CATaC 2012 Conference

Beyond the digital/cultural divide: in/visibility and new media

CATaC 2012 took place in Aarhus, Denmark from June 18-20, 2012.

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr. Rasha Abdulla (Associate Professor and Chair of the Journalism & Mass Communication Department, The American University in Cairo).

Provisional title: “Lessons from Egypt: The roles and limits of social media in political activism and transformation”

  • Dr. Randi Markussen (Associate Professor and Head of Group, Technologies in Practice, IT University of Copenhagen).

Provisional title: “E-Voting and Public Control of Elections”

Our 2012 conference, as the title suggests, began with the recognition that the ongoing issues and challenges clustering around digital divides – often involving mutually reinforcing cultural divides – extends beyond classic and stubborn problems of access to new media and communication technologies.

For example, matters of representation come into play, issuing in a cluster of questions:

  • Whose images and words are seen/presented/promoted and whose aren’t? And why?
  • If activists are using new media to represent realities of, say, oppressed indigenous people in a given country, is this better than no visibility at all, even if the people in question do not have access or skills to present themselves as subjects?

In particular:

  • Local and indigenous HCI/ID is about making visible the semiotic scripts and political processes of meaning construction that shape the process of technology design and knowledge representation from a sociotechnical perspective. Making visible these scripts enables the assessment of the value of these tools and frameworks from indigenous and/or local perspectives. Key concerns here are (1) to examine the meaning and validity of democratic values that drive participatory design as a discipline, and (2) to question ‘exported’ representations of what constitutes good usability and user experience.


  • How do new practices of cloaking messages in otherwise public or semi-public media; for example, the strategies of online steganography work to create intentional invisibility in otherwise visible spaces? Are there important culturally-variable elements in these practices that, when brought to the foreground, help illuminate and clarify them in new ways?


  • What are the role(s) of (culturally) diverse understandings and representations of gender in structuring the frameworks and practices of design and implementation. How do these roles foster the visibility of some vis-à-vis the invisibility of “others” (in Levinas’ sense, in particular)?

Additional panels and presentations addressed further conference points of emphasis:

  • Theoretical and practical approaches to analyzing “culture”
  • New layers of imaging and texting interactions fostering and/or threatening cultural diversity
  • Impact of mobile technologies on privacy and surveillance
  • Gender, sexuality and identity issues in social networks
  • Cultural diversity in e-learning and/or m-learning
  • Culturally-variable approaches to online identity management/creation, privacy, trust Copyright and intellectual property rights – recent developments, culturally-variable future directions?
  • Culturally-variable responses to commodification in online environments

CATaC 2012 Conference Proceedings can be reviewed online here.

You may purchase earlier conference proceedings from previous conferences from links on the right of this website.