AFTER festival explores the role of information technology in today’s society: and the impacts of digital culture on citizens and organizations.
AFTER is a festival organized in the framework of the Digital Agenda of the Emilia-Romagna Region - the main programming instrument of local and regional institutions for IT - aimed at spreading opportunities arising from the digital age to all people through a wide range of actions. Data show that access to information technology varies deeply depending on gender, age and education. Through a series of initiatives, such as AFTER, the Emilia-Romagna intends to close
these gaps: indeed the festival specifically addresses citizens who can take part in thematic workshops, conferences and events .
Active participation is the watchword of this activity.
Outreach is the goal of the festival, for this reason it was not conceived for taking place in the same area, on the contrary, each year it is hosted in a different city in Emilia-Romagna and organized in different spaces at a time. Each edition is based on a specific macro theme working as an umbrella for the sub-themes tackled during the planned events.
1° edition: How the broadband can improve citizens’ life (Modena, 2017)
2° edition: The positive impacts of the digital era on citizens’ life (Reggio Emilia, 2018)
3° edition: Digital education, smart working, big data, urban innovation (Bologna, 2019).
Who are the stakeholders involved?
Citizens: acquiring information through dedicated activities;
Institutions: conceiving the framework of the event and the topics;
Organizations: proposing or sponsoring activities.
The resources needed to organize this initiative varies from 400.000 euros to 600.00 euros.
The Festival is financed by public fundings from the Emilia-Romagna Region and private sponsors (their contribution amounts to 20-30% of the total costs).
Evidence of success
Data show that interest toward this festival is high: during the 2017 edition, participants amounted to 7.000, the following year a 20% increase was registered, while in 2019, 40% more people attended.
The initiatives organized within the festival got more relevant throughout the years, from 35 conferences, 10 workshops and 40 demos in 2017 to 62 workshops, 3 hackathons, 10 events, 15 conferences, 10 demos and 1 cinematographic event in 2019.
In 2017 guest speakers were 100 while in 2019, 190.
Potential for learning or transfer
AFTER can be transferred to other territories and realities: a 3-day festival can inform people on the fast changes occurring in society due to technological discoveries (and how they can be part of this transformation) and foster trust between citizens and institutions thanks to the informal and open settings of the events.
The participatory approach that the festival adopts helps public administrations in understanding what is happening on the territory and in collecting the needs and expectations of society at large (citizens and private organizations).
This public initiative involving national and international speakers and attendees in workshops, conferences, happenings, is aimed at making the regional strategic objectives related to IT more concrete, accessible and closer to people, in line with the EU digital market strategy which encourages institutions to create the right conditions for consumers and businesses to learn and benefit from the advantages of the digital economy.
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