Brave Conversations Boston 2019

Brave Conversations Boston 2019 took place on Sunday June 30, 2019 at Northeastern University, Boston.

The Web is changing the World, and the World is changing the Web:
How is life evolving in the Social Machine?

Brave Conversations Boston 2019 was held as an integral part of the 2019 11th International ACM Web Science Conference. We partnered with the Conference organising committee and the Web Science Trust to bring together Brave Conversations and the formal Web Science conference for the first time. This meant that we had a small, but extremely well informed, group of Web Science academics who helped us develop, explore and further push the boundaries of Brave Conversations as a conversational format and public demonstration of Web Science.

Brave Conversations Boston was held in the context of continuing US Government shut-downs, the ‘once in a generation’ “Polar Vortex” which shut down many north eastern states leaving homes without power for days. The Democratic Party nominations race was up and running, the on-going email scandal surrounding the 2016 election dominated the news media, and President Trump issued his first Veto striking down a Senate resolution to end his national emergency declaration to build a border wall.

Supported By


In 2008 a group of people from industry, government, academia, and the community sectors came together to create the first Brave Conversations (then called the Meta conference) to create a forum for people to discuss and debate the emerging issues related to humans and their use of digital technologies.

At about the same time a group of luminaries from the Web world were creating Web Science in order to focus interdisciplinary research on precisely the same thing.

Since that time the world has changed and conferences such as WebSci19 enable us to sit back and as ourselves

• How often do we find the time to step back, to engage in robust and challenging dialogue and debate with others from diverse backgrounds about what sort of future we want to create?

• How often do we feel that our opinions are respected, that we have the space to imagine real possibilities, and that we can take some proactive control of the world that is emerging?


The goal of Brave Conversations is to challenge everyone who participates - regardless of what background they come from, or what their skillset and expertise are - to more fully explore and understand the interplay between humans, the societies we live in, and the technologies we have created.

By bringing together academic researchers, practitioners from government, business and the third sector, we want to explore how each and every one of us is a part of the Social Machine and the interconnecting systems which comprise it.

How it works

The best way to learn is through experience and the act of playing with ideas.

We have deliberately chosen to integrate Brave Conversations in to the 2019 Web Science Conference at Boston in order to enable teams of diverse participants to critically examine our current societies through the lens of systems, communications, governance and technology.

Brave Conversations will complement the formal programme of and present the diversity and potential of Web Science to addressing the challenges and opportunities which face contemporary society.<

"We ... need to be prepared for the internet that we know to evolve unpredictably, and work to ensure that it remains beneficial for humankind."

- Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Dr Kieron O’Hara, "Four Internets: The Geopolitics of Digital Governance"

Lead Facilitator

Lead Facilitator

Lead Facilitator

Event Information

Sunday June 30 2019
9am - 4pm

Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115
Building: Richards - 42
Room: 231 Map

This event is part of the 11th International ACM Conference on Web Science 2019.
Screenshot 2019-04-24 09.07.38 copy

Organising Committee

Bel Campbell, Intersticia and Smart Humans

Brooke Foucault Welles, Northeastern University

Leanne Fry, Smart Humans

Anni Rowland-Campbell, Intersticia