of food growers, scientists and land-enthusiasts across Europe. Nowadays, George is focused on an exciting collaboration with MIDAS, as well as creating collaborations between the arts, industry and academia. Not to mention working with the team to expand the spectrum and reach of our work. Get to know a bit more about George in this quickfire Q&A.

What did you do before you joined the FutureEverything team?

My passion for making a social, environmental and cultural impact brought me to Manchester to spend a year researching social entrepreneurship and innovation. Before that I was a Telecoms Engineer. At the time, people told me I couldn’t go up the ladder as I didn’t have University education (at age of 27). Five years later, I had a BEng and PGR masters from Manchester Business School, but had lost my interest in working in that industry. Since then I’ve worked on various projects, including working as accelerator manager for Wayra UK, supporting the growth of impact ventures. I also launched Manchester Social Entrepreneurs.

I was drawn to FutureEverything as a social enterprise working at the intersection of arts, culture and technology. Our art-led work and collaborations harness creativity and technology to drive experiential and thought-provoking innovation and social impact. I like to believe that we challenge and influence the existing cultural stereotypes that shape our society. The team also has strong core values that I totally align with. We say transparency, for example, and we apply that in our day-to-day in ways that, sometimes, are so open that it’s overwhelming (in a good way). 

Do you have a favourite FutureEverything project?

That’s a hard one! Amongst my favourite projects is By the Code of Soil, an artistic representation of the GROW Citizen Observatory data, created by artists Kasia Molga and Scanner. The project turns soil data into digital art that appears on participants’ computers whenever land-mapping satellite Sentinel-1 passes overhead. Super exciting and cool! There is further development of that idea with de(Compositions) – another artwork by Kasia that increases our awareness about the importance of the ground underneath our feet. Soil is something we take so much for granted but which is critical for life on Earth, our planet’s biosphere! I would urge everyone to read Kasia’s work and self-reflection in the process of discovering the project.

What are you most interested in or excited about in the current digital art and culture space?

Arts and culture has always been a catalyst of change in our societies. It is apparent from ancient Greece to today. Personally, I am very passionate about the challenge of making the business world more ethical, diverse, transparent and environmentally responsible, and where there is challenge there is opportunity. I think for the Arts & Culture sector that should be something we all explore. How do we showcase, inspire, enable businesses to think differently using arts as a catalyst? It’s also one of the reasons why I chose By the Code of Soil as my favourite project, it has the capacity to change the way you perceive things around you, to be thought provoking. 

And what about when you’re not at work – what do you get up to outside of FutureEverything?

I like supporting people with ideas set to change the impacts of business in the society and the environment, work I mostly do through the Manchester Social Entrepreneurs community

Other than that, I like to keep my body and mind healthy. If you haven’t figured it out already – I’m Greek, and our ancestors had this saying: “Healthy mind in a healthy body.” I try to keep that in check for me. I also enjoy extreme sports – favourites are snowboarding and wakeboarding, but also freediving in the sea. I love to spend some time each year free camping in the most remote island of Europe, on a beach. It’s my switch-off and my calibration. 

What about music – what are you listening to right now?

I’m usually listening to classic Rock (The Doors, Queen, the Rolling Stones). Or, when I wish to focus and have less lyrical distraction I turn to electronic music. Jan Blomqvist is amongst my favourites (and a very cool down-to-earth guy). Check out my favourite Jan Blomqvist song – “Something Says”

Last but not least, tell us about an artist or creator that everyone needs to know about

Sebastião Salgado, if you don’t know him already. His biography – The Salt of the Earth – is so powerful, both in regards to his life and work (which are almost one!). I’ve watched it a number of times. He has spent forty years documenting deprived societies in hidden corners of the world! Definitely check him out.