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DigitalNWT: Codesigning community networking literacies with rural/remote Northern Indigenous communities in Northwest Territories, Canada with Dr. Rob McMahon, University of Alberta

Via Zoom 

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Persistent digital divides exist between Northern and Southern Canada, and among communities in Northern Canada. Along with large-scale commercial telecommunications projects, locally designed and deployed networks offer potential solutions to improve connectivity. Community Networks involve residents in the deployment, ownership, and control of digital infrastructures – though such efforts also face many challenges. In this presentation Dr. McMahon will introduce DigitalNWT, a participatory action research initiative focused on these issues. After an overview of DigitalNWT’s research, education and policy engagement activities, he will discuss the process that was used to codesign community networking resources with residents of rural/remote NWT communities – an orientation that reflects their desires for more ownership and control over digital infrastructures. McMahon will then end by considering the limitations of this approach and suggest lessons learned for future projects.

Dr. Rob McMahon is an Associate Professor in the Media & Technology Studies Unit and the Department of Political Science in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. Dr. McMahon’s research focuses on the development, adoption, and use of broadband and internet technologies by rural, Northern, and Indigenous communities. His approach involves working with communities in all stages of research, and he and his partners are also involved in efforts to contribute to digital policy and regulation.