In March we held our sixth annual strategy meeting, and the first one in-person in three years. We were delighted to return to a physical event (in Berlin) and to see our community face-to-face.
As in previous years, we gathered with three objectives in mind: a) to share knowledge, lessons, plans, strategies, and pool ideas, creativity, and resources; b) to network, meet colleagues and friends, and build relationships of trust and respect; and c) to look back on the year that has passed, synchronise efforts, and collaboratively plan and strategise for the months and years ahead.
These objectives were successfully accomplished. The seventy participants (the highest attendance we have ever had) included a diverse range of stakeholders. In keeping with our tradition, the agenda was built based on feedback from participants. Everybody was engaged and energetic, and discussions ranged on a broad variety of topics.
Day 1 focused on highlighting key moments within the digital rights community from the previous year such as the protection of free speech with respect to abortions in the Women on Web vs Spain case. We also unpacked several thematic areas including mass surveillance, racial justice and digital rights, emerging EU legal frameworks and digital environmental justice.
On day 2, our facilitators shared a wide range of skills with our participants including on natural language processing, movement lawyering and coalition building.
Our participants determined the topics discussed on day 3. These topics included looking at the dangers and possibilities of neuro-technology, the EU Child Sexual Abuse Regulation, digital degrowth, and many more.
We all share a common goal of advancing digital rights protection and have digital technologies that respect the human rights of all particularly of the most marginalised in our societies. The annual strategy meeting was an exceptional opportunity to reflect on how we can better work together as a community and to spark new action and initiatives.
Our three main takeaways from this meeting were:
- The value of continued collaboration and alliance building within the digital rights community.
- The importance of an intersectional approach to the protection of digital rights. This was perhaps best highlighted by the phenomenal keynote speech given by Professor E. Tendayi Achiume, the Former UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
- The value in continuously developing our legal, technical, leadership and advocacy skills.
We were also mindful of the toll that these discussions take on our well-being, and therefore included some movement sessions in each day that brought respite and much welcome relaxation.
The meeting left us again with a feeling of deep appreciation and admiration for the incredible individuals we get to work with every day. Detailed notes of the sessions have been shared with participants, with the aim of encouraging follow-up work and connections. We already heard of amazing initiatives and collaborations in the making arising from this year’s conversations, and we at DFF look forward to supporting them.
Thank you to all the participants for their engagement and generosity, and for adhering to our House Rules, which aim to create a safe space for all. We also wanted to thank all our colleagues at DFF and the external facilitators that supported us – it is thanks to their tireless work that we held together a fantastic space to achieve everything described above.
We look forward to seeing you all at next year’s strategy meeting!