This session is English spoken 🇬🇧

#1 : Mapping the ecosystem

How do we foster collaboration towards developing digital public spaces that are rooted in human rights and public values? Many initiatives exist and have been referenced, but how do these together become more than the sum of their parts? Maps have been created in the past that brought some alternatives together. In this session we’ll hear from them about what they’ve done and how they can inspire us to find fellow travelers towards creating lasting change.

Show and tell to inspire, followed by an in-depth panel discussion.




John Davies (Nesta) worked on a lot of interesting maps as a data scientist, using the data to understand creative and digital ecosystems. Highlights a few mapping projects:

  • artificial intelligents start ups within the creative industry.
  • technology breakthrough in AI: GAN’s
  • see where creative communities (Meetups) take place in UK or in cities
  • using data to understand if music venues were leaving London

Paulien Dresscher, researcher on the Our Brave New World project that maps creative economy/industry. Started with the questions:

  • What is this creative economy and industry?
  • Who is working there, what are their topics?
  • With whom are they collaborating?
  • Why is this important?

Goal: Trying to come up with a system with which you can find all the researchers and organizations of this topic. Made a map of different organizations in The Netherlands. Trying to make the ideas and findings visible, outside of the community, for a broader public. To get information from the communities that are diving deep in certain topics to a bigger public so they can connect with these communities and gain knowledge from them.

Next step: make it dynamic, so that creative industries themselves can subscribe and put themselves on the map.

Got the data by hand. Found 350 labs on the internet. Not sure if they were active still.

Matt Locke of the Public Media Stack

Started with what the BBC role was on the internet.

Faced an ethical risk because of working with infrastructures and ecosystems that worked against the public ethos of a lot of clients of the organization.

Public Media Stack is a map of ethical projects on the internet. Workflow model. Report at least every year. Evaluation model, a questionnaire. Scored them according to various risks: technical risks, sustainability risks, economic risks, ethical risks.

To make it easier for people that are working on an public media project to find ethical technology.

Difficulties: some tech alternatives don’t give clear information about things like pricing. Difficult to see how these platforms change their business model.

Trying to build a community around this project & funding.

Lisa Bertel (researcher at FAS research)

Focus: Future of democracy in the digital age & Network analysis.

Questions: Who is out there, who tries to strengthen democracy, who democratizes technology? 150 expert interviews, 603 institutions

Result: mapping of the network, with ranking how often an institution is nominated as a key actor & the embeddedness in their own group & their ability to network areas that wouldn’t be connected otherwise.

Good network because of the multiple sub clusters. Examples of clusters:  Digital Right Clusters, Democracy Activists Cluster, Peacebuilding Cluster, Western European Civic tech cluster.

Webinar ‘What is the future of democracy in the digital age?’ + network map download.

Ian Forrester & Sander van der Waal

Worked on public mapping of the ecosystem of organizations working towards a more ethical internet for the public good.



Matt: It is hard to build the ecosystem. But good to map the ecosystems that are already here. We need to map and update it, so you can see what got better and what got worse. Big tech doesn’t make those changes transparent.

Paulien: It’s a shame that there are so many great initiatives not connected to the creative industries. We need to network. My project is about making visible and connectible. It should be bottom up, making this community more alive and connected. There is not enough people talking about technology from different perspectives.

Ian: what software was used for the maps?

Matt: no fundings for technology in digital media. It’s too tricky for them. Long term go: provide some genuine inside in to where investments could help. It’s difficult for foundations to understand the new alternatives.

Paulien: I started with the design, with a collective called Atelier Roosje Klap. Started with the interactive design of the map: what should be approachable for whom? Who needs to find it when? After that we reached out to a programmer.

Ian: Tell us about the updates.

Paulien: It’s not live yet, waiting for that. Everyone can update and alter their own data. The idea is live mapping. This has to be organized from within, but it gives people possibilities so it works for them. This map is a tool to make a union, a network.  

Matt: Got money to develop the framework and get the website up. Try to build a community of users through our webinars. We want people to try using data, and give us feed back on the usability. Practical everyday stories. It’s hard to go to open source stack for people. Building a community is very important upcoming years. We need investments.

Ian: Bringing people together is important. Have u seen collaborations as a result of your work?

Paulien: No collaborations yet. We still have to work on that, to make it effective. However, interest form platforms like Emerge and MIT makes clear that it is alive.

Matt: People used the resource. Unexpected impact: smaller independent software products didn’t have the details publicly to score them, and changed that because of our map, so that people could find it and we could score them.

Is your data available for others to use to be part of a bigger thing?

Matt: yes, collaborations are important. I also want a more sustainable home for this project with a team and community around it. Let me know if someone is interested.

Paulien: yes, we would love people to expand on to our map, outside the borders of NL, to make it international. Potential partner: The American group Guild of future architects.

Matt: not one map, people have different needs. Towards a public spaces ecosystem. The focus was too much on products, not on ecosystems.

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