Over a two-day period, the new edition of the POINT conference, entitled “Coming home”, will address many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic to help us all reflect on the past period and to open the space for regional and POINT participants to reexamine this period in various ways and therefore tackle topics that have changed our lives in the last two years. The conference will be held on 11th and 12th November this year, in Dom mladih Sarajevo.
Full program of the POINT conference is available HERE.
The first panel discussion at this year’s conference will focus on the future of work and its reimagination. The panel will refer to the pandemic and changes that happened in terms of organizing work. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of offline/online/hybrid modes of operation, organization of meetings, teamwork in different conditions and models of work, use of online tools, working hours and aspects of the same when working from home, and similar questions. This discussion will gather Will Stronge (Autonomy), Faris Začina (Ministry of Programming), Van Anh Dam (INCO), Danijela Bobić (UNDP), and it will be moderated by Danira Karović from CA “Zašto ne”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also drawn public attention worldwide on respecting human rights and freedoms and has opened up many questions and dilemmas regarding limits in our everyday life. Through panel discussion named The Value of Human Rights in a Pandemic, we will try to open only some issues and establish a link between respect for human rights and freedoms with current topics such as vaccination, restrictive measures related to COVID-19, but also talk about domestic violence, freedom of speech and online rights, as well as the impact of the pandemic on marginalized groups. This panel will be moderated by Tijana Cvjetićanin from CA “Zašto ne”, and it will gather politicians Lana Prlić and Irfan Čengić from Social democratic party BiH, Tamara Pavasović Trošt from School of Economics and Business at the University of Ljubljana, Goran Miletić from Civil Rights Defenders, and Maja Cimerman from Slovenian organisation Today is a new day.
Panel discussion Big tech getting Bigger will focus on how the pandemic has impacted tech giants and life in general regarding the influence that the platforms have on our everyday lives. We will discuss the issues related to disinformation, politics, civil society, and democratic development and societal development in general. Participants of this panel are: Maarten Schenk (Leadstories), Phoebe Arnold (Fullfact), and Carlos Hernandez-Echevarria (Maldita). The moderator of this discussion will be Jelena Berković from the Croatian fact-checking platform Faktograf and the SEE Check network.
Being a scientist in a pandemic is not an easy task, but communication of scientific issues during the pandemic is another level. In this panel session, together with Almir Aljović, author of a science YouTube channel Znanium and Jelena Kalinić, the editor of Vakcine.ba and author at Quantum of Science, we will talk about how the pandemic influenced journalism and reporting, what and where are the obstacles, were there any improvements and what should be the next steps and proper approaches in communication between the scientific community, journalists, reporters and social researchers.
Renaissance of theories of conspiracy and conspiracy influencers is the name of the panel whose aim is to discuss the increase, motivation, approach and solution of the problem of conspiracy theories and conspiracy influencers the pandemic has brought, both in media and social media. Most of us know the most famous conspiracy faces and voices, which become popular on social media literally over the night. They gathered millions of views on YouTube and achieved enormous reach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which fact-checkers could only imagine. How is that even possible? Why did it happen? Can the international fact-checking community learn anything from them? These are just some of the questions that fact-checkers Angie Holan from Politifact, Darvin Murić from the CDT, Montenegro, Ivana Živković from the Croatian fact-checking portal Faktograf, and Marija Vučić from the Serbian portal KRIK, will try to answer.
During all previous editions of the conference, PONT tried to present the projects, initiatives and tools of civil society organizations developed in the past year. The same goes for this edition of the conference. We will present several projects and initiatives from Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina through two sessions at the conference – the first one will happen at the end of the first day, while the next session is scheduled for the beginning of the second day of the conference.
A session titled How do wellbeing and mental strength fit in the equation will address how the pandemic has impacted the mental strength of activists and people in general. It will focus on discussing the good practices in maintaining the wellbeing of people and how to avoid or minimize burnout, especially in the pandemic. Panelists Kamil Śliwowski (Otwartezasoby.pl), psychologist Bojan Šošić, and Milena Petrović from Syndicate of doctors of Montenegro will focus on NGO activists and this branch of work, on how this affects them. The discussion will be moderated by Anna Kuliberda, a founder of The Radical Act of Self-Care, a community against activists’ burnout, specializing in program curation for meaningful events.
The main intention of the session titled Pandemic and the future of tech is to discuss and answer the future of tech after the pandemic and how, if at all, pandemic influenced technology development. Filip Muki Dobranić from Slovenian organisation “Danes je nov dan” will address technology development from a futuristic perspective and discuss where the technology development will go in the future and what it will bring. Will it have a more utopian or dystopian perspective? Should we worry more or less? Did the pandemic change anything, what and to what extent?
The second day of the POINT conference will introduce Pre-lunch duels as a new format – people with the same or similar projects would, without a moderator, engage each other in a one-on-one session talking about the challenges and the success of their projects. The first duel will be about platforms for communication of citizens and public officials in BiH and Serbia. The second one will be focused on the measurements of openness in transparency in BiH and Slovenia.
Through the panel called Future of events – Are they changed forever? we want to address changes that the pandemic brought in terms of the organization of events. We will talk about how moving online has affected civil society and other similar fields of work? What are the good sides, and what are the bad sides? Have events become more accessible due to this transition to online and the new normal? Is networking totally missing, and what will be the post-pandemic future of events? This discussion will gather Nino Macharashvili from DataFest Tbilisi, Maja Durlik from Techsoup, Iryna Shvets from OPORA, Arijana Gjuli from Open Data Kosovo, Baybars Orsek from IFCN and GlobalFact. The session will be moderated by Darko Brkan from CA “Zašto ne”.
On the second day of the POINT conference, we will discuss the topic of Journalism and the Pandemic Challenges facing this profession over the last year and a half. How much has the pandemic affected the work of journalists around the world, and in what way? To what extent did it influence the consumption of news by readers? What difficulties did journalists face in the pandemic? How to stay focused on the facts and stay credible due to the flood of different information? These are just some of the questions that the participants in this session Gordana Bjeletić from Južne vijesti, Miloš Rudović from Vijesti.me, and journalist Doruntina Baliu will try to answer.
Moreover, through a workshop scheduled for the end of the second day of the conference, Mehmed Mešanović, known as Plantismus, will show us how terrariums work and how to build one. See more of his work on the link: https://www.instagram.com/plantismus/.
POINT Conference is organized by UG “Zašto ne” (Citizens’ Association – CA “Why not”), in partnership with ACTION SEE and SEE Check networks. It is supported by the National Endowment of Democracy (NED) and the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD).