Preliminary Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Papers 14: Sustainable communities
Wednesday, 25/Mar/2020:
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Ann-Sofie Axelsson, Chalmers University of Technology
Location: Aristoteles
Floor 4

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Empowering women through access to information: The Sustainability of a community informatics project in Bangladesh

M. Anwar, V. Frings-Hessami

Monash University, Australia

Community informatics projects are designed to provide access to information and communication technologies (ICT) that will enable communities to meet their goals. Although their aim is to foster the development of skills that will contribute to the wellbeing of the communities, the sustainability of the formats in which the information is provided to the community groups is rarely taken into consideration during project development. This paper reports on how the challenge of ensuring the continuity of access to information is being addressed in the context of a community informatics project in rural Bangladesh. The PROTIC project has been working since 2015 in three remote villages of Bangladesh at empowering women working in agriculture by providing them with mobile phones and access to agricultural information through SMS, mobile applications and a dedicated call centre. In the last stage of the project, the Bangladeshi telecommunication partner is developing an application to store all the SMS that were sent to the participants during the course of the project and is making plans to keep the information up-to-date after the end of the project and to charge a subscription fee for access to it. However, the participants themselves, conscious of the fragility of digital formats, have taken steps to preserve the information that they found useful in more durable analogue formats. This paper discusses these two initiatives and argues that the continuity of access to information should be planned for from the beginning in community informatics projects in developing countries.

Cultural Activity Diversity and Community Characteristics: An Exploratory Study

M. Lee1, B. S. Butler2

1George Mason University, United States; 2University of Maryland, College Park, United States

Cultural diversity has been conceptualized and studied in diverse ways. On the one hand, cultural diversity can be conceptualized based on people's ethnic and national backgrounds. On the other hand, cultural dimensions are defined based on people's behaviors and traits. Sociologists further categorize the latter depending on the degree of typicality in cultural artifacts/activities and individuals' omnivorousness over cultural tastes.

Although each dimension of culture-related concepts provides meaningful implications for community-level characteristics, it is still unclear how each dimension of cultural characteristics is related to other community characteristics. This paper suggests a concept of cultural activity diversity, the diversity of cultural activities as a whole in a community, and provides an exploratory analysis for the relationships between cultural characteristics and socio-economic features across 28 U.S. metropolitan areas using local event datasets.

“In the beginning, it was little whispers…now, we’re almost a roar”: Conceptualizing a model for community and self in LGBTQ+ health information practices

V. L. Kitzie, T. L. Wagner, A. N. Vera

University of South Carolina, United States of America

Although LGBTQ+ populations experience significant health challenges, little research exists that investigates their health from an informational perspective. Our study addresses this gap by exploring the health information practices of LGBTQ+ communities in South Carolina, focusing on how sociocultural context shapes these practices. Thirty semi-structured interviews with South Carolina LGBTQ+ community leaders analyzed using open qualitative coding informed the development of a conceptual framework describing their information practices. Findings show that participants engaged in two broad types of practices – protective and defensive – as responses to risks and barriers experienced, which are in turn produced by social and structural factors. Findings advance information practices and marginalization approaches and offer ways for medical professionals to improve service to LGBTQ+ populations.

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