IGF 2021 WS #256
Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet

Organizer 1: Darija Medic, MEDlab University of Colorado Boulder/DIploFoundation
Organizer 2: Katarina Andelkovic, Diplo Foundation
Organizer 3: Nathan Schneider, University of Colorado Boulder
Organizer 4: Maria Federica Carugati, King's College London

Speaker 1: Anita Gurumurthy, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Katharina Höne, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Maria Federica Carugati, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Darija Medic, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Nathan Schneider, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Katarina Andelkovic, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Other - 90 Min
Format description: The seating will function in a circular setup, applying the method of an exhibition tour for a dialog facilitator.

Policy Question(s)

Governance and cooperation for an evolving Internet: How does Internet governance need to change in order to meet the changing nature and role of the Internet? What tools, mechanisms, and capacity building instruments are needed for stakeholders to effectively cooperate, and engage in Internet governance?
Advancing global digital cooperation: What opportunities are provided by the current focus on digital cooperation resulting from the UN Secretary-General's Roadmap for digital cooperation? What role should the IGF play (and how) in advancing global digital cooperation?

This workshop will explore methods for including more actors from social sciences and art directly researching historical and contemporary governance practices into the space of the IGF. Specifically, it will explore the exhibition Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet, interested in what might be learned from pre-digital mechanisms across diverse societies and cultural practice.

The exhibition is a result of collaboration across sectors of social sience and art, exploring possible futures for Internet governance, drawing inspiration from non-digital sources of experience including:
Indigenous practices exploited, ignored, or suppressed by colonizers
Historical democratic practices that have been absent from more recent governance norms
Emergent innovations in subcultures past or present
Imaginations of future governance from science/speculative fiction
Rituals of community in conversation with rituals of justice systems.

It also aims to address governance challenges such as:
Accountability for how platforms organize work and personal data
Participatory design and consent
Resolving rule violations and conflicts
Overseeing algorithmic decision making

Whereas art initiatives are commonly featured and discussed as a means of illustrating societal issues, this workshop brings art methods as a direct discussion facilitator, by creating a Internet governance conversation around individual projects present in the exhibition through the diverse perspectives of speaker backgrounds (political social science, new media art, AI policy, tech advocacy). In this way the workshop will speak on specific, focused governance aspects and actively center actors coming from underrepresented fields of arts and humanities into policy.



Targets: As a contribution to current digital policy conversations, this workshop invites a wide spectrum of explorations of human governance practices from ancient to contemporary social movements into dialogue with the governance of the Internet in order to explore participatory governance practices and spaces. It builds further on the project 'Excavations:Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet' to extract the contributions tangible research through collaborations such as those coming from the conversation between social science and art can directly feed into policy discussions, making abstract concepts more comprehensive to a wider audience. Historical governance practice examples are brought from social science research and communicated in how they affect governance institution resilience and dynamics of today. The format of an online exhibition creates an online knowledge resource, where this conversation is publicly accessible and provides a model for further creating and supporting such spaces.


Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet is a workshop exploring how art and social science can directly benefit Internet governance. It presents a tour of 'Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet', an online exhibition that will be produced by artists working in collaboration with social scientists during the fall of 2021. The purpose of this workshop is to help participants think beyond familiar models for imagining more inclusive Internet governance ecosystems. This will be done by 1) facilitating a conversation on the value of the long history of governance for creating spaces that are governed inclusively 2) offering diverse governance practices across time and space, beyond current models of the Western world 3) exploring the potential of art in building a bridge between social scientific research on past governance models and current digital policy issues such as AI governance.
The workshop builds on earlier efforts to create a dialogue between multimedia artists and policy spaces such as the [email protected], an international exhibition on digital policy through the eyes of artists, conducted during the IGF2017 in Geneva. As a continuation of this initiative, 'Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet' extends the experience of [email protected] through offering interpretation models, such as this workshop, to further participation and dialogue with the exhibition format. Through discussing these bridges, the workshop will help participants think beyond familiar models for imagining more inclusive Internet governance ecosystems.

Expected Outcomes

The outcomes of the workshop will bring 1) more awareness to the intersection of disciplines such as art, social sciences and digital policy, 2) examples of good practice of cross sector dialog creation and 3) inspiration for policymakers and practitioners from fields the perspectives of which are rarely included in policy discussions. More directly, the workshop will invite video and textual feedback from participants that will become a contribution to the online exhibition and further life of the project 'Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet'.

The workshop is planned as a hybrid format, allowing all participants to become active speakers whether online or on location, ensured by the online moderator. The format of the workshop will apply means of communicating through web tools as the integral part of the conversation, with focus on aspects of accessibility, inviting participants as active contributors through several interactive formats, such as video messages, chat, collaborative online writing pads as contributions both to the conversation and to the online exhibition 'Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet'. Several artists from the exhibition will also be included in the conversation.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Etherpad, Instagram stories, web platform developed for the exhibition 'Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet'