A lot is happening in the PublicSpaces realm; rather than bringing you tidbits of news, we figured we’d bring you an overview of highlights.

  • PublicSpaces was present at SxSW. This festival (in Austin, Texas) has a reputation of being about technological progress and being happy with that; the idea that technological development is a positive thing that deserves our support. This year, there was a distinctly different atmosphere. There was a lot of reflection going on about what all this technological development is bringing us. From our perspective, this reflection is a good thing. We can perhaps derive some hope out of it that the next tech-revolution (Artificial Intelligence, according to the pundits) will be a more humane revolution, that keeps an eye out for what technology actually brings us, both individually and collectively.
  • We used our trip to the US to also visit with MIT Medialab in Boston; we were invited to present at Ethan Zuckermans Center for Civic Media. It seems that those present were pretty happy about PublicSpaces; and the follow-up with Zuckerman seems promising. We are looking to establish some kind of more structural relationship; MIT’s research, experimentation, and goals align with what PublicSpaces is doing, and we have the public reach to actually test and perhaps deploy their work on a much bigger scale.
  • The state of the internet, thirty years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s original CERN paper, was an item in the major Dutch news show Nieuwsuur. PublicSpaces featured in it as well. The show and the accompanying article (only in Dutch) can be found here.
  • The European network is beginning to take some shape. This week, we’ll present PublicSpaces at CPH-DOX, the documentary festival in Copenhagen. At the end of April, we’ll be talking at ORF in Vienna, and at the end of May at the EBU Media Summit in Porto. In september we’ll be in Berlin, in October (probably) in Helsinki. Many of our European partners will come to the STRP-festival on April 4th in Eindhoven (Netherlands). There’ll be two plenary sessions, but also a workshop where we’ll talk about the further development of our coalition. Besides all this, PublicSpaces will be part of a European call in the context of the Horizon 2020 programme.
  • Our political contacts have been intensified, both in Brussels and in The Hague. We’re talking with members of parliament and the relevant ministries, so our lobby is growing.
  • We’ve got a new logo and will soon be doing some restyling to the site – soon to be featured! The logo contains a reference to Morse Code (the letters P and S feature in it) – which was an open and transparent communication system that could be used by anybody – open source avant la lettre!

This is all very good news, obviously – but we’ve identified a risk as well. PublicSpaces is predominantly a volunteer-based organization. The funding that we managed to get is earmarked for specific projects. This is obviously helpful and important, but not sustainable in the long run. There’s a huge momentum and expectations are running high. We need to manage those expectations, and we will start looking a bit more actively for funding for a drive toward more professionalization.