Conversations

Welcome to CSNI’s Conversations (and archive of previous events). This is a space for online events and the open exchange of ideas, including our monthly reading group. In keeping with our research focus, we see the tools and the topics we are working with as necessarily interlinked. It includes a number of tools such as Jitsi Meet and Etherpad (as below).

Moreover, although education and research institutions have almost exclusively turned to online commercial platforms (such as Zoom and Teams), we think it important to use alternatives that open up wider discussion around the politics of infrastructure. We see outsourcing as a problem that goes beyond operability/functionality to open up wider issues related to surveillance, privacy and internet freedom. This tendency is nothing new – as communications have been increasingly outsourced to big tech companies (like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft, etc.) that have no interest in education as such – but has become further entrenched during the COVID‑19 pandemic. In times of crisis, there is a tendency to be reactive and pay less attention to far-reaching social and political effects. A further irony we observe is that as institutions readily offer to commit to decolonising the curriculum yet forget to extend these principles to decolonising the technologies they use.

As a preliminary introduction to these issues, and what is at stake, we recommend the following resources:

• Jara Rocha, A catalog of formats for digital discomfort… and other ways to resist totalitarian zoomification, eds. Seda Gürses and Jara Rocha (2021), http://titipi.org/projects/discomfort/CatalogOFFDigitalDiscomfort.pdf

• The Relearning Series: Pedagogical diversions despite the rectangularisation of life (2020-). https://constantvzw.org/wefts/relearningseries.en.html

• Seda Gürses, “Rectangles R-Us” (2020), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXFslDTSy-k

• Constant, “Dear cultural institution, there is an elephant in the room” (2019), https://pad.constantvzw.org/p/elephant

• Martino Morandi, “Constant Padology.” MARCH (2023). https://march.international/constant-padology/

• Syed Mustafa Ali, “A Brief Introduction to Decolonial Computing,” XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students, 22(4) (2016): 16–21. https://doi.org/10.1145/2930886

• FemTechNet, Feminist Pedagogy in a Time of Coronavirus Pandemic (2020), https://femtechnet.org/feminist-pedagogy-in-a-time-of-coronavirus-pandemic/

• A Transversal Network of Feminist Servers: https://culturalfoundation.eu/stories/cosround4_atnofs and https://pad.constantvzw.org/p/ATNOFS_Constant

• Varia, “Digital Solidarity Networks” (2020), https://pad.vvvvvvaria.org/digital-solidarity-networks

• De-Googlify the Internet, campaign against the centralization of digital lives by web giants, https://degooglisons-internet.org/?l=en

We also aim to build partnerships with organisations that hold similar values (i.e. Constant, Cryptpad, Lurk, RiseUp, Autonomic, Varia, In-Grid). The conversations platform is in a continual state of development and flux, and is supported by Tim Fransen (LSBU Technical Support Services) and hosted by GreenGeeks LLC. We are currently also developing the sharing of resources with researchers at Aarhus University at https://ctp.cc.au.dk/ and Creative Computing Institute, UAL.