Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU

An interview with Simone Orgel & Andreas Gebhard from re:publica –  The Most inspiring Festival for the Digital Society.

When is it happening?

We are setting sail for our field trip, re:connecting EUROPE, and the first stop will be re:publica Dublin, taking place from September 7–8 in the beautiful Light House Cinema in Smithfield. re:publica Dublin is an independent event which we are creating with the existing re:publica crowd as well as local communities. Well worth the visit by itself, we also want to provide a chance to connect with Europe’s digital society from North to South. For those of you who’d like to be part of the adventure, join us on the second leg of the journey for re:publica Thessaloniki, which is taking place from September 11–13.

Re:publica: Europe’s Answer to Digital “Woodstock”

What’s the re:publica story?

Quote from Andreas Gebhard: “We started as a blogger gathering in Berlin ten years ago in 2007, with 700 visitors. Since then, we have grown from a cosy blogger event into a wide-ranging society conference with more than 9.000 attendees in May 2017. For our anniversary in 2016, we decided to not only welcome the world to Berlin, but also connect to local communities and explore different regions. And so re:publica Dublin was born!”

In October 2016, we got together for the first time, with 200 participants from Ireland, Germany and beyond, discussing some of the most important topics of the digital society on three different stages in Dublin.

Quote from Andreas Gebhard: “Our first event outside of Germany reminded us of the very first re:publica in Berlin. For us this is the starting point for a sustainable exchange of ideas, debates and networks, and we’re very much looking forward to the second edition in September.”

What was the initial spark?

Quote from Andreas Gebhard: “Nothing comparable existed at the time. We wanted to create a space where the digital community could gather, discuss, ponder, and celebrate – in short, the festival we would like to attend ourselves.”

re:publica was and is a wonderfully diverse crowd of activists, scientists, hackers, politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, social media and marketing experts, and many more. Incorporating the diversity of society is an important aspect of re:publica, and something we care about in terms of programme as well as perspective. 51 percent of re:publica participants are female, for instance, far more than at many other similar events. Connecting the digital society worldwide and within Europe has always been one of the aims of re:publica, and last year, we decided that we wouldn’t leave it at inviting the rest of the world to Berlin, but instead connect two of Europe’s most exciting tech and culture scenes: Dublin and Berlin.

Quote from Simone Orgel: “With re:connecting EUROPE, we want to provide the space for a gathering of the digital society, and develop a sustainable network of creative and digital industries, within Europe and beyond. And a network is only as strong as its nodes.”

What can people look forward to in the 2017 edition?

The second edition of re:publica Dublin takes a closer look at various tools that help us shape our shared future. We have just revealed first parts of the programme: Psychedelics and speculation are two featured ideas. Bryan Duggan (AI Developer bei DEEP) and Ciara Sherlock (Founder of The Psychedelic Society of Ireland) will turn to psychedelics, arguing that shape-shifting reality can expand the scope of our thinking. And Mushon Zer-Aviv (Design Lead at The Public Knowledge Workshop) will talk about the use of “speculation” as a tool, and discuss whether the increasing influence of numbers and algorithms determines the way we make decisions and design scenarios for the future.

Simone Orgel: “It’s important to provide a stage not only for prominent speakers, but also for communities and topics you might not be aware of (yet!) – they might be your project some day! And it wouldn’t be the first time that a speaker became popular after presenting at re:publica. By the first deadline, we had already received more than 40 submissions, and we are quite overwhelmed. We welcome you to take part in the Call, and are already looking forward to everyone who is coming.“

re:publica Berlin had speakers from more than 60 countries come together, 47 percent of which were women. We’re aiming to achieve the same for #rpDUB and #rpTHE, so we welcome your support here as much as ever.

What opportunities are there for start-ups/investors and companies attending?

Simone Orgel: “Apart from having interesting discussions and a great time? Share and discuss your visions, put your ideas to the test, connect with innovative and unconventional thinkers from various backgrounds, and simply be inspired. Foster innovation and create synergies across borders and different fields. And not least, be part of our “field trip” from North to South and explore Europe’s digital and cultural scene with us.”

What would you recommend for people attending to get the most out of the event?

Simone Orgel: “Be part of the discussion and debates: You are the digital society! And the same applies for re:publica, for speakers and for attendees alike. And it is said that we do like to party, well, you might like to make sure you can stay late and grab a drink with us! It will definitely be a highlight to be part of the entire field trip from re:publica Dublin to re:publica Thessaloniki.”

How can people book tickets and when does it typically sell out?

Tickets are available online at re-publica.com. There is still a limited amount of Early Bird Tickets left, and the pre-sale ends some days before the event in September.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Andreas Gebhard: “It would be a pleasure to meet many like-minded people in Dublin, and we are looking forward to new perspectives on our networked world! So join in and be part of the conversation – in Dublin, at re:publica Thessaloniki and finally, re:publica Berlin from May 2–4, 2018.”

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More facts needed? Here you go.


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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