Understanding sustained community engagement: A case study in heritage preservation in rural Argentina

in CHI '14 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference paper (text)

Abstract

HCI projects are increasingly evaluating technologies in the wild, which typically involves working with communities over extended periods, often with the goal of effecting sustainable change. However, there are few descriptions of projects that have been successful in the long-term. In this paper we investigate what factors are important for developing long lasting community ICT interventions. We do this by analysing a successful action research project and provide five recommendations for facilitating sustained community engagement. CrowdMemo aimed to preserve local heritage in a town in rural Argentina and the project was set up so that it could be continued by the community once researchers had left. Participants created videos about personal memories of the town and over 600 people attended the premiere where they were first screened. The impact has not just been short-term and there has been sustained engagement with the project by stakeholders in the town and wider region: The local school integrated digital storytelling into its curriculum; the approach has been adopted by two nearby towns; and the project has influenced regional government educational policy.