A Look Back at re:connecting EUROPE 2017

re:publica touched down in Dublin from 8-9 September and then journeyed across the continent to dock in Thessaloniki from 11-13 September. For a total of 5 amazing days, we got together with decision-makers, activists, organisations and the local communities to debate, discuss solutions and connect Europe.

With re:connecting EUROPE, we aim to promote the development of a Europe-wide network of creative industries and push the exchange between the various digital scenes along our North-South axis. The conferences in Dublin and Thessaloniki gave us valuable insights and new perspectives on our interconnected world, which we discussed in-depth with our speakers and visitors. The events also created spaces for a cultural exchange of ideas across our European borders and allowed us to learn more about the issues concerning people on the ground at the re:publica locations.

#rpDUB und #rpTHE in pictures

You can already check out the sessions from Dublin and Thessaloniki on our Youtube channel. More visual impressions from the events can be found on our flickr channel.

Although our European field trip may be over, we have lots of valuable contacts and ideas for new joint projects to show for it. re:connecting EUROPE was able to take place in the port cities of Dublin and Thessaloniki thanks to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office. We spoke with players and stakeholders from the creative industry about the common challenges and solutions currently facing activists, founders, entrepreneurs and artists in Europe.

Highlights der #rpDUB17

Our second re:publica in the tech hub Dublin took place in the Lighthouse Cinema over the course of two days and encompassed a total of 38 sessions.  The talks focused on considerations and concepts regarding work 4.0,  the organisation of digital companies,  EdTech,  the entrepreneurship of the Irish start-up scene, the importance of digital media and decentralised governments.

The housing crisis was the main focus in Dublin, where affordable living spaces have become increasingly hard to come by and locals aren’t able to afford the high rents anymore. The housing shortage hits young people especially hard – that’s why we put out an open invitation for a public  discussion to talk about the reasons behind the crisis. You can get more extensive insight into the subject with this online article from the Irish Times. For more info and details on our sessions, dive deeper into  Day 1 and Day 2 with our reviews from #rpDUB.

Data security and climate objectives in the age of innovation

Cyborgs are already able to recognize colours, sense earthquakes or independently record films with a camera. Instead of dismissing these developments, Shane Patric McNamee took on the challenge of how societies can adjust to these new circumstances, with an eye on laws and regulations, in his session “Do Cyborgs Dream of Electric Lawsuits? : Cyborgs in Law and Society”.

Who is responsible for our data security? Our partners at IoT were among those answering this very important question in: Trust me! The need for security and transparency in the innovation age. Daniel Griffin illustrated how important the Digital Citizenship Community is for further digital developments in “Digital Citizen Ireland”.

What if climate policy goals were as popular as Uber? Our partner Ecosia demonstrated what kind of chances would open up in the tech industry if energies were bundled and the climate revolution took place digitally.

In conversation with the makers, activists and women of the Irish tech scene

There’s an air of Silicon Valley in Ireland: the Irish start-up and IT scene mainly congregates in Dublin. In Dublin and Berlin – Connecting Europe`s Creative Hubs, we spoke with Sarah Leahy about the synergies and potential both hubs have to offer. The Women in Tech Meetup, which Leahy led, was very popular with the visitors and participants as it gave insights into the work and role of women in the Irish and European tech scene. More information via @TechinDub.

People from every corner of global society are brought together through play – Christiane Hütter highlighted this in Participation through play and Bryan Duggan brought the concept alive in his VR experiment “Deep VR” – where the game is controlled through the player’s breathing.

Highlights der #rpTHE17

The focus at the Cinema Museum in Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece, was on the networking of European cities and their digital and creative scenes. To be able to facilitate this within Europe, the right political and financial conditions have to be created. That’s why it was a special honour for us to be able to welcome guests from politics and diplomacy in Thessaloniki. Among them were the General Secretary for Media and Communication, Lefteris Kretsos, and the German Consul General Walter Stechel. Take a look at our reviews to see what went down on the first and second days of #rpTHE.

If you believe you are a citizen of the world, then you’re a citizen of nowhere 

– Theresa May –

Citizens of Nowhere –  Lorenzo Marsi offered us a future vision of Europe in his “Citizens of Nowhere: Europe as a metaphor for the world to come” session.  Other important topics under discussion were human-drone interaction, open data as a driving force for more civic participation and social innovations, digital security for journalists, politics on WhatsApp and “The Great Wall” between media in Western and Eastern Europe. In Build your future with LEGO! Agni Pagouni und Vasilis Gkogkidis used gamification to demonstrate how complex interrelations can be broken down into their smallest components so as to allow for the development of an overarching, comprehensive strategy.

Round tables on European questions on our re:boat

Thanks to our re:boat we had the opportunity to host nine of our sessions while out to sea in the Thermaic Gulf, including a round table on ecopreneurship. Berlin’s Deputy Mayor and Senator for Culture and Europe,  Klaus Lederer, discussed possible funding models for creative projects in Europe with Andreas Gebhard, re:publica CEO. Check out our interview with Klaus Lederer here.

Freedom on the web and the maker movement

Alp Toker’s talk on the struggle for digital rights and free spaces in Turkey was especially impactful. Marios Isaakidis’ session also dealt with an independent web, as he introduced the hack66.info/observatory – an independent observatory on the web which is to be collaboratively set up in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), to monitor the collection of personal data and uncover and inform the user about surveillance and the manipulation of traffic. We were very happy to be able to connect both of these thinkers at #rpTHE.

The Communitere Mobile Makerspace was a special meeting point for our community – it provided a space for innovation hub managers, makers, hackers und entrepreneurs from Greece and around the world to come together in Thessaloniki under the umbrella of the Global Innovation Gathering (GIG). The “Digital Arabia” initiative also called for more global networking and highlighted how the digital society can better communicate with each other when addressing cultural, social, political or economic issues.

Thessaloniki introduced us to the leading figures from the innovation ecosystem who have played a major role in defining the digital development of the city. This included: TIFD, Athlenda, Fieldscale or OKThess!. Susan Long’s talk about the search and rescue teams in Syria was an impressive illustration of how the maker movements in Europe and Syria are cooperating and highlighted the fruits of this collaboration.

Online education was also a thematic focus in Thessaloniki, one which our speakers took on from different perspectives: drug addicts are able to communicate their addiction using an anonymous avatar and receive help digitally. Citizen science and experience design have good prospects for becoming a permanent part of our digital culture and helping to develop it further in the best possible way.

Directly after the re:publica came to an end, the Agora Reworks Festival in Thessaloniki got started. The movers and shakers of both events came together on stage for the “A new connected world: The rise of networks” panel, curated in collaboration with Agora Reworks. Joining the discussion were CEO Andreas Gebhard, designer Norman Palm and Anastasios Diolatzis, Agora Reworks co-founder and music director. Besides touching on the importance of international networks, they also discussed which platforms are currently home to the exchange between cultures and people. This panel gave us the unique opportunity to question ourselves, as we wanted to find out what is expected from events such as the Agora Reworks Festival or re:publica.

And now it’s your turn. We need your feedback!

Take part in our survey and win tickets to the re:publica on 2-4 May 2018 in Berlin. Click here for more details; this way for the survey.

Thanks to everyone who made the #rpDUB and #rpTHE possible. A special thanks goes out to our partners, speakers and visitors.

We look forward to next year and a new edition of re:connecting EUROPE.

rpEUROPE participant feedback:

„Thanks so very, very much for the enriching and rewarding event. The topics, your guests and the atmosphere were really great.”
susanne ebner, wort-sinn.com, twitter: @wort_sinn

“Thanks for giving me the opportunity of being a member for the Thessaloniki re:publica 2017. It was an awesome event! I hope to see again in Thessaloniki next year.”
Panos Palantas, Creative Developer, www.artefact.gr

“I would like to thank you all for making this amazing media convention happen... and make it happen in Greece. In times of crisis it is so optimistic to see people believe in the value of interaction and the impact of human connection. It was a privilege and an honour for me to take part as a speaker and share my interest and experience on digital education. It was so nice contacting and networking with so many inspirational people! Keep on connecting and inspiring people! Keep on soaring high!”
Sophia Kouz, blogs.sch.gr/skouzouli/

At re:connecting EUROPE,  Andreas Gebhard, re:publica founder and CEO, presented the new motto for re:publica 2018: POP - Power of People. From 2 - 4 May 2018, re:publica POP will take place in Berlin. Ticket presales will begin in November and speakers can submit their proposals for their talks. In the same way that the pop art movement took culture out of the museums and galleries and carried it into public spaces, re:publica 2018 will also be moving out into the city, taking place in unexpected sites and spaces. Read up on our new motto here.

We look forward to #rp18 with you!