Daring to ask questions is crucial for networked societies.

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On behalf of Doc Next Network, Felipe G. Gil of ZEMOS98 spoke at the 24TH European Foundation Centre Annual General Assembly and Conference on 30 May in Copenhagen. The presentation was meant as a trigger to evoke debate amongst some of the leading foundations in Europe on questions we are facing as a network in our ambition to strive for social justice via inclusive public opinion, expanded education and free culture. So, the presentation was an honest –  brave! –  exercise in transparency about our challenges, doubts and opportunities.

Of course we are developing answers as we work! But we know that in asking the right questions to ourselves, we can really work on some great solutions. Does that sound ambitious enough? See the integral presentation here and leave us a comment if you have more questions, answers or just suggestions!

Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Felipe and I’m here representing Doc Next Network. Thanks to the EFC for the invitation and the opportunity to be here.

Whilst I’m talking, you will be able to see some pictures of our activities.
In the past two years the Doc Next Network has engaged a broad European community in its activities. Locally active in four countries across Europe (Turkey, Spain, UK, Poland) and captured in a digital framework, www.docnextnetwork.org, thousands of young media-makers, researchers, educators and arts, cultural programmers and policy makers are involved.

We – the Doc Next Network – strive for social justice and inclusive public opinion in Europe, through our common methodology that supports the idea of access, free culture and expanded education in which (digital) media plays a crucial role. What started as local activities of four organisations, now has transformed into one European methodology and practice.

It would be great to present here our main achievements because this format invites us to do so, but instead we decided to be open about the doubts and questions we are facing as a network, instead of providing answers. Why? According to ‘old school’ marketing, sharing vulnerabilities is ‘wrong’; you hide your weaknesses. But in Today’s networked societies, it is crucial to be open and transparent.
This process-oriented attitude is part of our philosophy. So, please join me in our journey with some of the most relevant questions!

Why did the Harlem Shake, one of the most famous digital /viral events – called memes that occurred in the past year, mobilize millions of young people from all over the world? Was it just because it -apparently- is a funny game? Or is it because the most important characteristic of digital memes is a link between unknown people, rather than being an author?
Why do young cultural workers consider themselves professionals in more than one sector? Is this a sign of the times?
How can we -working in a culturally active network- forge more sustainable ties beyond our own cultural sector?
How can we make it clear that critical culture improves our democratic system?
How can we share our relevant local experiences and lessons learned with each other to scale them up to a European level?
Until when will we consider new technologies as “new”?
How do we include excluded voices in the public debate in a truely inclusive way?
How can we criticize the mainstream media if young people consume this same mainstream media?
How can we tell our story if the voice we speak with may not be our own?
How can we build accessible and open archives that include the stories of the excluded?
On the internet, we share culture with our communities and they with their communities… How can we measure these processes: how can we measure our ’cultural values’ in the digital age?
Why is the existing notion of knowledge or “expertise” not working for us? How can we include “experienced” next to “experts”?
How can we use the language of young people and not a language FOR young people?
How can we promote mutual learning instead of “teachers” vs “students”?
Why is the architecture of a traditional classroom so similar to the organisation of military troupes?
If we can we learn anywhere and anytime (like on the internet) how can that be of additional value to our local formal educational systems?
Can we use the idea of our “media-labs” to build “new schools and peer to peer learning outside of the school”?
So, as a network, can we really internalize the importance of processes and not only achievements?
How many different meanings of one single word can you collect in an international, intersectoral, intergenerational and intercultural, project?
How can we make decisions in a P2P group?
How can we establish a common cause while we are still working in our own local contexts?
How can we deal with financial support, targets and evaluations when we claim to value time and process?
How can we integrate non-institutional and/ or networked approaches in our practices and theories?
Do we need more maps and less plans? Do we need more cartographies and less strategies? Do we need to listen to the world first instead of changing the world?

Thank you.

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