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Linking Networks of Community Practice, Policy & Research: A Framework for Participatory Action Research & Development Dr. Peter Day School of Computing,

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Presentation on theme: "Linking Networks of Community Practice, Policy & Research: A Framework for Participatory Action Research & Development Dr. Peter Day School of Computing,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Linking Networks of Community Practice, Policy & Research: A Framework for Participatory Action Research & Development Dr. Peter Day School of Computing, Mathematical & Information Sciences Faculty of Management & Information Sciences

2 Presentation outline 3 Fold: 1.Consider conceptual & practical linkages between Community practice Community policy Community research 2.Normative framework of democratic design criteria 3.Introduce research project

3 You beauty!!!

4 Something to ponder It is not enough to expect the location of ICTs in public places to meet community need. Large amounts of resources and energy are often invested in public access with little consideration given to the broader social context

5 The Lushai Hills Metaphor Allegory Rosenbrock, H., (1990) Machines with a purpose. Oxford: Oxford University Press In our deliberations - what might be considered as such an alternative pathway? How might this metaphor be of use to us? Experiences & lessons from this trip

6 A synergistic trilogy Ideally, although each field has its own parameters, goals, actors, audience and very often language, the purpose, population and performance of each are inescapably interwoven with that of the others. Each draws from, contributes to and sustains the others in a network of community services, actions, relationships, communication and outcomes. Community Practice Community Policy Community Research

7 Importance of community practice Method For promoting policies that encourage the planning, building and sustainability of healthy communities Theory That assists in providing an understanding of the interrelationship between the people, groups, organizations and activities that contribute to community life

8 Community practice A generic term that describes: The sustained involvement of paid community workers A broad range of professionals who are increasingly using community work methods in their work Managerial attempts at reviewing, restructuring and relocating services to encourage community access and involvement in the planning and delivery of services The efforts of self-managed community groups themselves (Glen, 1993, 22)

9 3 approaches to community practice Community services Developing community organisations & services Community development Promoting community self-help & empowerment Community action Representation and promotion of collective interests

10 Community ICT Practice Community services(done to) Provision of online information services, public access centres, low cost ICT provision schemes, and learning programmes Community development (done with) Capacity building stimulate dialogue, collaboration and mutuality to strengthen social capital Community planning or design of ICT initiatives Community action (done by) Community communicative action, e.g. Community Networks and Community/Indy Media initiatives

11 Policy - help or hindrance? Policy can create an environment that either blocks or assists the building of healthy communities By developing an understanding of local need it is possible to develop policies and partnerships that are meaningful and relevant to people in their communities

12 Changing culture & mindsets Understanding that the language of best practice isnt suited to community Knowledge about community cultures and needs is required to facilitate such changes...this means engaging in meaningful dialogue The processes of data/information collection, classification and analysis to enable the augmentation of understanding community practice and policy is the responsibility of research More specifically, it is the responsibility of those researchers, both academics and practitioners, who form the emerging field of community communication technology research – commonly known as community informatics

13 Bridging Policy, Practice & Research Community Practice Community Policy Community Research Practice - what really happens in communities on day to day basis - real life! Policy - sets the conditions that influence community environment Research provides insights into, and explanations of, community events, processes and relationships

14 Democratic principles for community technology practice 1.CTIs must be grounded in local community values 2.The goals, activities, services and outcomes of CTIs should meet the needs of the community 3.In addition to providing a wide range of community services, CTIs should stimulate and promote both community development and community action 4.Contribute to a public space for shared communication 5.Recognize and celebrate cultural diversity 6.Promote self-actualisation 7.Develop a sense of community identity with, and ownership of, CTIs

15 Democratic principles for community technology policy 1.Avoid policies that establish authoritarian or elitist social relations. 2.Encourage participatory community action 3.Invest in social capital 4.Stimulate the social fabric, or core values, of the local community as well the local economy. 5.Promote cross-sectoral or tripartite partnerships 6.Facilitate collaborative interaction and exchange within and between communities.

16 Democratic principles for community technology research 1.How is research of significance to community? 2.Communities should be involved in all stages of research design, implementation and analysis 3.The processes and outcomes of community research should be of benefit to community life and address community need 4.Where possible, partnerships developed between researchers and communities should extend beyond the life of the project 5.Communities see a lot of traditional social science research as being abstract and irrelevant

17 The appeal of community technologies Within a community practice context, the appeal of community communication technology – lies not in the technology or even the information they provide access to, but with the interactions and exchanges between people that it facilitates. In other words, it is the potential for supporting communication in and between communities that makes community communication technology initiatives socially significant.

18 CNA - Community Network Analysis & ICTs: Bridging and building community ties ESRC/ DTI funded project PACCIT Research Programme - People At the Centre of Communication & Information Technology Project No. RES Project Team - Collaborative partnership UoB, SCIP & participating communities

19 Project research aims To investigate the potential of network technology (including mobile telephony) as tools for building and sustaining social capital in communities To critically analyse and evaluate the impact of ICT on social network ties and cohesion by measuring community communication and information flows within and between community groups and networks

20 Community design processes as participatory engagement Community activity by people that share common interests and respect their diversity Community involvement central to identifying community need Contribution to building community capacity to develop the skills to manage & develop community life

21 Community Network Analysis Participatory Action Research project Initial introductory phase Enter into dialogue with communities Pre-assessment & awareness raising Community taster days

22 Community Network Analysis 3 Distinct but interrelated development & research phases: Community profiling/asset based mapping & social network analysis Participatory learning workshops Community communications space prototyping & development

23 Phase 1 Community Profiling Auditing & mapping techniques, e.g. Kretzmann & McKnights ABCD + Greer & Hales Community Analysis Information & communications needs analysis Social Network Analysis Analysis of community network relationships People and organisations are connected within and beyond the locality Intra and inter community connectivity (social) Patterns of information and communication flows & forms of media How ICTs influence these links & relationships (if they do)

24 Phase 2 Participatory learning workshops (PLWs) ICT learning environments - Something more than just training From - OK I/we can use the Internet……how does this contribute towards my/our community? Capacity building Not just to use ICT but to critically consider how they might contribute To building, supporting & sustaining community networking & social capital Building & managing community To – How can we use ICT in & for OUR community?

25 Phase 3 Community communications prototype Community needs meets systems design Designers, who will be drawn from both technology experts (Uni & SCIP) and community participants, will be involved in project from Day 1 We have budgeted for a range of applications but wish to avoid pre-judging community need Participatory action research informing participatory design & development Method as tool for both knowledge and community development

26 Social network analysis questions 1 Who communicates with whom (social tie composition)? 2 What about (content of ties and relations, composition of ties)? 3 Which media are selected for information transfer or communications (a) to whom and (b) about what? 4 Does the selection of media affect the nature of ties and relations over time? 5 Does the selection of media affect content? 6 Do ties and relations cross media lines? 7 Which kinds of participants maintain ties via multiple media, and which communicate by means of single media, and what influences the decisions to do so? 8 Who are central to and isolated from the networks maintained by different media? 9 What are the roles of network members? 10 Are patterns of network density clustering apparent (evidence of potential groups/cliques or bonding links)? 11 What patterns, if any, of outward ties and relations exist (bridging links bringing non- community information, knowledge and resources into the community) 12 How do ICTs impact on bonding and bridging links? 13 Do ICTs impact on community (network) boundary formation?

27 Thanks for listening To discuss this presentation or related issues, please contact me at:

28 What do we mean by community? (3 interrelated senses) Something in common Community values solidarity - inspires affection & loyalty through mutuality and co- operation participation - individuals contribute to and engage in collective life & aspirations of community coherence - connect individual & community …understanding of self and social world Active community - e.g. groups, orgs. & networks Valorise diversity

29 In summary Community = an active group, or groups, of people with something in common, who, from a shared value-base, valorise diversity & work to improve the quality of life for the collective and individual alike. Requires shared value base with policy

30 Community development Involvement of more people & organisations Involvement of involvement ready people & organisations The planning process -early stages The local population Implementation - early stages The planning process - later stages Implementation - later stages Time Involving citizens & community groups

31 Personal details Co-director community technology research SEAKE University of Brighton Visiting Senior Research CQU Director Sussex Community Internet Project (SCIP) Co-author of IBM/CDF commissioned Down-to-Earth or COMMIT report PhD in field of Community Informatics Digital City evaluator – OSI Europe Co-Chair CIRN Former Eastbourne Borough Councillor & community activist


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