Nicola J Bidwell

Nicola J Bidwell
University of Namibia | UNAM · Department of Computer Science

About

115
Publications
17,491
Reads
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2,117
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2014 - present
University of Pretoria
Position
  • Professor Extraordinaire
January 2011 - present
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
May 2010 - April 2013
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Description
  • Ethnographic Action Research in Eastern Cape, and Indigenous Knowledge in Omaheke Namibia

Publications

Publications (115)
Conference Paper
Designing for oral users in economically poor settings has intensified efforts in developing asynchronous voice platforms for cellphones. Often these aim to assist users in rural areas where literacy is lowest, but there are few empirical studies and design tends to be oriented by theory that contrasts the mental functions of oral and literate user...
Article
Current human–computer interaction (HCI) paradigms are deeply rooted in a Western epistemology that attests its partiality and bias of its embedded assumptions, values, definitions, techniques, and derived frameworks and models. Thus tensions created between local cultures and HCI principles require researchers to pursue a more critical research ag...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Time is a key aspect of cross-cultural ICT4D research and practice, but rarely the focus of discussion. In this paper we, a group of researchers with diverse backgrounds and residences, aim to open up a dialogue about how different conceptualizations of time affect cross-cultural ICT4D research. We do this by reflecting on our long-term participato...
Article
We consider practices that sustain social and physical environments beyond those dominating sustainable HCI. We describe links between walking, sociality and using resources in a case -study of community-based, solar, cellphone charging in villages in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Like 360 million rural Africans, inhabitants of these villages are po...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a rural African community’s interactions in recording and interpreting video on herb lore in our endeavours to design digital systems that extend sharing knowledge in a system of traditional medicine (TM). Designing for such a system involves reflecting on own narratives about medicine and media and recognising that narratives reflect “...
Chapter
Eurocentric paradigms for technology continue to dominate in Africa yet can impede digital transformation by perpetuating senses of inferiority in societies that have endured colonialism and apartheid. This chapter describes how an African creative pedagogy, Mandhwane, is enabling inhabitants of Mamaila, in rural South Africa, to negotiate the mean...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The feld of digital mental health is making strides in the application of technology to broaden access to care. We critically examine how these technology-mediated forms of care might amplify historical injustices, and erase minoritized experiences and expressions of mental distress and illness. We draw on decolonial thought and critiques of identi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We analyse some of the ways that English shapes technology production in Namibia by critically reflecting on translations in designing the first fully bilingual Oshindonga website. We show that English, and symbols linked to English, perform in technologists' lifeworlds, felt-experiences and identities. Our reflections add to literature on mismatch...
Conference Paper
We explored how teaching and learning programming can be made at home in Namibian university students' existing practices with their phones. We analysed practices that emerged in using WhatsApp group chat amongst 219 students registered for a first-year programming course. We also analysed responses by a small sample of 22 students to a questionnai...
Book
Full-text available
The 2018 edition of GISWatch focuses on local access models, specifically, community networks as self-organised, self-managed or locally developed solutions for local access, based on the conviction that one of the keys to affordable access is giving local people the skills and tools to solve their own connectivity challenges. Instead of buying an...
Article
Being in nature is often regarded to be calming, relaxing and purifying. While technology has the potential to support engagement with nature, developing systems that provide support in an unobtrusive manner holds many challenges for interaction design. In this article, the authors describe their reflections around the NatureCHI workshop series. Th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Being in nature is often regarded to be calming, relaxing and purifying. While technology has the potential to support engagement with nature, developing systems that provide support in an unobtrusive manner holds many challenges for interaction design. In this article, the articles describe their reflections around the NatureCHI workshop series. T...
Conference Paper
The organisers of this SIG wish to disrupt CHI's frenetic schedule by offering attendees time and space for collective silence and shared group reflection. Our aim in doing so is to put into action some of the theories and methods already being used in and by the HCI community-e.g. mindfulness [3], reflective design [10], and slow design [8]-and to...
Preprint
Full-text available
We aim to bring together a number of researchers to share their stories and discuss opportunities for improvement in research practice with Third Sector Organisations such as charities, NGOs, and other not-for-profit organisations. Through these discussions, we will develop a framework for good practice, providing guidance on conducting research wi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Being in nature is typically regarded to be calming, relaxing and purifying. When in nature, people often seek to be mobile through physical activity such as hiking. But also, nature provides an opportunity for meditative, mindful or inspiring experiences remote from urban everyday life. Mobile Technologies such as sports tracking technologies, ele...
Poster
Full-text available
CFP for the inaugural African Human Computer Interaction Conference (AfriCHI), which will take place in beautiful Kenya, between 21st and 25th November 2016 . AfriCHI will be hosted by the University of Nairobi. The aim of AfriCHI is to widen the international participation of Africans in the practise and study of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In many parts of Africa, as elsewhere, women are underrepresented in undergraduate and graduate computing degree programs and there are gender inequalities in the workplace in computing fields. Women face challenges ranging from inexperience, poor social and economic background, culture, access to resources and discrimination. This poster is a crit...
Conference Paper
This one-day workshop considers responses and creates alternatives to practices that produce asymmetries between colonised and colonising peoples and imagines a decolonised technology design. It introduces post-colonial and anti-colonial approaches to the legacies of colonialism and imperialism that frame contemporary technology design, with a spec...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This panel is an extension of a one-day workshop on the same topic. We aim to inspire conversation on how existing asymmetries between former colonised and colonising peoples, affect technology design. With a focus on African technology design, this panel will discuss definitions, implications and experiences that emerge from neo-colonisation, deco...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ridesharing has become a hot topic in research and in the media, largely because of the recent rise of platforms like Lyft and Uber. Yet shared taxis and paratransit services have played central roles in many African countries' transport systems for years. We conducted an ethnographic study of shared taxis in Windhoek, Namibia, to understand how ri...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper unveils the complexity of gender dynamics by reflecting on lessons learned in Zenzeleni Networks and provides a different perspective to notions of "participation" by asking "who participates and how?" The paper employs a feminist conceptual framework, particularly social constructionist theory and intersectionality, to understand women'...
Book
http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2998581&picked=prox&CFID=697739422&CFTOKEN=31442599
Poster
In many parts of Africa, as elsewhere, women are underrepresented in undergraduate and graduate computing degree programs and there are gender inequalities in the workplace in computing fields. Women face challenges ranging from inexperience, poor social and economic background, culture, access to resources and discrimination. This poster is a crit...
Article
Digital tools for User Generated Content (UGC) aim to enable people to interact with media in conversational and creative ways that are independent of technology producers or media organisations. In this article we describe two case studies in South Africa that show that UGC is not simply something tied to technology or the internet but emerges in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Being in nature is typically regarded to be calming, relaxing and purifying. When in nature, people often seek physical activity like hiking, or meditative, mindful or inspiring experiences remote from the urban everyday life. However, the modern lifestyle easily extends technology use to all sectors of our everyday life, and e.g. the rise of sport...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We reflect on long trials of two prototype social media systems in rural South Africa and their biases towards certain communication practices on information sharing. We designed the systems to assist people in low-income communities to share locally relevant information. Both involve communal displays, to record, store and share media, and users c...
Article
Efforts to design voice-based, social media platforms for low-literacy communities in developing countries have not widened access to information in the ways intended. This article links this to who describes the relations that constitute personhood and how these relations are expressed in designing and deploying systems. I make these links oriente...
Conference Paper
We claim that digital platforms designed for people in low-income, low-literacy rural communities to share locally relevant, voice-based content did not widen dissemination because they were incompatible with the nuances of cooperation. We base this on a long-term study of interactions with prototypes to record, store and share voice files via a po...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Designing, developing and deploying technologies with local African communities involves a rapport and trust beyond predefined and agreed upon project goals. Pur-suing an agenda for community-driven development involves prioritizing and recognizing the role of commu-nity members as co-designers and co-researchers. Constraints on time, resources and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We are proposing a SIG as an extended forum to build a sustainable network and resource repository for practitioners and researchers engaged in community centered collaborative design in developing countries. In structured discussions and an open cross-cultural dialogue, we attempt to build a practical and theoretical foundation based on success an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We will discuss the topic of collaboration within local communities. Five panelists will share their experiences in engaging in community-based par-ticipatory designs and research of interactive systems. The panel discussion will seek to enrich our understanding, guidelines and practices in collaborating with underserved communities.
Article
We consider practices that sustain social and physical environments beyond those dominating sustainable HCI discourse. We describe links between walking, sociality, and using resources in a case study of community-based, solar, cellphone charging in villages in South Africa's Eastern Cape. Like 360 million rural Africans, inhabitants of these villa...
Conference Paper
Nadkarni and Hofman's [8] meta-review of literature on Facebook usage recommends examining differences in Facebook use between collectivistic and individualistic cultures. We discuss early findings of an exploratory study to compare use between participants in America, Namibia, and expatriate Namibians. From this, we identified five key areas of di...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The computing for development community knows that tech- nology interventions involve consideration of social, technical and environmental factors. Research into WiFi solutions has fallen off as ubiquitous mobile solutions penetrate even the deepest rural communities worldwide. This paper argues that the latest wave of WiFi mesh networks offers ben...
Article
n isiXhosa, the home language in Eastern Cape, South Africa, “Sihamba sobabini” means, literally, “We are walking together,” but figuratively, “Are we still on the same page?” Such translations juxtapose ways in which we make meaning by interacting with representations of the world, on paper or screens, or, as Tim Ingold writes, by “going along” th...
Conference Paper
There are mismatches between indigenous knowledge (IK) and the media, representations and abstractions used to gather and depict IK in an increasing number of projects in Africa. We describe new studies that continue our efforts to digitally extend local IK pedagogy in healing with plants in Namibia. We used two novel, technological tools to explor...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
To converge social and mobile technology we use temporal and spatial points, not the trace between them. Yet, we make meaning in the world in the walking along that forges the trace. I reflect on disconnects between technologies and walking we observed in rural Namibia. These insights inspired both a new design concept, which recognizes that pace i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the work done thus far towards designing a sustainable business model for ruraltelephony in the community of Mankosi, located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Thepillars of the model are sustainability and community ownership to design both the wireless meshnetwork providing the telephony service and its business mo...
Article
In this paper, we illustrate through a set of examples how our own conceptualisation of participatory design (PD) and associated tools and techniques transforms within the design process itself. Co-designing with African rural communities has brought to light our many assumptions and intentions underlying commonly used methods and principles of PD....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We describe designing an asynchronous, oral repository and sharing system that we intend to suit the needs and practices of rural residents in South Africa. We aim to enable users without access to personal computers to record, store, and share information within their Xhosa community using cellphones and a tablet PC combined with their existing fa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT: "Nadkarni and Hofman’s meta-review of literature on Facebook usage recommends examining differences in Facebook use between collectivistic and individualistic cultures. We discuss early findings of an exploratory study to compare use between participants in America, Namibia, and expatriate Namibians. From this, we identified five key area...
Article
This special issue contains a few of the many papers that were presented at the first Indigenous Knowledge Technology Conference (IKTC2011) in November 2011, in Windhoek, Namibia. We created IKTC2011 in order to pursue a critical dialogue about tensions associated with representing and disseminating indigenous knowledge (IK) digitally and involving...
Conference Paper
This is the proceedings of the Indigenous Knowledge Technology Conference, (IKTC 2011) in Windhoek, Namibia. The aim of the conference was to pursue a critical dialogue that considers the tensions arising in representing indigenous knowledge digitally and the factors that contribute to these tensions. Through this we intend to identify opportunitie...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This one-day workshop aims to present different local and indigenous perspectives from all over the world in order to lead into an international dialogue on re-framing concepts and models in HCI/Interaction Design. The target audience is HCI researchers and practitioners who have experience with working with culture and HCI. The expected outcome of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Current views of sustainable development recognize the importance of accepting the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of rural people. However, there is an increasing technological gap between Elder IK holders and the younger generation and a persistent incompatibility between IK and the values, logics and literacies embedded, and supported by ICT. Here, we...
Article
Designing interactions with technologies that are compatible with rural wisdom and skills can help to digitally enfranchise rural people and, thus, contribute to community cohesion in the face of Africa's urbanization. Oral information has been integral to rural identity and livelihood in Africa for generations. However, the use of technology can i...
Article
We reflect on the methods, activities and perspectives we used to situate digital storytelling in two rural African communities in South Africa and Kenya. We demonstrate how in-depth ethnography in a village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and a design workshop involving participants from that village allowed us to design a prototype mobile dig...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we report findings generated during the early phase of a research project that aims to design and develop social media sharing systems to benefit marginalized communities. Studies of cell-phone network users in the developing world have shown that the relatively high tariffs for network access have resulted in new and innovate uses of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we explore the concept of participatory design from a different viewpoint by drawing on an African philosophy of humanness -Ubuntu-, and African rural community practices. The situational dynamics of participatory interaction become obvious throughout the design experiences within our community project. Supported by a theoretical fra...
Article
Full-text available
Eliciting and analyzing requirements within knowledge systems, which fundamentally differ so far from technology supported systems represent particular challenges. African rural communities’ life is deeply rooted in an African Indigenous knowledge system manifested in their practices such as Traditional Medicine. We describe our endeavors to elicit...
Article
Full-text available
There is a need to design tools that richly support an ubuntu identity for South Africa to enable local people to reproduce their own system of social capital. Social capital involves recognizing and responding to patterns of conduct within social relations, which contain meanings about personhood or concepts about self. The concept of ubuntu in Ng...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we examine how digital technology can be used to inspire, record and present oral stories in an African context. In particular we explore how to create technologies that are sympathetic to the cultures of the storytellers, both in the capture of stories and their retelling. Specifically, we look at: inspiring stories in District Six i...
Article
Human computer interaction (HCI) has little explored everyday life and enriching experiences in rural, wilderness and other predominantly “natural” places despite their socioeconomic importance. Beyond simply addressing the challenge arising from applying an urban perspective to designing technologies for use in natural places, we wish to provoke i...
Article
Localizing interaction design in Africa is critical for improving usability and user experience for African populations. Competition for enrolling in information technology in Southern Africa as part of higher and tertiary education is often severe, and with positive employment policies for Africans or nationals there is little shortage of IT emplo...
Conference Paper
We describe and reflect on a method we used to evaluate usability and give insights on situated use of a mobile digital storytelling prototype. We report on rich data we gained by implementing this method and argue that we were able to learn more about our prototype, users, their needs, and their context, than we would have through other evaluation...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We reflect on activities to design a mobile application to enable rural people in South Africa's Eastern Cape to record and share their stories, which have implications for 'cross-cultural design,' and the wider use of stories in design. We based our initial concept for generating stories with audio and photos on cell-phones on a scenario informed...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), especially those based at the community level, have been identified as pivotal tools in the field of social economic development. They are known to have structured frameworks through which they dispense their programs to achieve desired results. However, ICT4D practitioners (researchers and technologist) have...
Article
Full-text available
We present our experience of gender as female ICT4D researchers. We highlight our field experiences and comment on our perceptions of how being a woman and performing our female identity has influenced our own ICT4D research. We discuss how gender tensions are further compounded by the researcher's own physical and social characteristics, such as r...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
An increasing range of initiatives aim to enable rural communities in developing regions to generate their own, non-text based, digital content to share local stories, information and concerns. Video, photos and audio offer new resources for practices that give communities’ a sense of identity and continuity and that members acquire in relationship...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This full day workshop explores how insights from artefacts, created during data collecting and analysis, are translated into prototypes. It is particularly concerned with getting closer to people's experience of shaping a design space. The workshop draws inspiration from data-products resulting from interactions in natural, unbuilt places with the...
Conference Paper
We reflect upon participation in design processes by people who emphasise 'primary orality', or direct, face-to-face, unmediated communication, due to their rural locations in places with low technology ambiance and cultural antecedents. We focus on issues and relationships between rural contexts and primary orality of relevance to our projects wit...
Article
With the proliferation of global information and communications technologies (ICT), the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations. Yet, from ecological and social perspectives, connecting people and communities to their immediate environment is now more urgent than ever. In this paper we show how an Indigenous led initiative reach...
Conference Paper
Requirements gathering for design in rural and remote areas needs to be considered within the prevailing cultural context. We explain our use of video as a technological site for cultural encounters during the preparatory elicitation of cultural influences and determinants. We outline the factors leading to the development of a co-generative approa...
Conference Paper
We propose that grounding documentaries can help designers to respond to non-western, non-urban spatial infrastructures. We describe locally-produced, in vivo video methods developed by indigenous Elders in Australia to persist and transfer their Traditional Knowledge and the specific use-case of a documentary on fire. The culturally-situated natur...
Article
1.ABSTRACT We propose to refocus attention on spatiality in game experiences by considering its connection with qualities of place in game- worlds and gamesas places for players. Werespon d to phenomena of game geography; such as the role of player movement in games and mapping of movements to immersion, and designers’ attention to players navigati...
Article
Full-text available
One of the open questions in information behavior research is as to how, and to what extent, the human body 'mediates' exposure to and interaction with the complex information environment that is the real world. In this paper we contribute a relevant observation made during field experiments with mobile guides. We also provide possible explanations...