Accepted paper:

Digital knowledge hubs? - Navigating the complex terrains of digital technologies in community development


Verena Thomas (Queensland University of Technology)
Jackie Kauli (Queensland University of Technology)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the concept of knowledge hubs as shared space between development agencies and community partner. We argue for the integration of creative collaborative strategies in the offline space to build the foundation for meaningful engagement with digital technologies.

Paper long abstract:

It is widely acknowledged that the agenda of integrating digital technologies in development projects beyond technological innovation has been challenging. In many cases digital technologies have perpetuated dominant top-down approaches in development, not fully taking into account the local complexities. Some progress has been made, such as developing guidelines for integrating digital technologies within development and community projects (Waugaman 2016). However, there remains a gap in terms of translating and integrating meaningful interactions that allow users to challenge issues around power and agency. In this paper, we discuss the concept of knowledge hubs based on our collective work in Papua New Guinea. Increasingly, knowledge hubs are regarded as shared spaces where research and project results can be shared both by community partners and implementers. From the perspective of donor agencies, it provides a public face while collating information for communities. Reporting from co-design processes working with educators and human rights defenders in PNG, we investigate the intersection of digital and human technologies, relational engagements and obligations from the perspective of our community partners, issues around representation and sharing of knowledge. We highlight processes that we have developed through engagement of creative practice such as process drama and storytelling to build the foundation in the offline space to strengthen networks and relationships to engage in a digital space. We argue that this hybrid space is necessary to overcome some of the inequalities maintained and perpetuated through the use of digital technologies.

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Digital inequalities and development (Paper)