Логотип CGES

Fall Meetings ‘How Do Information Technologies Change Europe?’

Published Date:

September 27-30, 2018

St. Petersburg

The ‘Fall Meetings 2018’ were the second in a series initiated by the German-Russian Exchange in St. Petersburg and dedicated to the current European problems, similar to the regular public Fall Meetings in Berlin, organized by the German-Russian Exchange for over 20 years (https://www.austausch.org/herbstgespraeche.html). The goal of the series is to engage the broader public in reflection on the current challenges of Europe. This meets the aspiration of the Russian public to better understand the fundamental changes taking place in Europe. Since the first Fall Meetings series in September 2017 was very successful and drew a lot of attention and interest of the local young people, experts, and the broader audience, it was decided to continue the series with a new topic in 2018.

In 2018, the discussions focused on the changes in the social and political life in Europe caused by the spread of information technologies that have a long-term impact. More specifically, the Fall Meetings 2018 included open podium discussions on the following topics:

  • ‘How Is European Labour Changing’. Organization of work, working spaces and times, new professions and adaptation of education, solidarity economy; 
  • ‘How Is European Media Changing’. Traditional and social media, post-truth and fake news, virtual public sphere, new transparency and right for information;
  • ‘How Is European Politics and Government Changing’. New ways of political communication, e-government, e-democracy, electoral campaigns, political control over people, personal data protection vs. transparency;
  • ‘How Is European Activism Changing’. Political mobilization and its control, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, voluntary and activist engagement, work with open data, IT activism, freedom of expression vs. extremism and hate speech. 

12 speakers and four moderators from seven European countries participated in the discussions, including nine speakers who came from the EU countries to St. Petersburg especially for the Fall Meetings. In total, about 150 people participated in the event as the audience, discussion participants, speakers, and volunteers.

In addition to the open discussions, three additional public lectures and four practical workshops were organized with the guests of the Fall Meetings in different places and open spaces of St. Petersburg:

  • What is social solidarity economy?

Workshop with local actors and researchers by Laura Aufrère, Centre d'Économie de Paris Nord, Université Paris 13 - Sorbonne Paris Cité, member of RIPESS, France

  • What do online advertising data reveals about people in Europe and beyond?

Public lecture by Ingmar G. Weber, research director of the social Computing Group at Qatar Computing Research Institute

  • A look ahead: Where is the EU going?

Public lecture by Dominik Tommendal, European Academy Bayern, Munich, Germany

  • New organisational models in the artistic and cultural field: How to organise the creation processes in common and for the common?

Public lecture by Laura Aufrère, Centre d'Économie de Paris Nord, Université Paris 13 - Sorbonne Paris Cité, member of RIPESS, France

  • Citizen engagement in smart citizen projects: Organizing changes in Amsterdam

Public lecture by Coen Bergman, Waag.org, the Netherlands

  • Mind Hack: How to challenge your own assumptions when designing a civic project?

Workshop by Filip Noubel, Prague Civic Centre, Prague, Czech Republic

  • Citizen engagement in smart citizen projects: How to organize changes?

Workshop by Coen Bergman, Waag.org, the Netherlands

In total, 350 people participated in discussions, lectures and workshops. Feedback from the participants was very positive and demonstrated that such public events are a useful way to provide the broad Russian audience with more information and space for discussions on Germany- and Europe-related topics and developments.