Collaboration in international communities

At SXSW Interactive 2008, yours truly (Ana Boa-Ventura) will be along with Prentiss Riddle (CoLab, UT-Portugal partnership) in the panel strangely entitled:

Redrum in the Rue Morgue: collaboration in international communities

Besides the obvious nods to Jack Nicholson and Edgar Allan Poe, what is this panel about? Read about it and if you’re in Austin, join us in room 6 – Saturday March 8th, at 3:30PM. We will discuss collaboration in international communities under four perspectives:

  • user-interface and information and visualization design;
  • the 50x 15 Initiative (One Laptop per Child);
  • Second Life and (empirical) observations of cultural preferences in web 2.0;
  • cultural models in game design.

These to be brought to you by, respectively, Aaron Marcus (President, AM+A), Steve Howard (Senior Manager, 50×15 Initiative – AMD and secretary & treasurer, 50×15 Foundation), Prentiss Riddle ( Sr Systems Analyst, IC² Institute UT-Austin and CoLab, UT-Portugal partnership), and Tim Landgell, PhD (Lead Faculty for Videogames, Department of Media, National University )

…and moderated by Ana Boa-Ventura (PhD candidate, U.T. and Associate Director, UT-Portugal partnership, Digital Media).

See you there!

Meet me at SXSW Interactive!

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2 Responses to Collaboration in international communities

  1. riddle says:

    Ana has asked me to post a bit about what I plan to cover in my talk.

    My main point is a pretty simple one. I like to see some give and take on a SXSW panel, so for the sake of discussion I am going to make the argument that reliance on cultural models is dangerous. My inclination is to drop the models as quickly and possible and go to actual users and data, and secondarily to informants who have close experience with actual users, in order to focus on “ground truth” rather than cultural generalities.

    It’s true that we all approach a user community with preconceptions, and being aware of the models we are using can both expose our hidden assumptions and help us ask the right questions. So if the model (whether a formal one like Hofstede’s cultural dimensions or an informal one like cultural stereotypes) says that we should expect behavior X and constraint Y from a given community, some of my first questions to the users and to the data would be intended to test our expectations for X and Y.

    It should be fun to see how my fellow panelists respond to that friendly provocation! :-) See you there.

  2. riddle says:

    Update: the panel went off as planned and a good time was had by all (thanks, Ana!)

    My presentation is available online:

    And the podcast can be found at:

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