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New spaces of social activism, 28 January

Speaker: Chris Coward
Date: Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College, UKZN

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of innovation spaces: tech hubs, coworking spaces, makerspaces, and other physical places that bring people together to foster learning, collaboration, and creation. Africa has been a driving force in the movement. The notion behind these spaces is that creativity and innovation are stimulated when people and ideas come into direct contact with one another. While much of this focus has been on the technology community, entrepreneurs, freelance workers, and hobbyists, there is increasing interest to apply this model for other communities, including activists. This seminar aims to explore and interrogate issues around civil society’s use, or potential use, of innovation spaces as ways to generate novel, disruptive ideas and bring about collaborations that otherwise would not occur.

Chris Coward is Principal Research Scientist and Director of the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School. Chris is currently in Durban for three months, meeting new people and exploring ideas for future research. TASHA has research projects in 50 countries. Chris focuses on information and communication technologies for international development. His current interests include ICTs for employment and entrepreneurship, innovation spaces, digital inclusion, and impact evaluation and measurement. Much of his work focuses on the role of public libraries and civil society organizations in these areas. He holds post-graduate degrees in Public Administration and International Studies, both from the University of Washington.

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