[Air-l] Community Informatics - Prospects for Communities and Action, Nov 5 -7 2007

M.B.Gaved M.B.Gaved at open.ac.uk
Sat Jan 27 01:28:52 PST 2007

Some members may be interested in this conference.

Mark Gaved


4rd Prato International Community Informatics Conference. CIRN 2007 and the Inaugural International Development Informatics Association Conference  5-7 November 2007, Monash Centre, Prato Italy.

www.ccnr.net/prato2007- more information will become available via the conference website shortly.


We are seeking abstracts and proposals from academics, practitioners and PhD students for a conference and workshop event at the Monash University Centre, Prato Italy (near Florence). The Centre for Community Networking Research, Monash (www.ccnr.net), in conjunction with the Community Informatics Research Network (www.ciresearch.net), has held highly successful events in 2003, 2004, and 2006 in Prato. This conference is also being held in conjunction with the inaugural conference of the International Development Informatics Association (IDIA) (www.developmentinformatics.org)
The Prato campus is an exceptional environment in which to exchange ideas. We emphasise participatory processes in the conference.  The Centre is just off the main piazza of a small Tuscan town. It is close to Italian transport hubs.

The Internet has become a powerful community resource in many parts of the world. It is widely viewed as a device with capacity for incorporation into different forms of community action, including social change, community learning, community connection, community knowledge, and community well-being and community development. The concept of 'community' itself is itself interpreted in a multitude of ways, and the problem of definition of this (and other terms such as 'empowerment') was highlighted at the 2006 Prato conference. The 90 or so questions which were emphasised during the final plenary represent the eternal cycle of questions of community action and engagement. Whatever technology may be used to work with a community, the issues remain. At the forthcoming event, we will accept that the concepts of action and community are variable, and that the forms of action which have emerged over the past decade should be judged in terms of what they achieve for community and social good. Through learning about multiple forms of action and how action is understood, we should improve our grasp of the complexities of social-technical relations.

The Conference will feature a special stream led by the International Development Informatics Association of South Africa as part of its first conference, devoted to studying these, and related questions in relationship to development informatics.

The implementation of ICT in developing economies involves constraints not applicable in developed regions. Constraints cover a wide range from technologies and infrastructures (energy grids, networks) to human aspects such as poverty and illiteracy. The Conference aims to create a platform for exchanging experience and possible solutions to address such problems.
Please distribute this announcement to colleagues and I apologise for cross-postings.


1 April 2007: all 250 word abstracts due for consideration - the earlier the better.
1 May 2007 : acceptance/rejection of abstracts
1 July 2007 : papers due
1 September 2007 : final version of papers after refereeing for publication in the official conference proceedings.

Abstracts must be in the following format and submitted to prato2007ATfastmail.fm (change AT to @):

1)Name/s of Authors

2) Affiliation/contact details [university/organisation, email of first author]
3) Title of Abstract

4) Conference stream (specify one)
a) Community Informatics
b) Development Informatics
c) Both

5) 250 word abstract or summary in English.

Contact: prato2007 AT fastmail.fm (substitute @ for AT) Website: www.ccnr.net/prato2007 which will be updated.

There are a limited number of workshop or poster session slots available. If you believe that you can offer an engaging and relevant workshop, please submit a short proposal as soon as possible. If you have other innovative ideas for events at the conference, please don't hesitate to contact us!

** The early submission of abstracts for refereed papers are strongly encouraged as the number of presentation slots is limited. ***

Do not submit a paper at this time.

Papers (up to 5,000 words) in the peer-reviewed stream will be blind-reviewed by at least two referees and only accepted upon the recommendation of referees and the review committee. We will be approaching all those to submit accepted abstracts to act as anonymous peer reviewers.

Practitioners are strongly encouraged to submit papers or reports, but please indicate if you wish this to be in the reviewed or non-reviewed stream. A style guide will be made available. Abstracts must be written in English, though papers can be written in English, French, Spanish or Italian. DO NOT submit a paper until your abstract is accepted. Papers will be published in the conference proceedings.

Poster displays are also encouraged.


You are encouraged to submit an abstract addressing one or more of the themes below, but if you have another innovative idea or project you wish to share at the conference, please also submit it for consideration.

Stream 1: Community Informatics

There has now been over a decade of action and research into how different information and communication technologies enable and empower social communities to the achievement of collective goals. What have learned and what might we do differently?

* Case studies of community action via ICTs.
* The question of 'community and 'action': how has it been dealt with in your project?
* Theoretical dimensions of social-technical systems, action, and change. 
* How is policy change best achieved?
* Why and when does community action leads to community conflict?
* Types of community benefits from community projects involving technology.
* How to promote the advantages of community action to all stakeholders. 
* Successful strategic planning of projects for social action and change.
* Evidence that economic good and social good go hand-in-hand in community informatics projects.
* The role of research to assist with community action. 
* What factors create good relationships between academics and communities when they collaborate on action?
* How to ensure ongoing community participation in action. 
* How can the needs of civil society be best served with technology and social action? 
* Managing the role of volunteers in community action. 
* Methods for monitoring and evaluating community action.
* Managing relationships with funding partners.
* The effectiveness of social entrepreneurs and enterprises in community action 
* Inaction.
* Technical systems, information management for community action.

Stream 2: Development Informatics

The implementation of ICT in developing economies has constraints not 
applicable in developed regions. Constraints cover a wide range: from
technologies and infrastructures (energy grids, networks) to human
aspects such as poverty and low or no literacy. The Conference aims to
create a platform for exchanging experiences, case studies, and possible
solutions to address the difficulties in deploying ICT in developing
Suggested themes include, but are not limited to:

* Web technologies - eg. synchronisation with off-line systems 
* Human Factors (Human Computer Interaction) - e.g. interfaces for limited or non-literate users
* Online communities
* e-Governance
* e-Democracy
* Education
* Agriculture
* Healthcare
* Telecentres and Multi-Purpose Community Centres 
* Rural connectivity
* Multi-language systems
* other...

Note that contributions must be relevant to Development Informatics.


PhD students are encouraged to submit a short paper (1000-2000 words) in the PhD colloquium for discussion with academics and other students. The paper should be about your PhD research and is NOT limited to the conference themes. This is an excellent opportunity for feedback about your research and an opportunity to meet other students, researchers, and practitioners. Student accommodation will be available.

DRAFT CONFERENCE PROGRAM (subject to alteration)

1) Ph.D. colloquium with feedback from academics and students. Students make a short presentation and submit a 1000-2000 word position paper or report.
2) Parallel Refereed & practitioner streams
3) Research/Practitioner workshops and free meeting time.
4) Keynote address/es from leaders in community and development informatics
5) Social program. 


A conference CD Rom will be distributed prior to the event and it is intended to publish selected referred papers published in conjunction with Cambridge Scholars Press.


We anticipate that full registrations will be in the region of $AU500 (=€310) and a moderately priced conference banquet in Prato. Registration concessions will be available for students. Registrations will be taken from mid-year, and is separate from your accommodation booking. You will be able to also register for social events and tours.

We are unable to offer any bursaries or scholarships for attendance. Delegates must seek their own funds, and secure appropriate visas to attend.

Hotel space in Prato is limited, and your early reservation is strongly encouraged. Information will be posted shortly. We are also seeking modestly-priced student dormitory accommodation and will post information.


Prato is close to Italian rail, air, and other transport hubs via Florence.  Social and cultural information will be posted shortly.  If you are thinking of bringing a spouse, partner, family or friend, Prato is an excellent base from which to explore Tuscany without the crowds.


prato2007ATfastmail.fm (replace AT by @)

For the Conference
Larry Stillman
Centre for Community Networking Research
Monash University

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