Inspiration Forum

Inspiration Forum 2021 – on mental health, inequalities, the digital future and the more-than-human world

At the 2021 Inspiration Forum, we explored trauma and illness of the mind and soul, how to overcome persistent gender, ethnic, class and other social inequalities, the possible shapes of a future formed by digital technologies, our place in a more-than-human world, and the issues that newly elected MPs and MEPs should now be addressing.

On Tuesday, October 26, we opened the Forum programme with a panel debate Jihlava: European Capital of Culture? with Martin Baxa, Mayor of Pilsen, Roman Černík, initiator of the Pilsen 2015 project, Karolína Koubová, Mayor of Jihlava, Veronika Moravčíková, curator, Vítězslav Schrek, Governor of the Vysočina Region, Petr Šimon, coordinator of the teams of cities that have been nominated for the European Capital of Culture in the past years, and Magdalena Müllerová from the Creative Europe Office. In the following debate, Celebration of Wildness, biologist Jiří Sádlo, parish priest of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church Sandra Silná and publicist Petr Vizina spoke about whether religious faith has anything to say about our relationship with nature.

On Wednesday, October 27, we talked about trauma, diseases of the mind, and most importantly, ways to deal with psychological pain – as individuals and as a society that desperately needs to build infrastructures of care and support. Film critic Marta Bałaga, independent film producer and psychotherapist Rebbeca Day, founder of the global business and production network Taskovski Films Irena Taskovski and film director and educator Martin Mareček discussed what it’s like to experience Melt-down on the Set and how mental health is taken into account in the film industry. The poet M'Badjala Diaby revealed her inner world influenced by borderline personality disorder in the following programme On the Edge. Then, in a documentary dialogue Choosing the Hard Way, documentary filmmakers Ivana Pauerova Milosevic and Filip Remunda spoke with Sahraa Karimi, a film director and the first woman in Afghanistan with a PhD in filmmaking, about what it’s like to choose the harder path and fight for freedom instead of fleeing places of injustice. The Origin of Trauma was then discussed by neurologist and psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, chairwoman of the Government Committee on the Rights of the Child Klára Laurenčíková, columnist Petr Třešňák, and Jiří Kylar, who focuses on the topic of child abuse in the Catholic Church. The day dedicated to mental health was rounded off with a workshop on relaxation techniques Relax, Please with psychiatrist Mira Babiaková and moderator Petr Bouška.

On Thursday, October 28, we dedicated the Forum to the problem of persistent social inequalities. The Inner World of photographer Libuše Jarcovjáková presented personalities, places and moments that are defiant, unclassifiable, and non-conforming – as captured by her Radical Lenses over the years. Singer Alžběta Ferencová, filmmaker Vera Lacková, musician Vojta Lavička and journalist Alica Heráková spoke about the unequal status and stereotyping of Romani men and women in culture and other areas in the panel debate Equality in Art. The problem of the economic and social deprivation of a part of Czech society was discussed by social anthropologist Lucie Trlifajová and journalists Saša Uhlová and Helena Truchlá in the programme Czech Poverty. In the following session, Trouble with Gender, Care and Violence, philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler and philosopher Tereza Matějčková discussed the unsustainability of invoking the chimera of personal freedom, in the name of which we often make our world and our lives unlivable. The new economic model promising social justice and respect for planetary boundaries was discussed in the programme Doughnut Economics in Practice by economist Carlota Sanz Ruiz, (then) mayor of Jihlava Karolína Koubová, environmentalist and pro-growth Tadeáš Žďárský and economist Jan Bittner. The final programme, Citizen – Enemy of the State, focused on the restriction of the rights of women and other groups in Poland; women's rights activist Marta Lempart and journalist and co-founder of the Ciocia Czesia collective Katarzyna Byrtek spoke about illiberal populism and the strong civic movement.

On Friday, October 29, we discussed how digital technologies are transforming society, how capitalism works in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how to deal effectively with the challenges posed by today's digital technologies. The day opened with the Technologies of Hopes and Fears programme, in which artist and analyst Marek Tuszynski presented 10 inspiring ways to think about technological solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic. How can we use our data in ways that benefit society as a whole? This was not the only topic discussed in the panel debate Fight for Digital Space by social anthropologist Marie Heřmanová, digital economy expert Timo Daum, economic anthropologist Martin Tremčinský and journalist Patrik Eichler. Digital economist Nick Srnicek and columnist Petr Bittner talked about the fourth industrial revolution, platform capitalism and whether we can have Gain without Pain. In the following debate, Taming of Wild Data, political scientist Jeanette Hofmann, cyberlaw expert Alžběta Krausová, Social Democrat politician Vladimír Špidla and political scientist Kateřina Smejkalová asked about the possibilities for the meaningful regulation of digital platforms. Advice on how to take care of your mental health in the world of ubiquitous digital technologies and social networks was given by psychologist and addictologist Kateřina Lukavská, digital hygiene lecturer Karolína Presová, researcher of the impact of digital technologies on children Michaela Slussareff and publicist Hana Řičicová in the programme Scrolling to Rock Bottom.

Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31 were dedicated to exploring our relationship with what we commonly call nature. We asked how to protect more-than-human communities, ecosystems and individuals from destruction while respecting them as inherently valuable parts of an inevitably shared world. Artist Barbara Benish spoke about interspecies relationships and the inspiration they bring with them in Community Garden. Evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano presented new insights into communication, memory, and even plant learning in her dialogue Unheard (of) Relations with philosopher Lukáš Likavčan. How to relate to the more-than-human? To Control, to Manage, to Love? This topic was discussed by biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber, filmmaker and ethnozoologist Hana Nováková, environmentalist and interdisciplinary researcher Tomáš Daněk, ecologist Jan Roleček and social and cultural ecologist Ľuboš Slovák. Cultural ecologist and philosopher David Abram and environmentalist and performance artist Nikola Benčová took us on an exploration of the earthly depths of sensory experience and the ecological dimensions of communication and language in a programme exploring the limits Between the Human Animal and the Animate Earth. The Forum also hosted a performance by Vendula Tomšů and Ian Mikyska, Five Books, which took the audience through the times of the universe, the planet and the present using books, sounds, poetry and their own breath. On Sunday, the festival audience could take part in a workshop and walk with David Abram and Andreas Weber, who presented several ways to reconfigure our minds and our nervous systems in relation to the More-than-human World.

Online Special / The election is over, what now?

From Monday, November 1 to Wednesday, November 3, we used online post-election debates to ask what issues newly elected representatives should urgently address and what decisions to make first to avoid becoming a periphery of a world that won’t wait for us.

What Next in Schools and the Education System? This topic was discussed on Monday by playwright, scriptwriter and education expert Tomáš Feřtek, Ivana Málková, primary school principal in Jihlava, and Petra Mazancová, chairwoman of the Teachers' Platform.

Advancement of Human Rights and Equality On Tuesday, Lucie Fuková, coordinator of the Regional Health Promotion Centre for the Pardubice Region and an activist for the integration of Romani, Vítězslav Schrek, governor of the Vysočina Region, and Pavla Špondrová, a lawyer and sociologist, answered these questions.

How to Approach Environmental Challenges? On Wednesday, Fridays for Future spokeswoman Klára Bělíčková, Greenpeace campaigner Jan Freidinger and Katarina Ruschková, head of the Environmental Department of the Jihlava City Council, debated this issue. All online debates of the Inspiration Forum were moderated by documentary filmmaker, writer and anthropologist Lukáš Senft.