A rich body of research is dedicated to exploring the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) with minority cultures. Participatory media practices such as digital storytelling and participatory video have been employed in development work in these contexts, with purposes ranging from freeing voices and fostering creative expression to advocacy for community problems, community networking or documentation of traditional knowledge. This article explores the potential of ICTs for supporting minority voices, especially as part of community media initiatives where local people are directly involved in the production of digital content on locally-relevant themes. The main argument put forward is that a fair integration of ICTs for fostering grassroots expression in minority contexts needs to build on a deep understanding of the existing realities, and be managed through the direct participation of the people. This argument is supported by presenting empirical data from a content production project involving a Romani community. The case is based on a methodological framework that combines ethnographic and Participatory Action Research principles and techniques embedded in the design of the content production experience. The empirical data from this case are further used to examine three propositions regarding community participation in content production, focusing on: the opportunities and challenges of embedding content creation initiatives in the local infrastructure, using traditional socialization and communication patterns; the sense of community ownership derived by involving people in the design of the initiative; and the possibilities of defining participation patterns for intergenerational groups.
|Keywords:||Community Media, Minority Cultures, Participatory Content Production, ICTD, ICTs for Development, Open Content Creation|
PhD Student, Technology-Enhanced Communication Laboratory, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Ticino, Switzerland
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