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Campfire Convention 001.UK : Digital Democracy panel


The opening panel at Campfire Convention 001.UK 13/08/16 

Let The Grand Correction Commence. Digital democracy and social change.

Debbie Golt, Marva Jackson Lord, Ed Dowding, Richard Thanki

BRIEF: We are at a crossroads in a time of fundamental change. People who have felt disenfranchised are re-engaging with politics and asking themselves what do we want and how do we make it real? The process of change starts with ideas, articulating big visions and bringing people together in consensus. 

Social change is about movements and we ask what role technology is playing in these, whether Syriza, Corbyn or Sanders. As more and more people look to social media for their news, particularly when they are seeking opinion, what does the future of media offer?

How do we define true democracy in the age of the information economy when what we mostly see is  a dressed up corporatocracy, extracting power and wealth from us all? A more radical, direct democracy with online voting on major issues with a reformed and truly free media must surely form a cornerstone of such change. From a broad policy perspective many of us would like to see national infrastructure run, used and owned by the people, not the state, not private enterprise, a concerted move on a national scale to renewable technology, and sustainable business and the ideas of permaculture being given a much higher profile than superficial consumer capitalism as we progress from a top-down society. 

We ask what are the signs that we have reached an era of postcapitalism and what does the future look like as it starts to play out?

How can Campfire play its part?

Marva Jackson Lord is a writer and social media strategist. In her kitchen she records poems, helps her children with their studies, sings karaoke, makes preserves and vanilla, and helps others with their web work. She sometimes produces events involving poetry and/or music in Hay-on-Wye. Born in Kingston, Jamaica; raised in Goderich, Ontario; evolved in Toronto. She is currently working on her first full collection of poetry

Ed Dowding is a passionate and innovative man, with an inspirational story. He founded FoodTrade and spends most of his time helping develop sustainable trade networks. He talks on democracy, technology, innovation, sustainability, hope and 21st century business patterns. His latest project – Represent, is about revolutionary democracy. “You answer questions, we make sure that decision-makers want to listen.”

Richard Thanki is a media and technology economist, now researches at the ICSS. He holds an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford and is currently reading for a PhD on the economics of infrastructure at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on the role played by infrastructure and shared resources in socio-economic systems, focussing especially on the quantification of abstract notions into models that can yield light on real-world issues.

Chair : Debbie Golt  MD ( is an internationally respected Arts consultant with a passion for Radio & Women's and African Music; Golt has been a panellist at WOMEX, In the City and Radio1 SoundCity. Her show The Outerglobe returns to in September. She's currently Chair of Women in Music.

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