CATaC 2014: Call for Papers and Panels

CaTaC’14: Culture, Technology, Communication:
Celebration, Transformation, New Directions

Please note!  June is a busy month for conferences and tourism in Oslo.  We strongly urge potentially interested participants to explore the accommodations page and book as early as possible.  Notifications of acceptance will be issued sufficiently early (March/April, 2014) so as to allow cost-free reservation cancellation if need be.

Conference Co-organizers

Organizing Committee

  • José Abdelnour-Nocera (School of Computing and Technology, University of West London)
  • Herbert Hrachovec (Philosophy Department, University of Vienna)
  • Leah Macfadyen (Evaluation and Learning Analytics, University of British Columbia)
  • Patrizia Schettino (Communication Studies, Università della Svizzera italiana)
  • Ylva Hård af Segerstad (Department of Applied Information Technology at the University of Gothenburg/Chalmers)
  • Andra Siibak (Media Studies, University of Tartu)
  • Michele M. Strano, Program Chair (Communication Studies, Bridgewater College)
  • Satomi Sugiyama (Communication and Media Studies, Franklin College Switzerland)

Background.  Our 1998 conference on “Culture, Technology, and Communication” (CATaC) was among the first devoted to the roles of culturally-variable norms, practices, and communicative preferences in the designs, implementations, and responses to (networked) information and communication technologies. The biennial CATaC series has generated a number of significant publications; the series has also been ranked by the Australian Research Council among the top 20% of conferences in terms of international impact and significance. Equally importantly: our critical but collegial conference culture provides a unique oasis for participants who shared often radically interdisciplinary interests.

Transformation. As the Internet and then the World Wide Web have come to now connect over 2 billion people globally, the questions of culture and communication vis-à-vis (networked) ICTs have become increasingly mainstream and widely explored across the needed range of disciplines, conferences, and publication venues. At the same time, however, there is ongoing need for a conference venue that fosters new explorations at the intersections of culture, technology, and communication – as approached in ways that are:

  • robustly interdisciplinary / cross-disciplinary;
  • cordially but rigorously critical;
  • inclusive of the philosophical, including the ethical and political dimensions of ICT design and diffusion;
  • relational, bringing out the entanglements of culture, communication, and technology;
  • and within a conference environment shaped by our hallmark hospitality and collegiality.

Accordingly, CaTaC’14 will

  • celebrate the people and accomplishments of the past conference series, including the production of a Festschrift; and
  • transform the conference series through development of
  • new research, directions and approaches.

We invite paper and panel submissions that address the intersections between culture, technology, and communication with a focus on either Design/Production or Practice (see descriptions below).


Conference tracks

Broadly, we invite research, reflection, and scholarship that specifically address one or more of our defining elements of culture, technology, and communication – while simultaneously exploring the interrelationship(s) between these.   More particularly, we invite submissions that do so by way of focusing on either Design/Production or Practice.

1  Design/Production

For this track, we invite individual papers and panels that look at how technical, cultural and communication affordances and constraints intersect in the production of technology, messages and theory construction. This track includes:

Designs for Good Lives in a Mediated Age, e.g.

  1. emotions in design and in user experience;
  2. embodiment and the notion of body, memory and emotions both in philosophy and in material culture;
  3. design as “skin of culture” (De Kerckhove, 1991).

Invited panel, “Cross-cultural understandings and designs of social robots as co-agents of good lives” (Satomi Sugiyama, chair).

Trans-mediated and intelligent workplaces: implications for work analysis and interaction design, e.g.,

  1. The sociotechnical challenges for designing technologies for new forms of workers and workplaces
  2. Implications for design of sociotechnical understandings of trans-mediated work
  3. Ethical and cultural implications for interaction design on the light of the transformation of human agency in smart workplaces.
  4. Cultural aspects of human work interaction design

Technology Design: Politics and ethics

The 2013 Report by the Climate Change Panel and the revelations by Edward Snowden added significantly to our environmental, human rights, and privacy concerns. How can – and do – these concerns inspire alternative design thinking and design? Sustainable technology,  ‘slow tech’, different forms of ‘undesigning’ technology or ‘NSA-free’ as design specification are some of the approaches promoting more ethical designs. We invite both theoretical papers as well as discussions of practical examples that bring out the politics and ethics of technology design.

Legal and ethical issues tied to media environments where authorship becomes increasingly invisible

Research Design and Theory Development

Access to “big data” and developments in data science have enhanced our ability to use computation and modeling both in place of and in conjunction with interpretive qualitative methods. Example contributions to this thread would include:

  1. Critical analyses of exemplar research using “big data” approaches and analytics to examine technology design and usages. What are the strengths and limits of such approaches?
  2. Explorations of the ethical, social, and/or political dimensions of “big data” research including culturally-variable patterns of regulations regarding data privacy protection, research ethics, etc.
  3. Exemplar research using mixed methods that capitalize on the strengths of quantitative and qualitative approaches

2  Practice

We invite individual submissions and panels that have the use of information and communication technologies in specific cultural contexts as their main focus. Examples include:

Cultural diversity and global ICTs, e.g. ,global health information systems, Wikipedia, social media;

Global and local cultures of computing, e.g.

  1. outsourcing, global development teams;
  2. the identity of migrants and the experience of migration;
  3. appropriation, creolization, hybridization between cultures and also between technologies;

The construction of identity using online social media, gaming, and blogging platforms

Political activism through social media

Privacy issues in media environments that encourage public identities.

Analysis of Cultural Discourses about technology that shape understanding and use, e.g.:

  1. Perceptions of authorship and ownership in environments dependent on user generated content
  2. Hopes and fears associated with the introduction of new technologies
  3. Understandings of the relationship between the “real” and the “virtual”

Both short (3-5 pages) and long (10-15 pages) original papers are sought for presentation.  Panel proposals addressing a specific theme or topic are also encouraged.

Papers will be published in the Conference Proceedings (electronic only).  Authors retain copyright, etc.


Registration fees: to be determined.  (We anticipate that registration fees will be somewhat – perhaps significantly – less than in previous years.)