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Laure Kaltenbach • Managing director of the Forum d’Avignon


- Cineuropa sat down with organiser Laure Kaltenbach to talk about the upcoming first Forum d’Avignon 100% data

Laure Kaltenbach  • Managing director of the Forum d’Avignon

This year on 19 September, the Forum d’Avignon is organising the first Forum d’Avignon 100% data at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) in Paris, in order to debate cultural stakes about personal data. The Forum d’Avignon is a think-tank dedicated to culture and creative industries, and their dialogue with the economy. Each year, the think-tank assembles working groups to develop proposals and broadcast them worldwide. Cineuropa sat down with organiser Laure Kaltenbach to talk about the upcoming event. 

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Cineuropa: Can you briefly introduce yourself and how you are related to the event?
Laure Kaltenbach: I am the managing director of the Forum d’Avignon – the think tank working on the link between culture and the economy - organising all the events of the Forum d’Avignon since 2008. 

Can you introduce the event? What are the key events of the programme?
Well, the nature of the event is quite specific; we’ve been working at it in Forum d’Avignon and with its partners – we have about 200 experts from all over the world coming from 40 different countries. We have organised working groups on different topics. For a couple of years now, we’ve been organising working groups on personal data and all open data. And what we wanted to explain and to share is that where data, big data, open data is often seen as a techincal issue, what we feel in Forum d’Avignon is that it’s definitely not a technical issue; it is definitely a cultural and ethical and political issue. This is why we would like to emphasise during the event on 19 September why people, companies, states and governments should consider data as a cultural and ethical issue.

What we’ve been doing – we’ve been thinking about what was going on with the human genome at the beginning of the 1990s – at this time some pharmaceutical groups said that they wanted to copyright the human genome to repair the human being. After a couple of months and years, it was not a technical issue anymore, but it was an ethical issue. And after five or six years of that debate, we had the universal declaration of the human genome.

What we say with data is that we are having the same debate now – it is perceived as a technical issue, whereas when talking about privacy and all these very important issues, we are now tackling ethical issues. And what we say is that we should move to a universal declaration of digital human rights. And this is what we have been working on for the last couple of months with groups and lawyers and different people. And we are going to present this declaration, the preliminary declaration, of course, in French, in Arabic, in Chinese and in English on 19 September. 

Is this event related to film?
This event is definitely related to all of the creative industry; we have plenty of movie directors coming and supporting the idea of the declaration because they all feel that if they want to share their film, personal data is going to be kind of the black gold of the 21st century, helping their film to be broadcast. When talking about, for example, Netflix using personal data – they have a new take on development to present you and offer you and to tell you what film you should like – this is definitely a very crucial link. 

Who is this event targeted at? 
Everybody! I’m not kidding; usually at the Forum d’Avignon, we have four types of public: we have entrepeneurs, we have artists, we have researchers/institutions and we have students, because we have a partnership with more than 12 international universities. This is basically why the Forum d’Avignon was built – to bring different kinds of people like entrepeneurs, artists and researchers together, and to have one place where they can meet. And this year, because the topic is so intense and interesting, every single person in every single field of the creative industry is linked. So everybody is welcome to participate and to be there.

What is the main puropose of this event? 
The main aim of this event is to be the first cultural forum, 100% data, to do three things: one is to debate that the stage of data is a cultural stage and why.

The second purpose is to share this preliminary declaration of digital human rights. We want it to be a starting point and to be broadcast all over Europe and all over the world; this is why we did it in French, English, Chinese and Arabic.

And the third point is to show different things in the Cultural Data Village. 

Is this the first time this kind of event has taken place? 
The cultural forum 100% data? Yes, definitely the first. 

For more information about the event, go to http://www.forum-avignon.org/


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