SPiRIT Guest Lecture Heike Winschiers-Theophilus

»Co-designing technologies with indigenous and marginalized communities in Namibia«

Prof. Dr. Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Namibia University of Science & Technology

16.5.2017, 16 Uhr Campus Stendal, 3.0.09

Knowledge representations and conceptualisations of the world differ profoundly across cultures and knowledge systems. Current technology designs are deeply anchored in a Western epistemology which is often conflicting with indigenous conceptualisations. Thus we pursue a locally situated approach to co- creating a new digital reality with indigenous knowledge holders in Namibia. We have developed a number of prototypes to support the preservation of indigenous knowledge.  Lessons learned and open research questions are shared in the presentation.

Furthermore, we have been engaged in co-designing technologies with unemployed youth in an informal settlement of Windhoek. Namibia has an exceptionally high youth unemployment rate and increasing rural-urban migration leading to a number of socio-economic challenges. Thus over the last 3 years we have dedicated substantial efforts into a digital transformation to improve the livelihood of marginalized youth. Challenges and success stories of the interventions will be shared in the presentation.