Bristol Ideas: Democracy and Freedom of Expression series

This event is part of a 2021 series on democracy and freedom of expression. Bristol Ideas are committed to looking at solutions to the great challenges that face us – what individuals, leaders, mayors, councils, governments, cities, communities, nations and others can do to support, strengthen and extend democracy and freedom of expression.

The series includes: programmes on the future of democracy, May elections, the monarchy, constitutions, English devolution, House of Lords reform, votes at 16; work exploring freedom of expression through the year; and a focus on democracy and cities in Festival of the Future City (20-21 October).

The project partners include English PEN, Prospect Magazine, the Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath and the Observer. More events will be launched soon. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #FOIDemocracy and #CommonCurrency

About the speakers

Jillian C York is a writer and activist whose work examines the impact of technology on our societal and cultural values. Based in Berlin, she is the Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Human Rights at the European University Viadrina, and a visiting professor at the College of Europe Natolin.

Maria Farrell is a writer and speaker, and one of the Guardian newspaper’s 2021 “formidable female tech critics”. Her viral 2020 essay, “The Prodigal Tech Bro”, coined a new term to explain why we still lavish attention and resources on the men who created our technology dystopia. Maria worked in tech policy for twenty years, including The World Bank, ICANN, the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, and The Law Society of England and Wales. She has written for The Guardian, the New European, Slate, Medium, the Irish Times and Irish Independent, and is working on a book about how we can use stories to imagine and build a tech future that includes and serves us all.

A partnership between

What is Common Currency?

English PEN sits at the intersection of literature and advocacy, championing the freedom to write and the freedom to read.

Common Currency is our centenary programme - a unique project that combines timely debates on freedom of expression, creative campaigning and a celebration of diverse voices. It seeks to ignite a national conversation around issues of freedom of expression, led by writers and readers.

Every event in our programme is inspired by one of three key themes, based on our 100-year history:

1. Free speech and democracy

2. Languages and ideas

3. Celebrating women