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Internet Researchers' Conference 2018 (IRC18): Offline - Call for Sessions

Posted by P.P. Sneha at Sep 20, 2017 01:15 PM |
Does being offline necessarily mean being disconnected? Beyond anxieties such as FOMO, being offline is also seen as disengagement from a certain milieu of the digital (read: capital), an impediment to the way life is organised by and around technologies in general. However, being offline is not the exception, as examples of internet shutdown and acts on online censorship illustrate the persistence and often alarming regularity of the offline even for the ‘connected’ sections of the population. The *offline* is the theme of the third Internet Researchers' Conference (IRC18). We invite teams of two or more members to submit sessions proposals by Sunday, November 19 (final deadline). The session selection process is described below. The Conference will be hosted by the Sambhaavnaa Institute of Public Policy and Politics (Kandbari, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh) on February 22-24, 2018.

 

IRC18: Offline

Call for Sessions

Proposed Sessions (Conference Website)

Sambhaavnaa Institute of Public Policy and Politics (External Link)


IRC18: Offline

Does being offline necessarily mean being disconnected? Beyond anxieties such as FOMO, being offline is also seen as disengagement from a certain milieu of the digital (read: capital), an impediment to the way life is organised by and around technologies in general. However, being offline is not the exception, as examples of internet shutdown and acts on online censorship illustrate the persistence and often alarming regularity of the offline even for the ‘connected’ sections of the population.

State and commercial providers of internet and telecommunication services work in tandem to produce both the “online” and the “offline” - through content censorship, internet regulation, generalised service provision failures, and so on. Further, efforts to prioritise the use of digital technologies for financial transactions, especially since demonetisation, has led to a not-so-subtle equalisation of the ‘online economy’ with the ‘formal economy’; thus recognising the offline as the zones of informality, corruption, and piracy. This contributes to the offline becoming invisible, and in many cases, illegal, rather than being recognised as a condition that necessarily informs what it means to be digital.

Who is offline, and is it a choice? The global project of bringing people online has spurred several commendable initiatives in expanding access to digital devices, networks, and content, and often contentious ones such as Free Basics / internet.org, which illustrate the intersectionalities of scale, privilege, and rights that we need to be mindful of when we imagine the offline. Further, the experience of the internet, for a large section of people is often mediated through prior and ongoing experiences of traditional media, and through cultural metaphors and cognitive frames that transcend more practical registers such as consumption and facilitation. How do we approach, study, and represent this disembodied internet – devoid of its hypertext, platforms, devices, it's nuts and bolts, but still tangible through engagement in myriad, personal and often indiscernible ways.

For the third edition of the Internet Researchers’ Conference (IRC18), we invite participants to critically discuss the *offline*. We invite sessions that present or propose academic, applied, creative, or technical works that explore social, economic, cultural, political, infrastructural, or aesthetic dimensions of the *offline*.

For example, the sessions may explore one or more of the following themes:

  • Geographies of internet access: Infrastructural, socio-political, and discursive forces and contradictions
  • Terms, objects, metaphors, and events of the internet and their offline remediation and circulation
  • Minimal computing, maker cultures, and digital collaboration and creativity in the offline
  • Offline economic cultures and transition towards less-cash economy
  • Offline as democratic choice: the right to offline lives in the context of global debates on privacy, surveillance, and data justice
  • Methodologies of studying the *offline* at the intersections of offline and online lives

Please note that the above are not sub-themes or tracks under which a session should be proposed, but are illustrations of possible session themes and concerns.

 

Call for Sessions

We invite teams of two or more members to propose sessions for IRC18. All sessions will be one and half hours long, and will be fully designed and facilitated by the team concerned, including moderation (if any). Please remember this when planning the session. Everything happening during the session, except for logistical support, will be led and managed by the session team.

The sessions are expected to drive conversations on the topic concerned. They may include presentation of research papers but this is not mandatory.

We look forward to sessions that involve collaborative work (either in groups or otherwise), including discussions, interactions, documentation, learning, and making, are most welcome.

We also look forward to sessions conducted in Indic languages. The proposing team, in such a case, should consider how participants who do not understand the language concerned may engage with the session. IRC organisers and other participants shall help facilitate these sessions, say by offering translation support.

The only eligibility criteria for proposing sessions are that they must be proposed by a team of at least two members, and that they must engage with the *offline*.

The deadline for submission of sessions proposals for IRC18 is Sunday, November 19 (final deadline).

To propose a session, please send the following documents (as attached text files) to [email protected]:

  • Title of the Session: The session should be named in the form of a hashtag (check the IRC17 selected sessions for example).
  • Context of the Session: This should be a 300 words note discussing the context, the motivations, and the expectations behind the proposed session.
  • Session Plan: This should describe the objectives of the session, what will be done and discussed during the session, and who among the people organising the session will be responsible for what. This note need not be more than 300 words long. If your session involves inviting others to present their work (say papers), then please provide a description and timeline of the process through which these people will be identified.
  • Session Team Details: Please share brief biographic notes of each member of the session team, and contact details.

There is no registration fee for the Conference, but participants are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation (to be organised by CIS) expenses. Limited funding will be available to support travel and accommodation expenses of few participants who are unemployed or under-employed.

Session selection process:

  • November 19: Deadline of submission of session proposals.All submitted sessions will be posted on the CIS website, along with the names and details of the session team members.
  • November 20 - December 17: Open review period. All session teams, as well as other interested contributors, are invited to review and comment upon each other's submitted proposals and revise their own. Read the proposed sessions here: Conference Website.
  • December 18-31: The selection process takes place. All session teams will select 10 sessions to be included in the IRC18 programme. The votes will be anonymous, that is no session team will know which other sessions have voted for their session.
  • January 08: Announcement of selected sessions.
  • February 22-24: IRC18 at Sambhaavnaa Institute!

 

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Author

P.P. Sneha

Sneha is Programme Officer with the Researchers at Work (RAW) programme at CIS. She is engaged in a mapping of the emergent field of Digital Humanities in India, and is also interested in questions on the nature of textuality, reading, and writing practices in the digital sphere. She can be reached at sneha[at]cis-india[dot]org.