Call for Papers Speak Up! International and Interdisciplinary Conference

October 24, 2021 – October 27,  2021

Kloster Heidberg, Eupen, Belgium

Fake news and hate speech have become a focus of public discourse, especially in recent years. Many individuals take fake news at its face value. Moreover, an increasing number of individuals are confronted with all sorts of hate speech in their everyday lives, ranging from offensive comments to violent crimes. This is also the case in the German-speaking Community of Belgium. That is why in late summer 2020, various organizations within the German-speaking civil society joined forces in the Speak up! alliance to address these issues.

Despite having operated on a local level so far, the Speak up! alliance now wants to broaden its scope by cooperating with academics and practitioners from abroad. Therefore, the Institute for Civic Education of the Autonomous University Eupen, who is currently coordinating the Speak up! alliance, organizes a conference. We are delighted that our conference happens under the auspices of our Minister-President Oliver Paasch.

Our interdisciplinary conference will be open to all academics and practitioners who deal in their academic research or voluntary activities with fake news or hate speech and its causes, manifestations, and consequences in the past, present, and future. In a safe space, we aim to create new networking opportunities, gain insights into current research and best practices and, last but not least, to reflect on what and how we can contribute to live in a more open, tolerant, and democratic society.

For this purpose, we organize panels where grad students and scholars from various disciplines present their research on fake news and hate speech. We plan to publish selected conference papers. On the other hand, we assign a part of the conference to hands-on workshops, aiming to learn more about how to deal with fake news or hate speech in (professional) everyday life. We encourage in particular – but not exclusively – K-12 teachers, employees at colleges and universities, social workers, lawyers, artists, police officers, journalists, psychologists, representatives of NGOs, as well as individuals affected by fake news or hate speech to share their experience and/or best practices to face fake news and/or hate speech.

We also encourage graduate students to apply as conference reporters, who summarize the panel sessions and workshops.

If the pandemic situation allows, our conference will take place at the Kloster Heidberg conference center in Eupen (Belgium), otherwise we switch to a videoconference platform. The conference organizers provide a single room with breakfast for all participants free of charge. In addition, we cover lunch and dinner. We also try to provide travel grants, especially for grad students.

We welcome both abstracts for academic presentations and proposals for hands-on workshops. Our main conference languages are German and English. For the hands-on workshops, we also accept contributions in French and Dutch. We strive to allow each participant to attend a workshop in his or her preferred language.

We invite interested scientists and practitioners to send their abstracts together with a CV including information on language skills and – if they request a travel grant a short motivation letter – by September 10, 2021 via email to Sabrina Kirschner, We will inform all applicants by September 17, 2021 whether their contribution has been accepted.

For more information on the conference, please contact Sabrina Kirschner.