Cyberparty Conference Announcement!


May 13th 2016 – King’s College London, Strand Campus

Register for the conference

In recent years – and in particular since the explosion of the financial crisis of 2008 – we have witnessed the rise of an array of new political parties – sometimes described as ‘digital parties’, ‘internet parties’ or ‘network parties’ – that attempt to utilise digital communication technologies as means to construct new forms of political participation and organisation against a background of widespread political disaffection with mainstream politics.

From the 5 Star Movement in Italy, to Podemos in Spain, and the Pirate Party in Iceland, Sweden and Germany, to the municipalist formations that recently won the mayoralties of Barcelona and Madrid, the signs of this surprising revival of the political party in digital times are growing. These new political organisations that are entering the political arena in a number of countries in Europe and beyond make use of the tools and practices that typify the present digital era, from Twitter channels and Facebook pages to Whatsapp groups and decision-making platforms. Furthermore, they embody the new demands that reflect the ways of life, fears and desires of an era of mass digital connectivity: demands for free information, privacy, connectivity and basic income.

What is the meaning and what the implications of these emerging digital parties? How do they reflect and respond to the current phase of economic and political crisis? What are the new issues and policies they bring to the fore? What are their forms of organisation, participation and leadership?

The Cyberparty conference hosted by the newly formed Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London will explore these issues by bringing together experts and activists from the forefront of political innovation. It will ask what is specific to the emerging ‘digital party-form’ underpinning these formaions, how it compares with the mass parties of the industrial era and the electoral-professional parties of the neoliberal era and to what extent it can become a vehicle for social and political change. Furthermore, it will inquire in which ways more traditional political phenomena such as the Labour party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the US are trying to adopt some of the emerging organisational structures and practices coming from digital parties.

Different aspects of digital parties will be examined: their organisational structures and cultures; their policies offer and social support base; their decision-making platforms; with dedicated panels on these issues. The conference will also host a special panel on digital activism in Eastern Europe.

The conference will also host a special panel on digital activism in Eastern Europe.

Confirmed speakers include

Birgitta Jonsdottir (Pirate Party), Davide Barillari (5 Star Movement), Bernardo Gutierrez (journalist and activist), Arnau Monterde (Universidad Oberta de Catalunya), Francesca Bria (Nesta), Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway), Sofia de Roa (Podemos), Miguel Ongil Lopez (Podemos), Richard Barbrook (Westminster), Emmy Eklundh (King’s), Emiliano Trere (Autonomous University of Queretaro), Marco Deseris (Northeastern University), Yurash Sviatoslav (Euromaydan), Samuel Greene (Director, Russia Institute, King’s College London), Cristian Vaccari (Royal Holloway), Aaron Bastani (Novara Media), Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s), Francisco Jurado (15M/Podemos), Alex Williams (City University), and Alex Clarkson (King’s).


Organised by the Centre for Digital Culture


With support from the Policy Institute, the Department of Digital Humanities and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London


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We hope you can make it!

Centre for Digital Culture


Launch Event of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London

The Great Transformation: digital technology and social change – Launch Event of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London
March 9th – 7pm – Safra Lecture Theatre – King’s College London

At the time of the Internet, smartphones and social media there seems to be virtually no aspect of society unaffected by the diffusion of digital technology. From the private to the public, from personal relationships to the economy and political movements we are witnessing a great transformation in the forms of social interaction and organisation whose magnitude can be compared to the one introduced by the the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism. But what do the different changes brought by digital technology actually share in common? What is the overarching logic guiding the digital transformation of society? And is it changing society for better or worse? We will discuss these issues with a number of leading scholars in the field of digital culture

Tim Jordan is Professor and Head of School of Media, Film and Music at Sussex University. He is the author of a number of influential books including Cyberpower: The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace and the Internet (1999), Activism!: direct action, hacktivism and the future of society (2002), and Information Politics (2015).

Joanna Zylinska is a writer, lecturer, artist and curator, working in the areas of new technologies and new media, ethics, photography and art. She is Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of a number of influential books including Life after New Media (2012/ with Sarah Kember) and The Cyborg Experiments (2002).

Mark Coté is a leading researcher in the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of big data. He has received numerous research grants from the AHRC and EU-Horizon 2020 as both PI and CI, partnering with the Open Data Institute, British Library, Aarhus University, the University of Pisa and many others. His work has been published widely across leading journals including Big Data & Society.

Mercedes Bunz is a German art historian, philosopher and journalist. She has worked as the technology correspondent for the Guardian and is currently senior lecturer journalism and digital media, University of Westminster and has been involved in digital publishing and open access project. She is the author of The Silent Revolution: How Digitalization Transforms Knowledge, Work, Journalism and Politics without Making Too Much Noise (2014).

Centre for Digital Culture Announcement

We are very pleased to announce the establishment of the Centre for Digital Culture. The Centre for digital culture is an interdisciplinary research centre exploring digital culture – understood as the array of cultural practices and communities manifested in the use of digital communication technologies (Internet, social media, smartphones, wearable devices etc.) constitutes a central object of discussion in contemporary society. From the role of social networks as Facebook and Twitter in reshaping personal relationships, to the use of digital media by political parties, movements and terrorist groups and public concern about vanishing privacy at the time of Big Data, digital culture issues constantly make news headlines and generate new hopes and fears in the public. The Centre will allow researchers interested in digital culture to engage in common debates about the nature and dynamics of the emerging digital society, and about the different ‘digital methods’ available to study new social and cultural phenomena emerging in a digital society.