Understanding Sustained Community Engagement: A Case Study in Heritage Preservation in Rural Argentina

  • Balestrini M
  • Bird J
  • Marshall P
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HCI projects are increasingly evaluating technologies in the wild, which typically involves working with communities over extended periods, often with the goal of effecting sus- tainable 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 develop- ing 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 memo- ries 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 lo- cal school integrated digital storytelling into its curriculum; the approach has been adopted by two nearby towns; and the project has influenced regional government educational pol- icy.

Author-supplied keywords

  • HCI4D
  • action research
  • community engagement
  • digital storytelling
  • research in the wild

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  • Mara Balestrini

  • Jon Bird

  • Paul Marshall

  • Alberto Zaro

  • Yvonne Rogers

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