Digital transformation. Cultural renovation.

A closing message from curator Fredo De Smet

“A question: what is Jaouad’s role?”, someone asked me after the last Media & Culture Fast Forward talk on Flemish culture. “Why?”, I asked, anticipating criticism. “It’s not criticism,” the person continued, “I just wondered. Is he a moderator or a participant in the debate?” Good question, I thought. The answer lies somewhere in between. 

Choosing moderators who colour a little outside the lines is something we often do at Media & Culture Fast Forward. Tom Van de Weghe, for example. A VRT NWS journalist who became an AI expert at Stanford and who led the session on data for us. This is something that pays off. Another good example is Karolien Debecker. The Radio 2 presenter talked to Peter Hinssen about innovation and disruption. And she sparkled. 

Besides the many speakers we selected, also our moderators are carefully curated. They are chosen because they belong to two different worlds. Like creators who explore, moderators often float between domains. Let Media & Culture Fast Forward be the place where these influential people meet. Changemakers, I dare call them, even though it is a buzzword. 

We were forced to organise a digital festival in 2020, which meant there was less interaction. Nevertheless, the set-up of the last edition was successful. Our mission was to seek an intersection between media and culture. Over 10,000 ticket registrations show us that visitors were happy with that intersection. Culture producers learned from media professionals and media producers listened to cultural creatives. Cross-pollination, that’s what it’s called. Yes, another loaded word, until you hear scientist Karine Van Doninck talk about it.


CTRL ACT DELETE, that was the ambitious tagline of Media & Culture Fast Forward. Are we ready for a system reboot, now that our festival is over? Of course not. There is too much value in this sector and too much know-how in this network. Let’s not throw it all away, but instead combine the digital transformation with a cultural renovation. Because if there is one thing the lockdown taught us, it is the meaning of value. In society, in our sectors and within organisations. 

Nevertheless. This corona era pushes us to rethink products, retell stories and redefine relevance. 

That is what we’re about to do. 

We’re closing this chapter. 

We’re putting this newsletter on hold. 

It’s time to look inwards. 

It’s time to reboot. 



See you soon. 

Fredo De Smet – and the Media & Culture Fast Forward team