Nicola Bidwell – MTHF Guest seminar online

Guest seminar at the More than Human Futures research group, Queensland University of Technology, June 2023.

Hope in the Unmaking: Insights from the Kalahari about the temporalities of prediction,

Dr Nic (Nicola J) Bidwell, University of Melbourne, Charles Darwin University, International University of Management, Namibia.

Nic (Nicola J) Bidwell Bio: Nic Bidwell has researched at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and social informatics with a focus on the Global Souths for 20 years. This encompasses working with First Nations people in far north Australia, Namiba and Mexico and rural inhabitants of South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Ireland, Uganda, Indonesia, Argentina and India. She initiated the first panel on Indigenous Led Digital Enterprise at OZchi’08 and co-founded the African HCI Conference (AfriCHI) in 2016. Her ethnographically informed design work with rural collaborators set the stage for South Africa’s first community owned ISP and her analyses of relations between spectrum regulation and community networks (CNs) and community radio have informed policy debate. Nic is Chair of SIGCHI’s Sustainability Committee, Digital Ethics Lead at Melbourne University, University Fellow at Charles Darwin University and an Adjunct Professor at International University of Management in Namibia, where she maintains her rural home.

In this talk I introduce new insights that emerge in collaborating with Ju|’hoansi people in the Nyae Nyae conservancy in North-East Namibia. I reflect on people’s practices of making and unmaking in relation to a low-cost system comprising solar-charging and communal phones, which we made together and installed in 40 villages in 2019. I connect my reflections on making and unmaking with ongoing analyses in a parallel project that explores how Ju|’hoansi knowledge practices can drive the creation and use of AI tools. Our conversations, observations, games and stories, since 2020, situated discussions of probability in everyday reasoning about social, ecological, and other phenomena. They drew our attention to how we inhabit and embody time in lived experience and imagination and to relations between hope, probability and risk. Thus, my talk considers how temporal phenomena are integrated in making and unmaking and how the temporal sensitivities of Indigenous groups may help in designing to better support the knowledges that can sustain our worlds. * With research and reflection from: Charlie Nqeisji, Leon Tsamkxao, |Kun Kunta, Martin Ujakpa, Helen Arnold, Alan Blackwell and Candi Miller

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