Digital Knowledge Resources in the Caribbean and Pacific

Friday, 3 May, 2019, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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From YouTube to Talanoa: Digital Knowledge Resources in the Caribbean and Pacific

Theories of learning in and through digital media have largely drawn upon research in Western contexts such as the US and UK. Yet, as sociocultural learning theory has demonstrated, context often requires a re-thinking of the spaces and practices of learning. This seminar examines digital media and learning practices among tertiary sector educators and students at national and regional universities in Fiji and Trinidad. Comparing the use of knowledge resources in each context, we highlight the ways in which learning practices are situated in wider, everyday practices and social relationships and how technology landscapes and infrastructures work together to shape practices of collaboration and peer-to-peer learning.

Heather Horst is Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. She is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research focuses upon understanding how digital media, technology and other forms of material culture mediate relationships, communication, learning, mobility and our sense of being human. Her books examining these themes include The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (Horst and Miller, Berg, 2006),Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with Digital Media (Ito, et al. 2010, MIT Press), Digital Anthropology (Horst and Miller, Eds., 2012, Berg), Digital Ethnography (Pink, Horst, et al. 2016, Sage) and The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives (Foster and Horst, 2018, ANU Press).

Jolynna Sinanan is Research Fellow in Digital Media and Ethnography at the University of Sydney. Her research focusses upon uses of digital media in different cultural contexts in relation to family relationships, gender and migration. Her books include Social Media in Trinidad (UCL Press, 2017), Visualising Facebook(Miller and Sinanan, UCL Press, 2017), Webcam (Miller and Sinanan, Polity, 2014) and How the World Changed Social Media(Miller et. al. 2016, UCL Press).

Fulori Manoa is a researcher from the University of the South Pacific. Her research interests include online and mobile learning in the Pacific Islands, Pacific Islands regionalism and diplomacy.

Sheba Mohammid has over 10 years experience in digital media policy. Her research focuses on how learning is practiced in formal and informal landscapes in a variegated knowledge society, and how people enact learning in their everyday lives through a variety of literacies and fluencies. Dr Mohammid’s applied work has included leadership roles in managing national development projects and serving as ICT policy specialist for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and a director on the Global Social Media Impact Study. Her academic and applied interests have intersected as she has strategised and delivered e-learning to participants from over 50 countries.

The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones Symposium and Book Launch

Friday 17 August, 3pm – 5.30pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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The rapid uptake of mobile phones in the Pacific Islands over the last ten years has created a complicated moral economy. We understand the moral economy of mobile phones to imply a field of shifting relations among consumers, companies and state actors, all of whom have their own ideas about what is good, fair and just. These ideas inform the ways in which, for example, consumers acquire and use mobile phones; companies promote and sell voice, SMS and data subscriptions; and state actors regulate both everyday use of mobile phones and market activity around mobile phones. Ambivalence and disagreement about who owes what to whom is thus an integral feature of the moral economy of mobile phones.

This symposium reports on research in Fiji and Papua New Guinea funded by the Australian Research Council, including two documentary films. It concludes with a book launch for The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives, an edited volume published in May 2018 by the Australian National University Press and is available for free download here.

Confirmed presenters include: Heather A. Horst (University of Sydney), Robert J. Foster (University of Rochester), Lucas Watt (RMIT University), Wendy Bai Magea (University of Goroka), Romitesh Kant (University of South Pacific/LaTrobe University), and luke gaspard (University of Sydney). The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives will be launched by Professor Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney).