About re:publica: Tracks at #rpTEN

Since mid July, our Call for Participation for the upcoming re:publica in Dublin on October 20 has been up and running. For those of you who don't know us, we have summarized the range of topics presented at re:publica 2016 in Berlin, in addition to our main programme categories, Politics & Society, Business & Innovation, Science & Technology, Research & Education, Culture & Arts, and Media. See our overview over the variety of topics and ideas that are possible at re:publica here. Get inspired and take part!

Global Innovation Gathering

Global Innovation Gathering (GIG) started in 2009 and has since developed into a sub-conference of its own, a get-together for Innovation Hub managers, makers, hackers and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Its main focus is on tech innovations and maker projects from Asia, Latin America and Africa. GIG participants have grown into a strong community that makes use of this network throughout the entire year, exchanging know-how, ideas and concepts within the maker movement. For the past two years, there has also been a separate GIG Maker Space at re:publica, where anyone interested can get involved and try themselves out in one of the many workshops. Topics include 3D printing, wearables, circuit hacking, and programming for kids. Read more here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/global-innovation-gathering-gig

Virtual Reality

One topic that appeared in almost all of the different tracks of re:publica in 2016 was Virtual Reality. We have lately been seeing further development in this area of technology, which could potentially touch upon many areas of our lives, and notably change our media and consumer behaviour. The market for innovative products, the race between technology companies is what sets the pace here. This is not just interesting for art and culture: The question of immersion, the audience's ability to really plunge into interactive media contents, is pursued as a central issue in a number of different disciplines. So it becomes evident that there are a lot of exciting things happening with VR presently – in terms of hardware, with entirely new products such as cameras, software, VR goggles, even viewing domes and panoramas. And in terms of contents, the new 360-degree formats are gaining traction in all kinds of fields. After the gaming industry, now fields as diverse as art, music, fashion, science, health, film, and journalism are discovering the potential of virtual reality, and finding their respective approaches to the issue. Find out more about all VR related activities at re:publica TEN here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/virtual-reality 

Music Day

In 2015, we organized the first Music Day at re:publica. Music and digital development are closely connected, and that was reason enough for us to give the topic a track of its own. Big Data, open source, and especially streaming services were some of the main issues discussed on the third and final day of re:publica 2015. At re:publica TEN, we talked about how mobile apps and virtual and augmented reality shape our listening experience, listened to 360-degree recordings, presented music startups that are transforming the producer-consumer relationship, and heard all about virtual super-bands. If you find these topics as exciting as we do, you can find more information on the Music Day track here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/musicday

Immersive Arts

The arts have been part of the re:publica programme since 2016. This focus point was mainly about learning about art not just in theory, but by experiencing it yourself. This year's “Immersive Arts” was about diving into art, indulging it, becoming part of it – by using technologies like augmented and virtual reality, for example. This included participatory actions and entire environments built for the event. And of course, there was also a wide range of talks and discussions on art and cultural production in general. From immersive storytelling to virtual reality on the theatre stage, from art and culture using new technologies to Crowdsourcing, many more examples can be found here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/immersive-arts


The intersections of fashion and new technologies are all the buzz at the moment – and not just for the fashion industry, which is presently adapting to the digitization of the entire sector. We have organized this one-day conference together with the PREMIUM International Fashion Trade Show (https://www2.premiumexhibitions.com/) since 2015, alternately taking place during Berlin Fashion Week and during re:publica. The last #FASHIONTECH Berlin, attracting 3,100 visitors to a large two-storey exhibition area and auditorium for Fashiontech designers and startups, was a great success! The event comprises the areas: Wearables & Design, E-Commerce & the Future of Retail, and Digital Marketing & Communication. Smart materials, new e-commerce channels with novel approaches like virtual commerce, unusual online fashion campaigns – find out more about this exciting topic in the overview here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/fashiontech-berlin

Our focus topic “re:health” looks at groundbreaking developments in healthcare. We focus on questions like how society deals with the digitization of everyday life, and discuss the benefits and risks that arise for all of us, for our bodies and our health. re:health has been a core topic at re:publica since 2009. At last year's conference, the track included topics like 3D printing in disaster areas, depression on the Internet, and Open Design. There were discussions of digitalization issues in healthcare, about the British NHS for example, and debates on the accessibility and quality control of health information online. At re:publica 2016, a number of talks addresses issues from the usage and legal status of personal health data, to digital period tracking, online therapy, and self-care. More information here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/rehealth


New approaches to education have been showcased at re:publica since 2010. Like every year, we have seen a variety of international participants – educators, tech experts, children and adults, old and young – discussing, amongst others, surveillance in the education system, “reality gaming” in schools, digital literacy, Family 2.0, (net) politics education channels on YouTube, or the ethical dimensions of programming. We know that it is important to take courage and confide in new technologies, while never giving up a critical stance in terms of new developments. Learn more here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/relearn


re:publica 2015 was held under the motto “Finding Europe” and dealt with the current situation and experience of refugees in Germany and Europe throughout the event. In 2016, the issue was sadly still just as acute, relevant, and arguably even more urgent than the year before. Which is why re:publica, with the support of the German Centre for Civic Education, BpB, developed the re:fugees track, in which refugees and helpers had a stage to present, discuss and share their experiences, ideas and motivations. In this context, we organized a tandem project for the first time, where refugees could explore re:publica together with a partner lending a helping hand. Topics of talks in this track included the digitization of flight routes and supporter networks, media projects for young refugees, or the news coverage on topics concerning human rights and refugees. More information on the talks here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/refugees

re:think Mobility

When we think about the future of mobility, we don't limit ourselves to autonomous cars or car-sharing startups, but think of a transformation process of society as a whole. That's why in our focus topic “re:think Mobility”, we try to reach across industries, bringing together interested participants from politics, science and industry, and discussing current innovations and visions for the future without forgetting the big picture: structural changes and their impact on society. Read more on the topic here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/rethink-mobility

Hate It

An important issue permeating this year's re:publica TEN, was the issue of #Hatespeech and other questions of how the Internet community treats itself and others. Together with our speakers we tried to analyze the situation in various sessions, and looked for ways out of the perceived hopelessness of these conditions. Because a certain climate is already pervasive, in the media, in talk shows, at demonstrations – on the Internet in any case –, a climate in which uninhibited rage, insults, or discriminations are constantly purveyed. This is closely connected with overall changes in dialogue and debating culture. How do we influence and shape our social sphere? How can freedom of expression be reconciled with an Internet that has a more bearable climate? And finally, what can we ourselves change? Learn more about #Hatespeech here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/hate-it


Since re:publica 2016, we have been exploring one of the fastest-developing areas of technology today: Finance & Technology, also known as FinTech, within our brand-new FinTech track. As an interesting new development pertaining to the redesign of socially relevant, centuries-old financial processes, the digitization of this field has a lot of potential to disrupt existing structures. From digital currencies like Bitcoin or block-chain technologies, to exciting projects around Crowdfunding, you can read more about our FinTech track here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/fintech

New Ways of Working

Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, Big Data: These buzzwords appear again and again in discussions about the ways in which new technologies change our everyday lives, particularly in the working environment. But to be honest, these phrases hardly help us to understand better what exactly technology is changing in the workplace, and how. Increasing this understanding is the declared purpose of our “We Call It Work” track, which explores the impact of digitization processes in a more realistic fashion. For instance, what will Industry 4.0 and automation really mean for the future of production? Many might be thinking that robots will soon be taking away our jobs – but couldn't they become our reliable partners? To name just some of the topics discussed at re:publica 2016: Creating Structures for Work 4.0, Clickworking & Labour Rights, Self-Tracking in the Corporate Panopticon, and Platform Cooperatives. More information here: http://16.re-publica.de/en/tags/work

We hope this overview is helpful to you, and we're looking forward to more of your great ideas and projects! Join us and apply here with our Call for Participation! You can also find all other details and frequently asked questions on the website.

Image credit: re:publica/Jan Michalko (CC BY 2.0)