Digital and network politics, every other night from Newspeak House


Just an alert to our London friends of a fascinating run of near-nightly talks at Newspeak House, the hacker-oasis run by Edward Saperia, and featured regularly in these pages. They start tonight, 6th December - here’s a cut and paste of just one page:

Newspeak House events

06DEC6:30pm - 8:00pm
Newspeak Hall

Blockchain and its applications for democracy

Areeq Chowdhury / WebRoots Democracy

Blockchain (a digital, decentralised, public ledger of transactions) forms a core component of Bitcoin, the worldwide cryptocurrency, and is often talked about for its potential in other aspects of society.

Due to the secure and transparent nature of blockchain, it is touted as a concept that could be used for online voting platforms not just for representative elections, but for direct democracy, liquid democracy, and participatory budgeting.

If you’re interested to find out more about blockchain and how it can be applied, join us to listen, ask questions, and learn on the 6th of December.


  • Dr David Galindo - Senior Lecturer in Computer Security, University of Birmingham
  • Further speakers to be announced.

Spaces are limited so please register

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07DEC8:00pm - 11:59pm
Newspeak Hall

Human and Machine – dystopia or utopia?


Celebrating 20 years of Cybersalon techno-futures

8pm - a debate on Human And Machine with Alessandro Gandini (Kings College) and tech trade union activist David Dahlborn (Sweden Trade Union), chaired by Dr Sophia Drakopoulou (Middlesex Uni)

9pm till late - DJ set by Simon S

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08DEC2:00pm - 4:00pm
Newspeak Hall

The Future use of Digital Tools in Social Change

Louise Crow / mySociety

  • What is the current state of play with digital tools and social change?
  • How have digital tools impacted the work of social change?
  • What is the future of digital tools for social change?
  • What part do human relationships and connection play in today’s digitally enabled world?
  • To what extent has digital technology changed everything?

A discussion hosted by The Sheila McKechnie Foundation & mySociety


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08DEC6:00pm - 8:30pm
Newspeak Hall

The Future of Work: working independently in the gig economy

Alexandra Wright

Gone are the days of conventional 9 to 5. As we strive to redress our work-life balance;

  • How can we help each other to ensure our energies are focused where they should be?
  • How can we best leverage and sustainably build, our constant connection and ever expanding network?
  • Cut through the (white) noise and be connected to gigs where we can both give value and feel valued?
  • What are our personal value systems? How ready are we for skills-sharing and non-monetised working?

Please join facilitator Alexandra Wright, ceo/founder of Able app, for a special meetup celebrating and exploring work in the gig-economy. During the session you will have the opportunity to collaborate with other independent workers, and begin to build additional support networks together. Additional presenters/facilitators

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09DEC10:00am - 5:00pm
Newspeak Hall

Hack The Police

Kevin Lewis / Hacksmiths

In the summer of 2013, front-line police officer’s from the Metropolitan Police’s Commissioner’s 100 volunteered to set up and run the first UK Policing Hackathon - Hack the Police. The entire event was a voluntary effort to develop and trial new technology and new ways of working. Invitees were both serving front-line officers, and independent software developers.

This year, we’re bringing the event back to further explore the themes of:

  • Better first hand evidence and reducing suggestion.
  • Improving comfort and building rapport in the interview room.
  • Tools for better police wellbeing and mental health.

We aim to once again engage with developers, designers, researchers, and officers. We’ll also have representatives from the Forensic Psychology Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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11DEC6:00pm - 8:00pm
Newspeak Hall

Britain's Digital Future


How does the UK become the world’s most advanced digital society?

In his first keynote speech since becoming Shadow Digital Minister, Rt. Hon. Liam Byrne MP will draw on his history of Britain’s entrepreneurial revolution to set out the roadmap for developing Labour’s digital manifesto over the year to come.

Liam Byrne MP’s speech will be introduced by Rt. Hon. Tom Watson MP, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Afterwards, Jamie Bartlett, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, will lead an ‘in conversation’ with Liam Byrne, with time for questions and answers from the audience.

A drinks reception will be served following the formalities.

Please make sure to register

Any questions, please contact Demos’ Events team on:

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12DEC7:00pm - 10:00pm
Newspeak Hall

The Cryptobar

Open Rights Group

Fabio Natali will be giving a presentation on the Cryptobar installation, a project aimed at spreading the word about privacy (and privacy-enhacing technologies) in an artistic and accessible way.

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13DEC7:00pm - 9:00pm
Newspeak Hall

Civil Society Futures

Marietta Le

Civil Society Futures is a national conversation about how English civil society can flourish in a fast changing world. Come and share your hopes and fears for the future, the changes you’re seeing in civil society, and together co-develop specific visions for what civil society might look like ten years from now.

“An inquiry into the future of civil society suggests concern about the present. In politics this relates to concerns about a democratic deficit, and a series of public issue crises: an environmental crisis, a refugee crisis, and health and housing crises.

This is set against a backdrop of concerns about fake news which adds to and reflects a lack of trust in public actors. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer (2017), between October 2016 and January 2017 trust in government fell from 36% to 26%; in business from 45% to 33% and in the media from 32% to 24%.

Britain also has a significant ‘trust gap’ of 19% between ‘informed publics’ (‘in the upper income quartile, university educated and with a declared interest in politics and the media’) and those with an income of less than £15,000.” - initial research report

Before the event we will send out a poll to help create a frame for the discussion - make sure you register.

The event will be hosted by Marietta Le who is an Engagement Manager at BetterPoints, and a founder and activist working on civic tech initiatives in Hungary.

Use the hashtag #CivilSocietyFutures or mention us at @civsocfutures on Twitter.

Please note that for the purpose of summarising the takeaways of the discussion the event will be recorded (audio).

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