Saturday, May 16, 2015

ICTD 2015: Information and Communication Technologies for Development, Singapore, 2015

Halfway through the conference, with one day of open sessions and one day of single track now past, the conference (my first ICTD) has been very worthwhile, fun, and useful for thinking through new directions in theories and practices of ICT4D.

My session on GIS for Development was well-attended, and I met several new contacts, including a couple from the United States (DC, and Rochester, NY).  The American presence at this conference is especially striking, with a large number of presenters from Michigan, for example.

Just to talk about the fun parts for a moment, last night we watched some Chinese lion dancers before the Gala dinner, and then we saw an Indian dancer on a stage in the event itself.  The evening before an alumnus of Royal Holloway's ICT4D stream guided us through central Singapore to some wonderful street food and drinks.

With two days remaining, we have one more day of single track and another of open sessions.  These two kinds of session offer a really nice contrast to each other.  The papers are of high quality, and in the open session they gather some interesting questions, some often very challenging.

The open sessions tend to be more guided group discussions that are critical in a more distributed way, across a range of perspectives and experiences, depending on the audience gathered.

I've picked up some great books at the Springer and Routledge stands as well, titles I would not have come across except at a conference, and these will prove to be key academic references in the coming months of summer writing.

Spending the hours of 4-6 am sleepless, tweeting, and thinking about GIS for development, I'm now ready for the coming two days of exciting research in ICTD, with some wonderful colleagues, including Dorothea Kleine, Sammia Poveda, Vera Hoeschler, Endrit Kromidha, and Yinqin Zheng.

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