There is still little consensus among scholars on what development means, who and what needs to be developed, and for what purpose. This raises fundamental questions about the future of Development Informatics research and brings to mind Geoff Walsham’s haunting question, ‘Are we making a better world with technology?’. ICTs have not delivered on the promise of making a better world for all; and there is evidence that technology has increased inequality in many cases. As such, the focus of the 2018 IDIA (International Development Informatics Association) Conference is on Making ICT Research Locally Relevant.
The International Development Informatics Association, is an association serving as a forum for international cooperation between individuals and organisations focusing on research in the use of ICT for developing economies and societies (ICT4D), where various constraints impact on the use of ICT compared to highly developed regions. In response to the domination of the Global North, IDIA is of the South, by the South and focuses on promoting high-impact, research on the sustainable use of ICT in the South.
The Conference to be hosted by CSET on 23 – 24 August 2018 seeks to understand and respond to how politicians, NGOs, scholars, and citizens make sense of how ICTs can be used to improve the human condition. The predominant perspective is that ICTs can support the development, promotion and realization of a model of development that is holistic, inclusive, just and sustainable, which will lead to an appropriate quality of life for each individual on the planet. The 10th IDIA conference, however, offers an opportunity to look back, take stock and debate the way ahead.
According to the Conference Chairperson, Prof Judy van Biljon from the School of Computing the IDIA conference will also provide a platform for South African researchers and practitioners to engage with international scholars and build new networks. The IFIP 9.4 Masters and Doctoral Symposium 2018 for Sub-Saharan Africa (Southern and Eastern) is co-hosted with the IDIA conference. The International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) is a global organisation for researchers and professionals working in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) to conduct research, develop standards and promote information sharing.
For CSET, particularly School of Computing this creates opportunities on many levels, including a masters and doctoral symposium, publication opportunities and engaging in panel discussions.
The line-up of distinguished speakers include Prof Geoff Walsham from the University of Cambridge, Dr Jackie Phahlamohlaka from the CSIR and Prof Robert Davison from University of Hong Kong. The delegates include researchers and postgraduate students from Africa, Europe and Asia.
This conference would not have been possible without the vision and continued support of CSET management, specifically Prof Mamba, Dean of CSET and Prof Osunmakinde, Director of the School of Computing. The School of Computing is well represented in the conference leadership, beside Prof Judy van Biljon as the IDIA Conference Chair, Prof Kirstin Krauss and Dr Filistea Naude serve as the Proceedings Chairs with Dr Marita Turpin from the University of Pretoria.
By Thembeka Ntuli-Mpapama