S-DIRECT Seminar: Social Digital Innovation Research to Empower Communities in Transition

The ‘S-DIRECT: Social Digital Innovation Research to Empower Communities in Transition’ was held on 8 March 2016 at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The seminar showcased current projects of the International Joint Research Group (IJRG).

The one-day seminar reported on the current IJRG projects. The event was opened by the Deputy Minister Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize. She spoke on ‘Digital Readiness of South Africa: The National Strategy and Progress up to date’.

What is the International Joint Research Group?

IJRG is building capacity in applying living lab research methodology for digital inclusion and social innovation projects. The focus is on digital inclusion to address community challenges in South Africa. Digital inclusion is about ensuring everyone is part of the new digital world – including marginalised communities like those in the rural areas.

Who are the partners in IJRG?

IJRG is made up of a number of partners, each with its own expertise:

  • iMinds-SMIT excels in research on Living Labs, empowerment and e-inclusion. SMIT (Studies Media Information Telecommunication) is the research centre at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium and forms part of iMinds, the interdisciplinary institute for broadband technology.

  • Western Cape e-Skills CoLab and UWC have expertise in the field of social digital innovation, e-skills and e-inclusion in South Africa

  • MASC has expertise in long-term ethnographic research, crucial in a multicultural context. The Material and Sensory Cultures of Africa (MASC) Study Centre is at Universiteit Gent in Belgium. It focuses on anthropological research on digital innovations (digital anthropology). An anthropological view gives insight into the practical consequences and the impact of digital culture on everyday life.

About the seminar – ‘S-DIRECT: Social Digital Innovation Research to Empower Communities in Transition.

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