C&T focuses on the notion of communities as social entities comprised of people who share something in common; this common element may be geography, needs, goals, interests, practices, organizations, enemies, or other bases for social connection. Communities are considered to be a basic unit of social experience.
For the 2017 round of C&T, we welcome contributions that particularly pay attention on technology that can be deployed for the common good. This raises a number of questions, issues, and implications that might not be relevant in other computing related conferences. The common good generally means finding peaceful ways to resolve conflict, securing a more equitable society, a healthy and diverse environment for ourselves and future generations, and cultural diversity.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can support community formation and development by facilitating communication and coordination among members, as well as enable and empower communities to deal with challenges and threats. We must also acknowledge the possibility that ICTs could be used in processes that degrade communities or community life; some ICTs could actually be antithetical to healthy communities. In this case certain developments should at the very least be questioned, if not actively discouraged. For this reason we also encourage critiques of existing systems, approaches, policies, and trajectories— any of the factors that encourage private gain at the expense of the common good.
It’s not enough to assert that some particular technology will support the common good. Too often, in fact, the assumption is that a particular technological approach — if not the whole of ICT development — is steadfastly advancing towards a state of maximal support for the common good. What lines of argument can we develop that help support a case that a technological approach will support the common good — or wouldn’t? As researchers and academics we must entertain the possibility that our investigations may force us to revise some of our own approaches and assumptions, including rethinking who are the stakeholders of our work, and how our work should be evaluated.
Modeling and designing the world we’d like to see can provide invaluable insights. Beyond conducting research and developing tools, services, policy, and the like, we aim to build the circumstances that help promote this work and the orientation in the world. What systems can help encourage civic intelligence and public problem solving? How do we recognize systems that discourage them? Are certain approaches to design, deployment, etc. more likely to result in systems that support the common good? And, if so, where have these been used—and with what degree of success. This focus acknowledges the reality that technological systems exist within social environments and frameworks, policy proposals, and educational approaches may be extremely relevant.
Finally, how do we as a community identify our goals, gather our information, and report our findings as to help the communities upon whom we rely to use the information most effectively?
Topics appropriate for submission to this conference are manifold. And they may emerge from a variety of relevant perspectives including philosophy, social sciences, design, art, the humanities, etc. Examples of some of the vibrant areas of communities and technology research include, but are not limited to:
- Domains such as learning/education, health, cultural heritage; crises and natural disasters; environmental degradation and climate change;
- Variety of communities and their relationships to technology; urban and rural, migrants, refugees, indigenous and first peoples, LGBTQ, low-income communities, measuring impacts on communities —positive, negative, and mixed
- Bottom-up movements, grassroots developments, civic activism, community engagement, participatory publics, communities and innovation;
- Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, collective and civic intelligence, community learning, early warning systems, collective awareness, collaborative awareness platforms; social cognition; community emotion; happiness; historical memory;
- Community owned and operated technology, DIY and maker communities (makerspaces, fablabs, crafters); community agriculture;
- Online and offline communities, urban and rural communities; urban technologies; urban informatics; urban interaction design; cross-community work; new forms of communities;
- Community memory, archives, and knowledge; resilience; smart communities in the context of smart cities; sustainable communities; economic and social development;
- Civic problem-solving, communities in relation to urgent and complex challenges to the health of the planet and the people that inhabit it; collaborative systems; partnering with education; government, civil society, and movements;
- Sharing economies; social media and social capital; associations, strong and weak ties, stakeholders;
- Methodological issues including research, action, participatory approaches, community-centred design, infrastructuring and evaluation methodologies; ethnographic and case studies of communities;
- Supporting community processes: sensemaking, online deliberation; argumentation and discussion-mapping; community ideation and idea management systems; collective decision-making; group memory; participatory sensory networks;
- Technological issues: community toolkits; federated systems; integration with other systems, integration with face-to-face systems;
- The future of communities and technology; simulations and utopian design; durable relationships and long-range goals; and
- Developing and supporting the Communities & Technologies community; social and technological critique; effectiveness and other measures
Submitting a paper
In order to allow for a diversity of contributions, the conference will accept full and short research papers.
- Full papers must be no longer than ten pages, including all additional material such as references, appendices, and figures.
- Short papers (previously work-in-progress papers) must be no longer than four pages.
The papers must include a title, sufficient space for the author name(s) to appear on the paper, abstract, keywords, body, and references.
Papers submitted by the due date will undergo a double blind peer review process by the Program Committee and will be evaluated on the basis of their significance, innovation, academic rigour, and clarity of writing.
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