Media BarCamp Max Valentine Media Barcamp

Bringing together journalists, activists, civil society representatives and artists, Media BarCamp was held in Izmir, Seferihisar, between September 30 and October 2. Having been planned as a training series to enhance the skills of story-telling and of using new media tools, more than 60 participants took part in the MediaBarCamp. Besides Turkey, there were also participants coming from Sweden, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, Moldova and Armenia. The event was carried out with the support of the Creative Force, and through the collaboration of, a Swedish-based company, Fabel and Media Research Association (MEDAR) from Turkey. The main theme of the event was determined as the “political change in the Black Sea region in the post-pandemic era” around which many workshops, presentations and discussions were done on many diverse topics including participatory democracy, elections, journalism, digitalization and security.

Media BarCamp Electionville Max Valentine


“Electionville”, conducted by Max Valentin and Gustav Edman from Fabel, is a game designed as a simulation of local democracy. In this game, each group represents a political party having same number of seats in the local parliament. After being divided into different groups, each party prepared its own political program depending on their own priorities and then negotiated with and cooperated with each other to implement their own programs as much as possible.

Assistant Professor Şirin Duygulu Elçim made a presentation on “staying “civil” in the age of securitization”. Elçim pointed out how the NGOs have shaped their own discourse and activities on the basis of the prevailing discourse of securitization. Following her introduction, the participants had a very fruitful discussion where it was noted that appropriating the securitization discourse has narrowed the NGOs’ field of discourse and made them contradict their own existence.

Media BarCamp-2


Roman Udot, Russian election observation expert, shared his knowledge on artificial intelligence and election-monitoring, and gave information about his own election monitoring experiences held in Russia and Lithuania. Summarising the methods that they have used in Russia and various other Caucasian countries by now, along with their results, Udot demonstrated by which mechanisms irregularities mainly happened in these countries. Afterwards, in the light of his own experience and making use of a comprehensive dataset, Udot presented a number of examples on how these mechanisms can be recorded and prevented. Then, as the representative of the Independent Election Monitoring Platform, Nejat Taştan shared his experience obtained in monitoring various elections.

Ayşenur Kılıç Aslan from Ankara Social Sciences University also talked about the major tendencies and characteristics of various election-monitoring institutions operating in Turkey. In the presentation, titled “"Election Monitoring and Election Geography”, explaining the major findings of her article written on this subject, Aslan stated that “despite the claims that these organizations have a supra-political character, they still largely share similar ideas and values”.

Nejat Taştan Media BarCamp


The following presentations also brought richness to the MediaBarCamp’s program: Yörük Kurtaran (Turkey Mozaik Foundation, Association of Civil Society Development Center) “Financing Independent Media Organizations”, Associate Professor Erkan Saka (Bilgi University) “What is new in the digital landscape?”, Ozan Acar (Turkish Journalists Association) “Impressions of the alternative media sector in Turkey through the lens of a media CSO”, Handan Uslu (Observatory) “Investigating the Internet Ecosystem”, Ümit Kartal (İz Gazete) “Alternative Local Media, Possibilities & Opportunities”, Utku Kılınç (BAMAD, Press Freedom and Media Studies Association) “A free press is possible”. Also, the presentations of Yeşer Sarıyıldız, titled “How will Web3 transform media?”, and Ender Diril, titled “NFT: Design or Fine Art?” drew much attention from the participants. On the same subject, also, Ukranian NFT artist, Vira Degtiarova made a presentation. Moreover, researcher and documentary director, Zeynep Merve Uygun and Mustafa Aslan from Kuest Media made presentations in two distinct sessions on storifying and visualizing data. On the last day of the event, Mert Ali Yaman shared his own experience in the establishment of the Boğaziçi TV, while Atom Şaşkal from Hrant Dink Foundation, explained the main traits of the KARDES project and Khrystyna Kvartsiana from ALDA, introduced multiple financing opportunities available for the NGOs.

Max Valentin Media BarCamp


Max Valentin, the CEO of FABEL company, describing the MediaBarCamp as a “unconference”, stated that the most important element is to create connections, meet like-minded people and have the chance to generate new ideas with them. “I really think we have achieved that here, with this open-ended, creative and at least very inclusive format for me”, said Valentin, reminding that the content of the event was largely left to the participants’ initiative: “We have prepared some presentations before, but during the event new things came up, we added and changed the topics depending on what was important and how the dialogue developed”.

As a member of the organizing committee, Valentin expressed that they hope to organize MediaBarCamp next year and beyond, and that they want to make this event an annual meeting point for the people who need to come together with others to strengthen their thoughts and projects. Noting that more than one hundred people will be at the MediaBarCamp next year, Valentin highlighted, “but the basic concept will be the same, it’s the participants themselves set the agenda”.

Gökhan Biçici Media BarCamp


Also emphasizing the unconference format, Gökhan Biçici, the Secretary General of MEDAR, reminded that it allows to make “more flexible, more horizontal connections between different people, groups and institutions”. Biçici stated that the TEOS Ormancı Holiday Village, where the event was held, was also a very suitable place for this format and said as follows: “Although this was the first MediaBarCamp in Turkey, it was completed successfully and in accordance with our plans. The feedback we received from the participants shows that they were very happy to be here. And I can even say already now that the second MediaBarCamp will be done next year and in September again. However, building on the experiences gained from the first one, the second MediaBarCamp will be a bigger and even more effectively organised event”.


The MediaBarCamp held in Seferihisar became the first barcamp in Turkey. As a term that first emerged in the field of computer technology and software, barcamp is known as “an alternative conference format that, unlike the traditional conference formats where the content and flow are predetermined by a certain committee, allows the participants to produce and share knowledge freely without being constrained by rigid rules”. Taking its inspiration from the MediaBarCamp which has been held in Lithuania for more than 20 years, the MediaBarCamp, Seferihisar is designed as a space where participants from many different backgrounds and countries can come together to work on various projects and activities, while also exchanging their own experiences. If you want to have further information about the project, you can visit the following website:


Yörük Kurtaran Mozaik Foundation Media BarCamp

Yörük Kurtaran (Turkey Mozaik Foundation, Association of Civil Society Development Center): “The issue of trust is important in our country. Our relationship starts with who you are rather than what you do. That's why I find it important that people meet in such an area here. Apart from that, there is a job that everyone does after meeting, I guess he/she is doing it well. In that context, I think it is valuable that people who do their job well listen to each other and exchange ideas from a different perspective.”

Gustav Edman (FABEL, Project Manager): I like the setting, people, and everything else… I think it is a great experience, I really love the international perspective you get on the things you know. Because even though I am a specialist in so many ways, when I meet with people from different backgrounds, I get a totally different view. Under these conditions, my mind is constantly coming up with new ideas. I often think that the best timeframe I had here is right after any workshop, because people have ideas, and the following talk is always the most interesting. Because then actually you take down everything you heard, and you create something… a new idea or a new collaboration and so on. So, the best timeframe I think, when you are between everything because we are processing the ideas.

Yörük Kurtaran Media BarCamp-1

Khrystyna Kvartsiana (ALDA, Project Development Officer): I think, the thing I liked the most in the BarCamp is the location and the young people that are present here. So, it feels really fruitful and privileged to have a chance to interact with them and brainstorm like how we can make our countries better. So, I am really happy to meet all Turkish, Ukrainian and other international participants here.

ozan acar gazeteciler cemiyeti

Ozan Acar (Turkish Journalists Association): With respect to my own field of work, I found the event very nourishing. I met a lot of different people. There was a pluralistic atmosphere here. I found it pluralistic in every sense. Okay, here we are all representing a non-governmental organization, but we all come from different beliefs and backgrounds. This pluralistic environment enabled me to see different perspectives and understand them better. In this respect, it has been nourishing for me both personally and professionally.

Erkan Saka Media BarCamp

Assoc. Prof. Erkan Saka (Bilgi University): It was a unique event in terms of media studies. Independent media platforms have had a lot of events for a long time, but these are mostly in the form of panels or workshops. Here, it went slightly beyond that. Because there is more exchange of ideas and equality here. It is an event where many initiatives in this field make presentations to each other. It differs from more traditional events in this respect. It was very efficient and nice.

mustafa aslan kuest medya media barCAMP

Mustafa Aslan (Kuest Media): It was a very enjoyable experience. There are people from different places, from different disciplines. While working, one may feel lonely, and hence isolate oneself from his/her work. Places like this give me great pleasure as they remind me of what we do and why. This place reminded me that the traditional is not only boring but also lost its function. What we are working on right now, what we call 'new media', does not just exist because it is more fun. It emerged because the previous one had become useless. There was a need for a change in its center, in its essence. We work for it and this place reminded me of it.

umit kartal media BarCamp

Ümit Kartal (Chief Editor of İz Gazete): I think such activities are very beneficial. Because local, national media and alternative media engage in a simultaneous quest. Endless problems, various troubles and transformations in the world naturally compel a regular quest for all of us. We are facing a lot of pressure and transformation, very fast and from many sides. There are representatives from other parts of the country and from many parts of the world here. It is valuable for us to share experiences with them and to benefit from their experiences.

Christian Rolf Feiland (Head of the Foreign Media Association): I really enjoyed networking with people from different countries, from different sectors, different parts of media. I have been in Turkey for 25 years, so I had extreme experiences in the positive and negative areas. I am really happy that international media supporting about Turkey. So, people are very welcoming, and sometimes depending on the topic, you can also get very harsh reactions. So, never gets boring in Turkey.

derya ozkaynak media barcamp

Derya Özkaynak (Daktilo 1984): This was a project that I knew when it was still in the design phase. It's very exciting for me. Because, especially during the COVID-19 period, both young people and experienced people, well-known in the industry, used to suffer from the problem of transferring experience. It is a project made in the "unconference" format, hence it is a networking event where we do not spend the whole day listening to a boring conference and get bored. Rather, it is a project that allows us to meet new people and cooperate internationally and nationally. I think it is a very good event not only for journalists, but also for civil society activists.

Ender Diril Media BarCamp

Ender Diril (NFT artist, creative director): It was incredible to meet with people coming from different areas, having different types of knowledge and experience. Because I had the chance to reach people having very diverse information that I can combine in my own profession. Especially the psychological effects of social media, the dynamics working there, or the psychological and mental damage that online games cause to people… Then I witnessed many presentations that started from this scenario and went to many different destinations. Frankly, it was quite entertaining and informative for me.

Varduhi Balyan (Journalist, Agos): I can say that my main goal in coming to Media Barcamp was networking. When it is said networking that might be perceived very negatively. But I actually wanted to meet new people and see what they were doing. In this sense, my expectation was met. I work in the field of human rights and mainly work for a print newspaper. Therefore, here I met many people from different disciplines who work on video and visual expression. The participants were not only from Turkey. That was good too. That part was also satisfying.”

Yeşer Sarıyıldız Media BarCamp

Yeşer Sarıyıldız (communicator, author, curator): The event was very good for me. It was very nice for me to listen to the issues we have always discussed among ourselves from the perspectives of different people and to meet them and to get out of my own shell. At the same time, I saw that questions were asked that I had never thought of. I witnessed it and that stimulated my mind. That's why I'm very happy to participate.

Daria Meshcheriakova (Journalist, Ukraine-Kosovo): The location is very good, because in Kosova It’s already autumn and also It’s very cold, and I didn’t expect that it was so warm here. But it is like a journey from this cold European autumn to summer again. And I like the participants here, because they are knowledgeable, and they come from everywhere in Europe I believe and it is very interesting to have a conversation.

Bekir Güneş Can Haldenbilen Media BarCamp

İrem İlayda Zoodsma (Anthropologist): I am writing a political article for my university in Netherlands. I consider to work in the area of human rights. I think the participants is the strongest part of this event, they are all very intelligent people, they are all do cool stuff. They made it really nice, the workshops were really interesting.

(dokuz8NEWS team: Gökhan Biçici, Mustafa Kara, Nurcan Seven, Can Haldenbilen, Mert Ali Yaman, Simge Çakır)