12 - 15 October

Sphera Media Lab

Free upon registration
Bozar / Palais des Beaux-Arts
Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels
Thursday 12 October
10:00 - 20:00


Attentive to the evolution of the European independent media scene since its beginnings, the festival's reflective programme is devoting two days to this issue this year, taking place in the very heart of the Bozar spaces. European Lab aims to highlight the importance of solidarity between independent media and independent cultural structures facing the same challenges, ranging from the appetite of large private groups to the excessive power of GAFAM and increased political interference.

This new edition shows the importance of these independent media ecosystems in shaping the democratic and social debate of our time, from tackling issues of inclusion to promoting pan-European collaboration and opposing web giants. It affirms the need to shift our perspective. It's an invitation to look at new business models being invented by these emerging press companies; an opportunity to explore the stories told by Eastern European media outlets; and an encouragement to make room for a new generation of journalists driven by the same desire: to collectively shape the future of a fairer, more balanced European public sphere - in complete independence.

This event is co-programmed with with Bozar and Sphera Network



Indie Media Speedmeeting

10:30 - 12:30
Rotonde Bertouille, Bozar

Spend a morning at Bozar discovering the stakeholders in the independent media sector! Financing, editorial collaborations, project discoveries: a moment of inspiration and connections with fascinating personalities.

With: Francesca Festa (Ereb et Sphera I IT), Marija Katalinic (European Cultural Foundation I HR), Sarah Leveaux (Engrainage I FR), Mathieu Molard (StreetPress I FR) & Karl van den Broeck (Apache I BE)

Workshop: Inclusive Narratives: Embracing Gender Perspectives in Independent Journalism

10:30 - 12:30
Mezzanine Lab, Bozar

The gender perspective has been spreading in the media in recent years. On the one hand, big media have created specialized figures with decision-making capacity in the newsrooms. The New York Times created a gender editor in 2017; El País launched in 2018 a position for a gender correspondent; in Latin America, Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo and Argentine publications Infobae and Clarín created new editorial positions dedicated to diversity and gender in 2019. At the same time, many female journalists have been joining newsrooms with a feminist perspective that was already incorporated in many independent media. But what is feminist journalism? Is it necessarily activist journalism? Is feminist journalism objective? What topics does feminism journalism deal with? What is your role in reporting violence against women?

This workshop will explore these questions from the experience and the context of the facilitator’s countries. The workshop contemplates a practical analysis of news headlines to detect their gender biases and rethink the approach from a feminist perspective.

Powered by El Salto & Popaganda

With: Patricia Reguero (El Salto I ES) & Anastasia Vaitsopoulou (Popaganda I GR)

Workshop: Monetising Podcasts? Trends, Best Practices and Scenarios

10:30 - 12:30
Mezzanine Horta, Bozar

The workshops would be organised in two parts. The first part would comprise an introduction by Bulle Media and two short presentations by PRISA Audio and AFP about the trends and scenarios in the field of monetisation of podcasting. The second part, would be based upon exchanges with the participants trying to sketch case by case solutions for their projects, etc. Participants to the workshop would be invited to join the exclusive Europod Network Group on Linkedin.

Powered by Bulle Media

With: Alexander Damiano Ricci (Bulle Media I IT), Yacine Le Forestier (AFP I FR) & Ana Ribera Garcia-Rubio (PRISA Audio I ES)

Workshop: Addressing the European New Generation: the Role of Independent Media

10:30 - 12:30
Salon de réception, Bozar

During this workshop, you will discover how today's youth seek information and where they turn for news. You will also explore alongside young journalists and media makers innovative ways to differentiate from mainstream media, captivating the new generations with unique storytelling and unconventional formats. Learn the importance of selecting the right channels, adapting content formats, and finding an accessible approach to captivate young audiences. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with the next generation and make an impact in the world of independent media.

Powered by ereb

With: Alexandra Tyan (Ereb & Sphera Network I KR) & Aulonë Kadriu (Kosovo 2.0 I XK)

Talk: The Independent Media Tackling Climate Crisis

14:00 - 14:50
Rotonde Bertouille, Bozar

Through different European independent media, the speakers will talk about the position of environmental and ecological journalism in the current context of a global mediatization of climate and environmental-based issues. Very much connected to activism, independent green media advocate for a politicizing approach to ecological discourse.

Powered by VD NEWS

With: Sarah Freres (Imagine magazine I BE), Sarah Leveaux (Engrainage I FR) & Giacomo Corongiu (VD News I IT)

Talk: From Raising Alternative Viewpoints to Providing Quality Information: How Podcasting is Transforming the European Media Landscape

15:00 - 15:50
Rotonde Bertouille, Bozar

This panel debate will discuss if and how podcasts are mainstreaming alternative and independent viewpoints, on the one hand, and raising the quality of information within the European media landscape. The panel session will discuss specific case-studies (podcasts) and provide viewpoints from different types of professionals, embedded to different degrees into media organisations.

Powered by Bulle Media

With: Alexander Damiano Ricci (Bulle Media, IT), Evi Kiorri (podcaster, host of Beyond the Byline - Euractiv I NL), Ana Ribera Garcia-Rubio (Editor in chief at PRISA Audio I ES) & Jenny Tsiropoulou (freelance journalist and independent podcaster I GR)

Talk: Europe, an Investigative Playground

16:00 - 16:50
Rotonde Bertouille, Bozar

Media often take a local or national approach to the news. Yet many subjects need to be investigated on a transnational basis, particularly at a European scale. How can we document economic and financial, political, migration or environmental issues by stopping at borders? New transnational structures have been set up to conduct these investigations at a European scale. They are organising collaborations between journalists and media based in different countries and developing new digital tools for investigation. It is within these structures that the quality journalism of tomorrow is being invented.

Powered by StreetPress

With: Mathieu Molard (StreetPress I FR) & Tomas Statius (Nothing2Hide I FR)

Talk: The State of Independent Media in Europe

17:00 - 18:00
Rotonde Bertouille, Bozar

Between the growing concentration of capital in the media sector and the increasingly obvious political interference of certain States, the European media landscape is going through a series of crises. It is in this context that many independent media are evolving, continuing to operate despite these threats. Sphera network, which brings together a number of them, is giving them the opportunity to speak at this Sphera Media Lab as a way of shedding light on these situations and looking at ways of resisting them.

Powered by 444Krytyka Polityczna

With: Pál Dániel Rényi (444 I HU) & Karl Van den Broeck (Apache I BE)

Talk: Strengthening Media Independence in Europe: a Roadmap to the European elections

18:30 - 20:00
Studio, Bozar

In the last 5 years, something changed in the corridors of the European institutions. Sure we can mention the war against Ukraine, the climate emergency, the Covid-19 pandemic etc. But another issue became more and more European: journalism. From the democratic backsliding, online harassment, market concentration, self-censorship, the algorithms of social media, it seems that now the media ecosystem is being seen more and more as a European matter. But so far, it seems, mainly large actors are able to cross borders and to be represented. Therefore, how independent media should watch the European elections. How can EU institutions strengthen media pluralism and media independence?

Powered by ereb

With: Quentin Ariès (Sphera Network & Ereb I FR), Francesca Festa (Sphera Network & Ereb I IT), Julie Majerczak (Reporters Without Borders I BE) & Ramona Strugariu (Member of the Parliament I RO)