Asute arhiveeritud lehel. Mine värske Arvamusfestivali lehele.

This year’s Opinion Festival will ask whether there could be dancing at church

The 162 discussions taking place at this summer’s Opinion Festival range in topic from the digital revolution (or the inability to keep up with it) to radicalization. As befits a year dedicated to celebrating children’s and youth culture in Estonia, a selection of discussions at the Festival will also be organized by children. The full programme is available on our website from today onwards.

Ott Karulin, head organizer of the Opinion Festival, explains that the range of discussions reflects the current prevailing mood in society and tackles some of the year’s most important societal changes. For instance, the consequences of the administrative reform and any opportunities it brings for further cooperation will be up for discussion at the Periphery Area, while the European Area will examine the future of the European Union and NATO and Estonia’s options as a member of both. Following feedback from previous years, there will be fewer discussions and themed areas at this year’s event. In total, there will be 25 different themed areas where, over two days, the more than 500 invited participants will be given a platform to speak.

Opinion Festival 2016. Photo author: Anna Markova

According to Karulin, participants will be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding topics to pique their interest — discussions will touch upon a broad range of subjects, from health to stereotypes to social innovation. “In addition to topical issues, there will be no shortage of timeless, ethical questions to explore. This year will also raise some slightly more provocative questions – for example, why could there not be dancing at church when singing and music are seen as artistic expression and therefore permitted? Or whether elderly women should be applauded for reaching an old age or be scorned instead,” notes Karulin. He adds that the programme also includes topics that still tend to be seen as taboo in society — one such discussions is “12 years old and consuming porn — whose concern and responsibility?”.

For the first time in its history, the Festival will have a children’s area where students from Years 5 to 7 will together organize eight discussions. The discussions they have in store will focus not just on issues like children’s happiness (at school) or ways to spend spare time more actively but also questions like environmental protection or addiction to the virtual world. To help find solutions, they plan to invite external participants such as scientists and young athletes to speak, but participants in the discussions will, of course, also include young people themselves.

Explore the programme here:

The Opinion Festival programme has been created as a result of a public call for ideas and is a place where people can exchange thoughts about the social order, gain fresh ideas and acquire new knowledge. Taking place for the fifth year running, this year’s Festival will be from 11 to 12 August in Paide. The Hiiumaa [pre-]opinion festival will take place on 10 June in Suursadama and the Southeastern Estonia festival on 14 July at the Estonian Road Museum.

The Opinion Festival is supported by Paide Town Government, the Union of Järvamaa Regional Governments, Swedbank, the Representation of the European Commission in Estonia, the National Foundation of Civil Society, the Information Office of the European Parliament, the Estonian Cooperation Assembly, SpeakSmart and many others. One of the themed areas at the Festival is sponsored by the Archimedes Foundation and the Center for Applied Anthropology of Estonia.

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