NeFCA’s TWG Intercultural Communication and Diversity was involved in the organization of the international conference ‘Digital Fortress Europe’. On 30 and 31 October 2019, the organizers welcomed over 100 participants in the imposing Palace of the Academies, Brussels. The aim of the conference was to explore the boundaries between media, migration and technology. Keynote speakers included Payal Arora (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Huub Dijstelbloem (University of Amsterdam) and Myria Georgiou (London School of Economics and Political Science). Besides the 17 well-attended paper sessions, the program also included films screenings with the film collective Cinemaximiliaan (films by Fatma Osman and Marof Hakimi). For more information, see www.ecreadmm.com.
The two-day conference “Digital Fortress Europe” intends to be a forum to reflect on the relations between media, migration, and technology. These relations demand our fullest attention because they touch on the essence of what migration means in societies that are undergoing democratic challenges.
Research shows that media and technologies play a vital role for people who migrate, but that the same media and technologies serve to spread xenophobia, increase societal polarization and enable elaborate surveillance possibilities. With its intensifying anti-migration populist discourses, humanitarian border crises and efforts to secure borders through technological solutions, the European context provides a pulsating scene to examine such deepening relations. Taking place in the heart of Europe’s political capital, this conference aims to critically reflect on what the much-debated notion of “Fortress Europe” means in the digital age and how it can guide our future thinking on media and migration. As such, scholars of media, communication, migration and technology will be stimulated to contribute to critical discussions on border politics and migration debates.
The thematic focus of this conference is on media, migration and technology and all their possible linkages and intersections. While significant attention goes to digital technologies and social media, the organizers do aim for a broad focus that also includes traditional media, and aspects of media production, organization, consumption, representation and policy.