Researching with Communities

Researching with Communities: Grounded perspectives on engaging communities in research

Edited by Andy Williamson and Ruth DeSouza

Researching with communities presents a range of personal and grounded perspectives from academics, researchers and practitioners on undertaking research in ways that promote and privilege the voice of the community, is respectful of local or indigenous practices and is culturally safe.

Most definitely not a ‘tick list’ for approaching community-inclusive research, this book provides grounded exemplars, guides and discussion about the experiences of doing research respectfully and inclusively. It does this by drawing on the perspectives of researchers and community practitioners and by providing a range of reflective chapters that explore what community-based research means in a range of settings and for a range of people. Like the communities in which they are grounded, undertaking research in this way is always a unique experience.

This book is a valuable resource for researchers, evaluators, students, community practitioners and policy makers. The international authors cover disciplines from community ICT to health and refugee and asylum seekers to community development.

The book can be ordered online, priced at £24.95. For more information and to order your copy, please visit http://www.lulu.com/content/1550518.

Digital storytelling tools

I am currently attending an interesting session at the E-Campaigning Forum on digital storytelling. Stories are very powerful ways of motivating people to take action, to reflect on the implications of policies, to make abstract concepts concrete and so on.

In this age of Web 2.0 and user-created multimedia content, the old linear textual technologies for supporting storytelling like discussion forums are being complemented by a multitude of innovtive tools supporting new forms of content, interactivity and user involvement. Here are some telling examples of this new wave of tools. They still need to find their niche in the Internet landscape, but it is already becoming very clear that they provide powerful incentives for people to become more (inter)active and engaged.

  • Animoto: automatically generates professionally produced videos using their own patent-pending technology and high-end motion design. Each video is a fully customized orchestration of user-selected images and music. Produced on a widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer.
  • Viddler:
    • Use webcam to record directly to website
    • Tag specific moment within video
    • Post comments to specific moments within the video
    • Have complete control over who sees video
  • JibJab: allows one to put one’s face on video and share it.
  • SproutBuilder: Sprout is a quick and easy way for beginner and pro users to create living content including websites, widgets, banners, videos, music, photos, RSS feeds, calendars and more.
  • Living Cultural Storybases: Nurturing the oral heritage of minority cultures in a digital world.

Good reference source:

  • NFP2: what happens when not-for-profits, social media and people meet

ALOIS 2008 conference

VeniceOn May 5-6, I will be attending, as an invited speaker, the ALOIS (Action in Language, Organisations, and Information Systems) conference in Venice. Apart from the wonderful venue, it is going be a very interesting conference, in the best tradition of the Language/Action Perspective and Pragmatic Web conferences.

Here is the abstract of my talk and paper:

Activating Online Collaborative Communities

Collaborative communities often make use of complex tool systems. In these systems, work gets fragmented over many tools, often halting communication. We discuss online community activation in terms of the Language/Action Perspective, and its more recent offshoot, the Pragmatic Web. We propose collaboration patterns for defining high-level socio-technical design solutions for activation problems. We illustrate the approach using examples from a digital tutorial case.

Semi-mobile technology

Aldo being semi-mobileMobile technology is great, but it’s very hard to find _the_ right mobile tool. I now have two mobile phones, an HP Ipaq PDA, my Asus EEE 7″ subnotebook, a Dell X200 12.1″ (sub)notebook, an Acer Aspire 3610 15.4 ” notebook, and counting. Frankly, this is getting ridiculous. None of these tools suits even close to all my needs, and by now I would need a suitcase to lug them all around!

Of course, I could always try to choose one of these tools, and stick to it. Well, this is what happens then: here I am, using Skype on my Asus to call my good friend Mark Aakhus in the US via the Tilburg University wifi campus network. It works, but somehow it doesn’t quite seem the optimal mobile solution :-)

Funnily enough, Mark who just happened to be online when I demonstrated my Asus, co-edited this book: Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance. I wonder whether this is what he had in mind…