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Digital Sjølråderett Design for a Nordic digital shift


29 November, 2019, 09.00 – 18.00

Digital Sjølråderett’ is a one day conference at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design that asks what the ‘digital shift’ means in a Nordic setting.

What is at stake when global digitalization trends meet the Nordic welfare states? What kind of challenges and possibilities does the digital shift bring about for societal development, policy, and design? How can the digital shift be used to promote societal values of trust, equity, and collective rights? And is there a Nordic model of digital design in the making that could challenge the hegemony of Silicon Valley? The name of the conference, ‘Digital sjølråderett’, comes from ‘Sjølråderett’, the Nordic term for the right to societal self-determination.

This conference is hosted by the research network of Digital Urban Living at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, in collaboration with writer and designer Dan Hill, Director of Strategic Design at Vinnova, the Swedish Innovation Agency.

The conference aims at addressing multidisciplinary issues of designing for a Nordic ‘digital shift’ – spanning societal development, design, governance, technology, urbanism and architecture. Across cases and discussions the conference addresses what ‘digital sjølråderett’ could mean in the future? And how this right could be challenged and developed?

Within societal and urban development, the ‘digital shift’ is currently presented as the vision of ‘smart societies’ and ‘smart cities’. Many such strategies have recently been criticized on issues of privacy, data-ownership, lack of regulation and changing private-public power relations. Seen in a specific Nordic perspective, our additional claim is that many such developments challenge basic values of the Nordic societal model, such as trust, equity, and inclusion, as well as issues of collective rights and responsibilities.

In this conference, issues of digitalization will be discussed not just as technology, but as debates on social values, culture, and democracy. Secondly, technology will be approached from a broader societal perspective – not just as tools for solving current problems – but as resources for making alternative cultures and futures. Finally, we will discuss how to further develop rights of digital self-determination, be that for nations, regions, cities, communities and citizens.