re:view – re:connecting EUROPE: Putting the Pieces Back Together

So many people, so many talks and so many discussions at the re:publica in Berlin dedicated to the question: How can the re:publica spirit be internationalised?

Maria Dimitrakarakou’s mission is near impossible: she wants to bring cultural objects back to their place of origin. Pieces of a marble statue are often spread over multiple countries and museums, all of whom have no intention of giving them back. But the Greek software engineer has a solution – what can’t be brought together in reality, can be assembled virtually. She has developed a computer programme that lets people experience statues that are currently spread across all of Europe as a whole. “It helps the people realize that the pieces belong together” she stated.

Maria Dimitrakarakou’s vision would never have been possible without the cooperation of international researchers and activists. That’s why she was one of the many re:publica participants to offer a meetup within the scope of the “re:connecting EUROPE” programme track. “These meetings are a great opportunity to share ideas” she said.

Julia Hahn from Pulse of Europe also sees it as “a good and uncomplicated format”. She met up with activists from Ireland who helped her gain valuable insights for her project at her #Europeday meetup : “We have to reach the people emotionally. For us it’s easier to do that on the street as opposed to online. The Irish have the opposite experience.” Her Berlin group let themselves be inspired by the Irish approach and will definitely be staying in contact. People networked on a range of topics, including healthcare, social media strategies or start-up culture.

The most important aim of re:connecting EUROPE is to network the teams that will be organising the re:publica sister festivals in Dublin und Thessaloniki. Lazaros Boudakidis is one of the representatives from Thessaloniki. It’s difficult to organise something as big as the re:publica without simply copying the German version and without losing some of the quality. And there’s another challenge: “We have to introduce the ‘re:publica' idea to the Greek and get them interested and excited about it” said Boudakidis. He works at the Thessaloniki Film Festival which is closely connected to the Greek edition of the re:publica.

Over the course of the next weeks, Boudakidis and his colleagues will be discussing key topics for the festivals taking place in mid-September in Dublin and Thessaloniki. They are all working for a common objective: to keep Europe together following Brexit. “We would give our all for Europe” stated software engineer Dimitrakarakou. “Because, for us, Europe means: experience, travel, freedom.” For those who got a taste for more Europe, 29 May we are at the town hall meeting in Thessaloniki and on 8 June in Dublin

by Birte Mensing (EJS)

Photo credit: re:publica/Gregor Fischer (CC BY-SA 2.0)