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Accepted Paper:

Making better futures through community tech: innovation, co-creation and capacity building  
Rebecca Coleman (University of Bristol, UK) Martha King (Knowle West Media Centre) Julia Costa Carneiro (KWMC)

Short abstract:

We explore innovation practices, focusing on the role of a wide array of community tech in co-creation methods. Our case studies are projects led by KWMC where local issues are creatively engaged with and alternative futures of living in and with local spaces, species and atmospheres are imagined.

Long abstract:

Co-creation methods that include different publics are often seen to make innovation more democratic. They are also increasingly deployed in justice-led approaches to imagining and making different futures. In this paper, we locate innovation practices in local communities and as happening through a wide variety of community technologies, broadly defined as ‘hardware or software that delivers benefit to a community group, and which that community group has the authority to influence or control’ (Promising Trouble 2022). Our case study is Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), an arts centre and charity located in a post-war council estate, south Bristol, that works collaboratively with people from different backgrounds to develop new and creative models for achieving positive social change in their lives and communities. We discuss a few examples of recent projects and programmes in which community tech has been central to the ways in which local issues are creatively engaged with and through which alternative ways of living in and with local spaces, species and atmospheres are imagined. We examine the wide array of community tech that are involved in these co-creation methods, from sensors to written diaries to digital photographs to WhatsApp groups. While such a range of community tech may be dizzying, it also generates a capacious understanding of what innovation may be and how it may be developed and shaped by different people. We argue this is important if we want to intervene in highly normative trajectories and instead value and make plural and better futures.

Traditional Open Panel P056
Futures work
  Session 2 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -