Monthly Archives: July 2017

Digitalisation and Modern Media

What links the 16th century reformation with our age of modern media and digitalisation?

SnowdenFor many reasons the present exhibition in Wittenberg/Germany on “Luther and the Avantgarde” is worth a visit. Artists with a world reputation have been invited to present works on their perception of Luther and the reformation in the cells of a former prison. A contradiction in terms: the reformation is celebrated as promoting freedom and the artists’ perception is presented in a former prison.

It is amazing to see how many of the artists’ works deal with modern media. But this does not come as a total surprise as it is often stated that Luther used the modern media of his time, the printing press, in order to spread his ideas. Without these possibilities, it is said, the reformation would have been far from being as successful as it was. The artists’ group “Robotlab” installed a robot in Wittenberg, which writes within nine month all chapters of the bible. The artists say, Luther`s writing also were an act of freeing himself from his cell. Achim Molné is presented with a digital produced picture of Edward Snowden in the garden of the prison, thus merging the digital world with the real environment of Wittenberg. He says: “The Whistle-Blowers Luther and Snowden both aimed at exposing systematic injustices.” And both used the modern media of their times.

Of course, there are also the critical aspects. The Chinese artist Zhang Peili enriches the exhibition with a set of radios exposed in a circle. Their sounds are mixing to a sound wall in the cell of the prison. And a microphone is moving from radio to radio giving dominance to one sound for a while. Can we still distinguish the different voices in a time when there seems to be an overkill of voices and information? And who is the master of the microphone giving dominance to one or the other of the many voices? Another Chinese artist, Xu Bing, invites visitors in a messy office environment to translate biblical stories into globally understood symbols using the computer. Does this method transform the message into something trivial?

I would not call myself a computer literate. I use the computer and new social media like many others: I enjoy the possibilities being in touch with many long-standing and new friends all over the world. I try to protect my computer to the best of my knowledge and I try to be reflective on what I share publicly. I am interested as to how modern media, for instance, can contribute to establishing a European public, how new media can help civil society to share a different world view compared to some of the public news.

But I am also aware that there is much more to it. What´s about big data? Who controls the net? Did we already become slaves of other peoples’ algorithms? What´s about the internet of things? And most important: what are the ethical implications. What is the role and the underlying perception of human beings? Questions over questions. Certainly the digitalization and the use of modern media changes our world. It is a revolution, at least as life changing as the reformation and the invention of the printing press at Luther´s times.

It is with these questions and perceptions that I will arrive at the forthcoming Oikonset Annual Conference, which will take place in Flehingen/Germany, 6-10 September 2017 under the theme “The Digital Revolution and its Children”.  I am looking forward to learn more about the opportunities and challenges and to discuss with friends from all over Europa about their perspective.  It is for sure that the use of modern media and digitalisation are issues with huge ethical implications to be discussed by Oikosnet members in a European and global context.

Editorial by Rüdiger Noll, Executive Secretary of Oikosnet Europe

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New date for the Arab Europe Dialogue Citizens’ Dialogue on Religion and Society

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Monday 25 to Thursday 28 of June  2018 Sigtuna, Sweden

The planned Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue Conference in Sigtuna in August this year has been postponed until June 2018. There are several reasons for this,  regrets from people that were invited to speak at the conference stating that the timing was unfortunate since it collided with other activities – typically various vacation and other family oriented events.
We have also received many regrets from people at European partner institutions stating that they cannot attend the meeting, most of them referring to similar reasons.

We really hope that the new dates in June 2018 will be more suitable and welcome you all to Sigtuna Foundation at the most beautiful time of the year.

More about the conference

burqiniIn recent years, we have seen the rise of many cultural tensions and conflicts, and even violent terror and war, in many parts of the world. This has not least been the case in Europe and in the Arab region. Religion, that in the more secularized parts of Europe in the late 20th century merely was considered as a private matter, has been at the core in many of these contemporary conflicts. Thus, issues around religion and democratic peaceful development are today burning issues, not least in Europe and the Arab region.

The Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue
The Arab-European Citizens’ Dialogue represents one concrete way to work with the issues mentioned above. From 2010, there has been a series of consultations in both Europe and in the Arab region. The last Consultation, the 5th from the initiation of this dialogue project, was held at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in March 2016. In that Consultation, we set out to explore where active citizenship can make a difference – in the Arab region as well as in Europe. We are now ready to take the next step. The next Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue is concentrating on Religion and Society, and the specific focus will be on Gender – Media – Democracy.

Below, you find some initial information and some practical matters.  Feel free to contact any of the following persons if you have further questions:

For the Arab side: Samira Luka samira.luka@ceoss.org.eg
For the European side: Alf Linderman alf.linderman@sigtunastiftelsen.se

Conference organizers
The Arab-Europe Citizens’ Dialogue Conference on Religion and Society in Sigtuna 2018 is organized jointly by the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), Oikosnet Europe, Church of Sweden and the Sigtuna Foundation.

Conference venue
The conference will take place at the Sigtuna Foundation (Sigtunastiftelsen) in the small and picturesque city of Sigtuna located between Stockholm and Uppsala in Sweden. Sigtuna is only 17 kilometres from the Stockholm Arlanda Airport and thus very accessible.

Financial support for Conference fee and travelling costs.
The cost for participation, after subsidies by the Sigtuna Foundation, is SEK 4350 (app. EUR 450). As a member of Oikosnet Europe you have the opportunity to take part in the Conference free of charge. The number for participants with financial support is limited.

Please contact karin.sallander@sigtunastiftelsen.se if you are interested in taking part of the Conference.

If you are in need of financial support for your travelling costs, please contact the office of Oikosnet Europe office@oikosnet.eu

Learn the art of Iconography in Crete

Iconographhy2Since 1995, the Iconography Workshop of the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC) cultivates the Byzantine art through the painting of icons and also by informing groups visiting the OAC on iconography. The Workshop provide iconography seminars to groups and to individuals from Greece and abroad. These seminars aim at offering a general orientation and acquaintance with Byzantine art. The main emphasis lies on the portable icon painting. The participants will learn and practice the techniques that are being applied during the different phases of its creation.

Parallel to the practical section of their training, the participants get information on the theoretical framework of Byzantine iconography.  The OAC scientific advisors deliver lectures on the theology of icons and the history of iconography. During the courses, the participants will visit places directly connected to the hagiographic tradition of the Orthodox Church, as it was experienced in the island of Crete. They have the opportunity to admire and study masterpieces of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art; many of them are to be found in their ‘natural place‘, in the churches and the monasteries. The participants stay at the OAC and taste the traditional Cretan cuisine. At the end of the courses, the participants receive a certificate from the OAC confirming their participation.

Dates of the iconography seminars
October 13th – 20th
March 14th – 21

For further information and registration please get in contact with Konstantina Stefanaki,Iconographer of the OAC Orthodox Academy of Crete 73006  Kolympari – Chania, Crete,
Tel.: +30-28240-22245, Fax: +30-28240-22060

E-mail: ksoac@otenet.gr ,   Websitewww.oac.gr

Welcome to DPC training for women

September 27th – October 2nd, Presbyterian Women’s Centre – The mission House, Accra, Ghana

The Board of Stichting Oikosnet International (OI) invites for a Five Day Training in the DPC-methodology. DPC stands for Dialogue for Peaceful Change. This method is developed under the umbrella of Oikosnet International.

Basic Information:
Participants: Max 24 women from Oikosnet members, all over the world
Dates: 27 September – 2 October 2017
Arrival: Tuesday 26 September Departure: Monday 2 October
Place:  Presbyterian Women’s Centre – The mission House, Accra, Ghana
Fee: Euro 200
Language: English
Deadline:  27 July 2017

This training is financially supported by the – now informal – Board of Oikosnet International. This umbrella-organisation finished its work by the beginning of this year. The remaining funds are now dedicated to this training. The proposal came from Oikosnet Africa and is meant for women who want to play a role in developing peace and justice in their societies. Women from Oikosnet members, coming from all Oikosnet regions are invited for this training. Financial support for travel is available for non-European participants, especially for their travel costs.

In the attached file more specific information is available.

Applications have to be sent to the coordinator of Oikosnet Africa, Mrs. Afia Darkwa-Amanor (afiadarkwa.09@gmail.com). Please see the application form.

Coming from Europe, you are also invited to send you application to both Rüdiger Noll and Jaap van der Sar (both were members of the Board of OI). Please use their following addresses: rudiger@rudigernoll.eu and jaapvandersar@gmail.com. Here you can also receive further information. For Europe we have roughly 4 places available. Travel costs have to be paid by the participants. Some support from Oikosnet Europe is available for some participants. If required, please contact Rüdiger Noll and/or Jaap van der Saar.