Year of Science "Freedom" – Programme Highlights

24.05.2024 - As part of the Science Year 2024, we are discussing the topic of ‘Freedom’. Here are some of the programme highlights!
Wissenschaftsjahr Freiheit

At a time when freedoms are coming under pressure in ways that have long been unimaginable, we are focussing on what constitutes a free digital society, the state of freedom in science and research and how we can ensure the freedom of future generations. Here are some of the programme highlights:

Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger will discuss about persecuted and threatened scientists together with ZDF meteorologist Özden Terli, Julia Wandt from the Scicomm support centre and Katrin Kinzelbach (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg): Hostility towards scientists is on the rise - in Germany and worldwide. What support do they receive, what protection? Who stands up for academic freedom?

Freedom also means barrier-free access to information and services for everyone: the state is digitalising, and the Online Accessibility Act of 2017 created the first legal framework that obliges public institutions to make their digital services accessible. Seven years later, are most services accessible?

In this workshop, you will learn how to create a social media post that is accessible to as many people as possible - with practical exercises and scientific background information on the ‘Big 5 of the #barrierfreePosting’.

Is AI threatening our freedom of opinion, especially in the super election year 2024? Creating and distributing deceptively real-looking photos or videos - easier than ever with generative AI and recommendation algorithms. Does AI jeopardise the trust of citizens and public discourse? Does it also harbour opportunities? 

Young people also have their say in the thematic focus: Why do 80% of young people in Germany believe their freedom is at risk? How do they believe they can help shape society and why do they hesitate to become politically active?

Off-stage, various installations are dedicated to the topic of freedom: in addition to video works by medienkunst e.V., the ‘Echosystem’ project visualises the German language sphere of the Telegram messaging platform: A programme analyses posts from public channels and uses their cross-connections to form a galaxy of influencers, activists, politicians and alternative media.

Other sessions for the Year of Science will focus on inclusive digital spaces, free platforms and infrastructures - how can artificial intelligence, for example, be developed as trustworthy as possible and in the interests of our freedom? Last but not least, we are looking to the future: how can the freedom of future generations be ensured in the face of challenges such as the climate crisis?

You can find all sessions in the ‘Freedom’ thematic focus on this page.
Our thematic focus on freedom is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the Year of Science 2024.

About the Year of Science 2024 – Freedom

The theme of the Year of Science 2024 is freedom. Because it is of fundamental value and is under threat today in ways that have long been unimaginable. Two upcoming anniversaries underline its importance for Germany: 75 years of the Basic Law and 35 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Science Year 2024 is therefore focusing on various dimensions of freedom. What exactly is freedom? Are freedom and democracy connected? Where does freedom begin and where does it end? With a wide range of hands-on activities, the Year of Science provides a framework for intergenerational discussions about freedom, its value, its meaning and its limits - with each other and with science. About freedom today, tomorrow and worldwide.

The Year of Science is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) together with Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD).

Wissenschaftsjahr Freiheit gefördert vom BMBF