Europe's largest internet and digital society conference in the U.S.: Volkswagen supports re:publica in Detroit

Sep 28, 2019

  • As part of Sequencer Tour USA, re:publica Detroit celebrates its premiere in the North American city on September 27 and 28, 2019
  • Sequencer Tour is part of “Wunderbar Together,” the Year of German-American friendship initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut and the Federation of German Industries (BDI)
  • Volkswagen supports social responsibility on both sides of the Atlantic

Wolfsburg/Detroit – From discussions to workshops to cultural events, re:publica Detroit, with the support of Volkswagen, offers many opportunities to explore the facets of digital society. The Sequencer Tour brings re:publica into five U.S. cities, representing a milestone project of “Wunderbar Together” – “Deutschlandjahr USA,” an initiative celebrating the Year of German-American friendship.

“The topic of the first re:publica in Detroit is ‘Access,’ and we are excited to understand how this becomes part of debates,” explains Andreas Gebhard, co-founder and Managing Director of re:publica. “Who benefits from access to economic opportunities, creative expressions, and urban mobility? These are the questions for which we seek answers together with the participants and our collaboration with Volkswagen,” Gebhard underlines. “We will address various outlooks for the city of Detroit and potential social changes. And finally, our program shall also foster the partnership between Detroit and Berlin.”

This weekend is all about “access” in different areas of digital society: business, innovation, arts, culture, mobility, and city. Professionals, bloggers, activists, and artists are coming together to discuss and share their ideas on the development and future of our digital world. The two program days of re:publica Detroit are split into three main tracks: “Arts & Culture,” “Work & New Economy” and “Mobility & Urban Space.” Ranging from keynote speeches and discussions to workshops and performances, all sessions take place in Detroit’s Tangent Gallery and attendance is free of charge. Volkswagen has not only helped organize the entire project, but will also participate in the dialogue.

Taking place on September 27, 2019, within the “Arts & Culture” track, the workshop “Printed sounds – the technology behind 3D-printed instruments” unveiled new possibilities of sound creation. “Thanks to a cooperation with Volkswagen, we had been able to discuss pioneering ideas for the design and production of instruments at the Karajan Music Tech Conference in Salzburg,” says Matthias Röder, Director of the Elliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute. “I am delighted that we are now given the chance to invite the American audience to a continuation of this journey by further deepening the understanding of cultural, social and industrial impacts of 3D-printing technologies.” Matthias Röder led the workshop and was joined by panelists Ricardo Simian, 3D printing visionary, and Thomas Laduch, research and development expert at Volkswagen Group of America.

On September 28, 2019, the “Mobility & Urban Space” track includes the discussion “Accessing all abilities – new mobility options for equity and access” hosted by Jessica Robinson, Director of the Michigan Mobility Institute. “New technologies open doors to new ways of mobility – with fundamental effects on our lives. We will benefit from new forms of social involvement, but we will have to meet new know-how levels when it comes to development and implementation,” says Robinson. “This discussion combines these exciting perspectives and tries to describe the road that leads to successful change.” Among the participants is Falk Bothe, Director Digital Transformation Office at Volkswagen AG.

re:publica Detroit is part of the larger initiative, the “Deutschlandjahr USA,” the Year of German-American Friendship, expanding the economic, political, scientific, educational and cultural links between both countries. Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, organized by the Goethe-Institut and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the year is themed “Wunderbar Together” and comprises more than 1,000 events across all 50 U.S. states.

The partnership with re:publica Detroit is an integral element of Volkswagen’s international involvement. Supporting the regions around production facilities and beyond, Volkswagen is committed to empowering creative and innovative social progress.


About Volkswagen

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America and a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, with headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. Volkswagen’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Arteon, Atlas, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat, and Tiguan vehicles through more than 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen online at or to learn more.


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