The Big #rpReview: re:publica 2012 – ACT!ON

Our journey through re:publica's history continues. In this chapter, we look at the ins-and-outs of re:publica 2012: a new venue and new topics, particularly the discussions around ACTA.

Our big #rpReview series kicked off with the very first re:publica in 2007. Then we took you through the years 2008, 2009, 2010 and, most recently, 2011 to refresh your memories.

The 2012 review picks up where we left off. It was the first year that STATION Berlin became home to the three days of re:publica, which welcomed 4 000 participants from 2 – 4 May. The organisation team grew to around 40 people and that year also saw the founding of republica GmbH which has organised re:publica from on.

Following the "motto-less" previous year, 2012 was all about "ACT!ON" and the power of social media for political movements. The thematic variety rose above the previous year's and a total of 13 unique tracks formed the basis of the event programme. These were divided into co:funding, re:design, re:health, re:innovate, re:invent, re:learn, re:mix, re:open, re:play, re:port, re:publica, re:unite and re:volt.

Physical "ACT!ON" was also a feature of the conference, particularly in the main hall of STATION Berlin. It provided an open space and new interactive elements, such as small workshops and talks at individual partner booths. New partnerships expanded the programme and featured workshops on mobility services of the future, as well as the Finanzblog Award. Thanks to its diverse event programme and on-location concepts, re:publica was awarded educational event status and thus became accessible to visitors on official educational leave.

In terms of content, internet policy took centre stage. At the time of the conference in May, ACTA was still being heatedly debated until luckily being rejected by the European Parliament two months later. In her talk "The Internet Freedoms", EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes suggested that ACTA would no longer be something to worry about. Steffen Seibert, press secretary for the German government, gave an interview on his Twitter activities in the name of the government.

Society and culture topics were also heavily featured at re:publica 2012. Cindy Gallop called for us to "Make Love Not Porn", while Raul Krauthausen, Maik Wagner and Martin Georgi presented their projects on accessibility for people with disabilities. Their talk was presented in cooperation with Aktion Mensch and simultaneously translated into sign language.

re:publica 2012 also focused on digital topics which only later would penetrate into general social discussions. Eben Moglen, for example, talked about self-defence and free and open software to counter digital surveillance – one year prior to the Edward Snowden revelations. Right-wing extremism on social networks is not just a recent problem and it was already discussed at re:publica in 2012. Mark Kaigwa helped us peer beyond our own horizons in his "Silicon Savannah" talk and showed us how innovations from Africa can have global application.

Those were some of our memories from 2012, what about yours? In their recap from that year, Projector described that "one has the feeling that the future of the internet is being discussed here". Anna-Lena remembers the build-up to re:publica.

That concludes our review of re:publica 2012. But we're not done yet! In the next edition, we'll be looking at 2013 and we again want to collect some of your anecdotes, stories and memories! Send us your favourite links, images and videos from re:publica 2013.

Easiest way is via Twitter, using the hashtag #rpRevue, or via e-mail to redaktion at re-publica.de. We look forward to all of your feedback!

In the meantime, check out and be inspired by some of the impressions collected from re:publica 2012. Here is a YouTube playlist for #rp12, as well as Flickr pages for the first, second and third conference day. Also check out the Flickr group, featuring personal highlights submitted by you. Finally, a short best-of:

Photos by Gregor Fischer I re:publica 2012 (CC BY 2.0)

Photos by iStockphoto I re:publica 2012 (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Philip Steffan (CC BY 2.0)

Photos credit: with kind premission by Teymur Madjderey — "re:publica 12 #rp12" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Photos credit: with kin premission by Teymur Madjderey — "re:publica 12 #rp12" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Cover photo (on top) by iStockphoto I re:publica 2012 (CC BY 2.0)