BBH2022 Round Table on Digital and Inclusive City

How do we go beyond an inclusive digital city?” is the title of a round table session presented at the Bandung-Belgrade-Havana International Conference in Bandung (Indonesia) on November 09, 2022. It is a group work on digital culture and the city developed by scholars from different institutions and fields from France, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. The work presented multicultural aspects of city thought in its digital forms and inclusive models and conditions.

The International Conference was organized by colleagues from the GRIC research laboratory at Le Havre Normandy University, the National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia, Universitas Padjadjaran Bandung, Universitas Airlangga Surabaya and Universitas Udayana Bali, with the participation of hundreds of scholars from 54 countries, from 07 to November 14, 2022, in Indonesia. It has Patronage Board, Honorary Board and Scientific Board; and three committees: International Organising Committee, National Organising Committee (Indonesia) and Local Organising Committee (Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Bali).

The authors of the collective round table were Dorien Kartikawangi (1), Nia Sarinastiti (2), Rowena Capulong Reyes (3), Jantima Kheokao (4), Monvadee Siripremruedee (5) Célia Matsunaga (6), Nayara Moreno (7), Virginia Tiradentes (8), and Hadi Saba Ayon (9).

Digital has taken over the city, thanks to its network of infrastructures, dematerialized services (e-administration, e-commerce), and of course, uses that strongly redraw the way of living today. How does the digital culture modify the structure of the city, its space, and its living forms? How to inhabit the physical and digital environments of the city? The city does not have one definition or model. However, it has one common characteristic: gathering people in a specific place with a central authority. In his essay Two linguistic models of the city (Deux modèles linguistiques de la cité), Emile Beneviste (1974) exploits an opposition between the Roman and Greek versions of the city. In Latin, the word “civis” indicates a relationship of reciprocity and interdependence between two individuals or groups. Its correct translation is not “citizen” but “fellow citizen”.
In Greek, the word “polis” defines citizens and citizenship. “Polis” specifies the rules of membership, the rights of participation in the city’s activity, and what results from it: the responsibility and privileges linked to citizenship. The differentiation between the two words, the two models, draws limits between full participation in the city and a confident presence.
What about the citizens and their participation in the digital city? How to include those who do not belong to the city, transformed continuously by digital technology and reshaped in its space, architecture and role? Milad Doueihi wrote about a “new virtual urbanism” (2011) that has become our refuge and the space for our activities. It has its architecture, aesthetics, values, literature and agents. According to him, it constitutes hybrid urbanism inhabited by traces, documents, and fragments but also animated by the voice and the body, by a different temporality, or a new culture. According to Philippe Vidal (2018), digital technology creates territorial differentiation (between spaces) and social differentiation within the same space, for example, within the same city. The city’s digitalization increases the possibilities for making society more inclusive, but the “smart city” generates many obstacles and risks of exclusion for diverse individuals and populations.

The round table, divided into two sessions, questioned how digital technology’s social and cultural uses redefine everyday life’s diverse practices. It brought two topics from Indonesia: the first addresses the need for social participation in sustainable, inclusive cities. It discusses three main interrelated: city and differences, sustainable city, and inclusive city. It talked about how digital technology creates connectivity and transforms services and culture.

The second topic questioned how can business become inclusive in the digital era and highlighted inclusive services design at the heart of a government’s mission that can help tackle complex issues and build trust with customers/citizens more effectively. It talked about inclusiveness, connecting the city with business. In addition, when an innovation mindset is six times higher in the “most-equal” cultures – workplace environments, it helps everyone attain higher positions – compared to the “least-equal”.

Another topic from the Philippines presented Manila as a smart city and discussed the digital social participation of its inhabitants. It talked about the city of Manila on Facebook, showing how users/inhabitants engage with the city and its information. It gave an example using data from October 25 to 31, 2022, showing that Tourism, Culture and Arts are the highest engagements, followed by Disaster and Risk Services. It pointed out that good governance in a digital space is also brought to the fore. It concluded with a C.I.T.Y proposal to achieve the full potential of a highly engaged digital city based on developing Consistency, Inclusivity, Training and Yield.

From Brazil, three presentations evoked the city’s artistic, commercial and educational aspects. The first deals with structuring the Brazilian handicraft management system and comprises diagnosis and strategic planning. One of the several aspects raised in this work is the need to increase the insertion and use of digital technology in the feasibility of formalizing and training artisans and marketing via e-commerce of the artefacts they produce.

The second discusses a unified virtual space for art and crafts exhibitions. It suggests a mobile application where artisans and artists can promote their work and get in touch with customers.

Moreover, as the city in the Amazon region can take the form of villages inhabited by indigenous communities, the third topic seeks to evaluate the process of indigenous Education, considering the use of technological devices. It discusses implementing an indigenous virtual library model that will assist elementary and high school students based on crafts productions of the Munduruku of Bragança indigenous group.
Furthermore, a final presentation from Thailand brought to the debate a special touch: Discussing the city from the point of view of colours and talking about the Thai colour scheme that connotes Thai identity in packaging design for brand communication.

The Bandung-Belgrade-Havana International Conference is a part of the Bandung Spirit Conference Series, community-based conferences organised around the Bandung Spirit Ideals. It is conceived as a shared space based on a common concern on global issues among international scholars, activists of social movements, academic institutions and public services inspired by the Bandung Spirit. It is a collective work to formulate recommendations to be submitted to world political leaders. In addition to sharing academic works, speakers and participants are supposed to participate in elaborating the recommendations.

  • 1) School of Communication, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia.
  • 2) School of Communication, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia.
  • 3) Institute of Arts and Science, Far Eastern University, the Philippines.
  • 4) Department of Communication Arts, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thailand.
  • 5) Monvadee Siripremruedee
  • 6) Faculty of Communication, University of Brasilia, Brazil.
  • 7) Department of Design, University of Brasilia, Brazil.
  • 8) Department of Design, University of Brasilia, Brazil.
  • 9) UMR 6266 CNRS IDÉES, Le Havre Normandy University, France.
  • Presentations from Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil and Thailand on the digital and inclusive city at the BBH 2022 International Conference in Bandung-Indonesia.
  • In the plenary session of the BBH 2022 International Conference in Bandung: “NEFOS IS BACK!” (BRICS, NAM AND OTHER EMERGING FORCES IN A GLOBAL RESTRUCTURING”.
  • With Beatriz Bissio (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), Marina Shilina (the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in Moscow), Azzah Kania Budianto and Sayf Muhammad Alaydrus (Universitas Airlangga in Surabaya and Secretariat of BBH International Conference), Rowena Capulong Reyes (FEU-Manila), Dorien Kartikawangi and Nia Sarinastiti (Atma Jaya-Jakarta)
    Rania Nuralfath (Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung and Secretariat of BBH International Conference).

2022 Academic Mission in the FIABIKOM at Atma Jaya-Jakarta

Three weeks as a “visiting professor” at the Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia in Jakarta was a short stay. Still, it is enough time to know this beautiful community and exchange academic knowledge, experiences, and social and cultural activities.
The Faculty of Business Administration and Communication Sciences community’s generous and friendly treatment marked my stay in the city, which mainly had stayed the same since my last visit six years ago, crowded, and heavily populated with a permanent traffic jam.
Coming from Le Havre Normandy University in France, with the full support of my research laboratory IDÉES Le Havre and its director Professor Fabien Liénard, I brought my french toolbox of works developed on Trace and digital culture. I added various works (especially North American) that I have been studying for several years on the history of the Internet, social participation and inclusion.
There are many stories to tell about my Indonesian academic mission in this text. I can spend days writing about it. Nevertheless, I want to resume my experience and limit it to the scientific work that I did.
I brought to Jakarta the questions I usually carry on understanding the digital as an environment and a culture and how the Internet was built and works. Moreover, one essential preoccupation concerns participatory culture in the digital era and how to include and empower communities to inhabit the digital and, participate in managing its systems and benefit from its advantages.
These questions travelled with me in the last ten years from France to Brazil, Indonesia, Switzerland, Thailand and now back to Indonesia. While debating these issues with Indonesian colleagues and students, I wanted to lay a foundation stone for the bridge I would like to see between Jakarta and Le Havre. How do we approximate the two institutions and create joint projects in the communication field, exporting the debate to other places, scholars and events?

The seminars, workshops and conferences I conducted were about understanding the history of the Internet, the digital culture and the political dimension of the calculation society. We questioned the history of the Internet as a body (pipes and infrastructure), a language (protocols, software and writing) and an environment (platforms and online malls), referring to the works of Ben Tarnoff, Nicole Starosielski, Emmanuel Souchier, Marcello Vitali-Rosati, Louise Merzeau and others. We treated questions related to some characteristics of the digital environment, like the trace, the hashtag, the algorithm and the role of memory in this context. We evoked some risks and challenges of the digital as cybersecurity and how to manage and archive digital traces and how we can reappropriate them.

Established on the works directed by Béatrice Galinon-Mélénec on the trace and other French scholars, we presented digital traceability as an essential character that describes digital today. We discussed the various definitions of a trace and how we can understand the digital trace and its types.
Furthermore, based on the works of Milad Doueihi on the digital, we tried to describe the cultural revolution and the technical evolution and their impacts on our societies. We referred to the work of Pauline Escande-Gauquié and Bertrand Naivin on digital culture to talk about the hashtag as a technical object and an index that allows attaching messages, users and groups. We spoke about the algorithm as a technical, strategic and political tool that dominate our communication today and create the worlds in which each lives.
We related Dominique Cardon’s book on algorithms to talk about algorithm models linked to different objectives: popularity, authority, reputation and prediction. Moreover, as the School of Communication at Atma Jaya specializes in Corporate Communication, Marketing Communication, and Media and Communication, we debate stakeholders management, network, community and market. We argue that the Internet started as networks that built communities and became markets. One of the biggest challenges we face today is reinventing the Internet for people and communities and not an Internet limited to profit.
I left Jakarta for a one-week international conference in other Indonesian cities before leaving back home. I took much affection from Atma Jaya and “orang Indonesia” (Indonesian people) and new ideas about academic collaboration that need to be developed and realized soon.
“Temanku, kita akan segera bertemu kembali”.

Communication and digital trace workshop at UTCC-Bangkok

The workshop on “Communication and digital trace: methodology, writing and memory” was intended for PhD students and organized by the Department of Communication Arts at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok.

Photos source: Supitcha Pornsuksawat.

In this workshop we tried to define what is digital culture and what are the challenges it brings to communication and to the research in this field (methodology, methods and writing).

We also questioned the accumulation of digital traces and their use for diverse purposes by different actors, their availability, accessibility, security, and preservation. We discuss questions about the memory and its characteristics in the digital era.

The content presented, based especially on French and North American works, refers to recent reflections on Internet and digital culture given by:

  • Milad Doueihi [American-Lebanese historian of religions];
  • Marcello Vitali-Rosati [Université de Montréal];
  • Dominique Cardon [French sociologist];
  • Louise Merzeau [French school on Trace – Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense];
  • Béatrice Galinon-Mélénec [French school on Trace and Founder of the e. laboratory on Human Trace Complex System Digital Campus UNESCO– Le Havre Normandy University]
  • Emmanuel Souchier [Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences de l’information et de la Communication (Celsa), Université Paris-Sorbonne]; and other academics.