Photo Credit: Jan Michalko / CC BY-SA 2.0
re:publica GmbH’s re:publica Berlin is Europe’s largest internet and digital society conference. More than 19 500 participants from 80 countries came together to discuss current issues of digital society at the three-day festival re:publica 18. re:publica participants represent a cross-section of (digital) society, which include professionals from economics, politics, business, hacker culture, NGOs, media, and marketing, as well as bloggers, activists, artists, and social media experts. Roughly 50 percent of re:publica 18 speakers were women, ranking the event as one of the most inclusive of its kind.
Active visitor participation makes re:publica a unique event. Anyone can propose topics, ideas, or projects for the program, which creates a diverse set of subjects and exceptional networking opportunities.
Founded in 2007 by Tanja Haeusler, Andreas Gebhard, Markus Beckedahl, and Johnny Hauesler, re:publica GmbH’s shareholders, newthinking communications and Spreeblick Verlag, have been committed to issues of net politics, as well as digital culture and society, for over a decade.
re:publica’s broad range of topics has been drawing an increasing number of sponsors and partners each year. Since 2014, this has included close collaborations with Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, as well as the international media convention MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin.
re:publica also nurtures close and long-standing partnerships with institutions, ministries, NGOs, corporations, and other organizations. These include corporations like Daimler AG, IBM, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Google, Deutsche Bahn AG, Telefonica, and Mozilla, as well as political foundations (the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, Friedrich-Ebert Foundations, Heinrich-Böll Foundation, Friedrich-Naumann Foundation), media outlets (ARD, ZDF, RBB, WDR), and NGOs (WWF, World Data Lab.)
In 2016, re:publica Dublin (Ireland) marked the first conference outside of Germany. Over the course the day, 33 speakers across three stages and more than 200 visitors came together to debate various issues of digital society. The second re:publica Dublin took place in September 2017.
re:publica Thessaloniki (Greece) took place at the same time in 2017. Its goal is to create a new space for local digital society to connect and share Mediterranean-centric ideas, while strengthening existing Euro-Greek ties within digital communities.
At the end of this year, re:publica will celebrate its Africa debut in Ghana’s capitol, Accra: The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and re:publica will join forces to bring the digital festival to West Africa. Goal of this African edition of re:publica is to strengthen Afro-German dialogue about digital issues, while utilizing intersections between digitalization and collaborative developmental efforts.
re:publica will also be a strategic partner of “Deutschlandjahr USA” this year, for which it will organize five events in the United States. Starting October 1, 2018, the federal government will be hosting numerous projects, events, and workshops in the US over the course of the year. “Deutschlandjahr” is a collaboration between the Federal Foreign Office, Goethe Institute, and The Voice of German Industry (BDI.) Next to culture and communications, other significant societal issues will be discussed, including digitalization, energy, and democracy. re:publica will debut in the US in partnership with Reeperbahn Festival and next media accelerator. Starting November 2018, five events will be hosted in LA, New York, Portland, Detroit, and Austin.
Innovative Event Formats About Digital Society
re:publica regularly activates its comprehensive network of partners and speakers to host new and innovative events formats about digital society.
In tandem with re:publica 18, four half-day symposia took place focusing on digital food, digital retail, women in fintech, and experience marketing, creating a space for topic-specific communication, knowledge transfer, and encounters. These symposia took place from May 3-4, 2018, at the Deutsche Technikmuseum Berlin, and were hosted in collaboration with the dfv Conference Group GmbH and the Deutsche Fachverlag GmbH.
To wrap up re:publica 18, its first Netzfest took place at Gleisdreieck on May 5, 2018. While re:publica primarily hosts digital specialists, this free-of-charge festival targeted a wider audience: Berliners of all ages with basic digital knowledge, but no specific expertise, interested in new innovations. A varied, family-friendly entertainment program, interactive workshops, exciting talks about digital issues, live music, and much more was created to “net-proof” visitors. The festival examined societal, cultural, and technological changes caused by digitalization, while taking on current issues and challenges to render complex digital topics accessible to everyone.
On June 1, 2018, the Federal Foreign Office hosted its third “Lange Nacht der Ideen.” From 6 pm—12 am, select cultural institutions across Berlin opened their doors for “15 Locations—15 ideas” events. As event partner, re:publica GmbH participated with keynote speakers, panel discussions, and an interactive “Break Out Session” to examine its theme “The Human Touch—Ethics and Artificial Intelligence”.