The Edgelands Institute is an interdisciplinary pop-up institute to redraw our social contract in our era of mass-urbanization, surveillance, pandemics, and other emergencies. Currently being incubated at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, it results partly from a collaboration with Swissnex in Boston.
The Institute stems from the perception that the rapid deployment of surveillance technologies in cities to provide security services is reshaping how we interact with government, corporations, and each other without receiving the attention this transformation deserves. There is an urgent need for an inclusive conversation around how this is affecting our societies. The goal of the institute is to bring together all the concerned parties to find and create common ground. Its mission is to imagine the terms of new social contracts that work for cities and people in the age of pandemics and digital surveillance.
The event will last for 60 minutes. It will introduce the institute’s mission, methodology. True to its mission, it will bring together arts and research to have an engaging session. To guide the conversation, the organizers would appreciate it if you could answer a few questions for us on your views about the urban social contract in your city.
Beatriz Botero ArcilaResearch Leader and Co-Founder, Edgelands Institute
Beatriz is a specialist in privacy law, surveillance, and data governance, particularly in urban environments. A musician who is passionate about her city of Bogota, she just finished her doctoral degree at Harvard Law and is a lecturer in cyberlaw at Sciences Po in Paris.
Yves DaccordExecutive Chairman and Co-Founder, Edgelands Institute
Yves was the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross from 2010-2020 and is now a Fellow at the Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center For Internet & Society and a commissioner of the #Principles4Peace initiative. During his tenure at the International Red Cross, the impetus of wars shifted from conflicts over land ownership to conflicts over ideology and data. Yves saw what happens when the texture of every day’s societies is ripped apart. His increasing encounters with mass surveillance and misinformation campaigns led Yves to create the Edgelands Institute.
The Edgelands «pop-up» institute combines academia’s intellectual power with the experimental nature and energy of art pop-ups. We are certain this is the best way to explore the intersection of changing social contracts and power dynamics, digital security, and politics in specific contexts.