using #ThisMyMob

TiwiJuly2018
trial participants at Wurrumiyanga get set up with #ThisMyMob

During July, five Indigenous communities have begun pilot-testing the first release version of the #ThisMyMob smartphone app. Chris, Joel, Tuck, Aimee and Greg have held workshops in Sydney (Eora and Jumbunna communities), Portland (Gunditjmara), Lombadina (Bard) and Bathurst Island (Tiwi). Community members are now using the app in a pilot study that will run for several months. Already, mobs in diverse regions of Australia are connecting through this exciting new technology.

Workshop at OzCHI 2017

Chris, Tuck and Aimee at OzCHI 2017, Brisbane
Chris, Tuck and Aimee at OzCHI 2017, Brisbane

Chris, Tuck, Aimee and Greg hosted a full-day workshop on Digital Land Rights and Reconnecting Indigenous Communities at OzCHI 2017, Brisbane, on Tuesday 28th November. It was a great success, with talks by Prof. Paul Dourish, Prof. Michael Christie, A/Profs. Chris Lawrence and Tuck Leong, Jennyfer Taylor, Dr Dana Bradford, Aimee Woods, Dr Sojen Pradhan and Dr Greg Wadley. The day closed with a discussion on “How can Irani et al.’s ‘Postcolonial Computing’ perspective inform our research?” We plan to host similar workshops at future OzCHI conferences.

Fieldwork in Four Communities

Chris, Tuck and Greg with participants at Wurrumiyanga
Chris, Tuck and Greg with participants at Wurrumiyanga

During Oct-Dec 2017 Chris, Tuck and Greg conducted the first round of fieldwork for the #thismymob project. We faciliated design workshops in a range of Aboriginal communities that represent some of the diversity of Indigenous Australia – from the remote communities of Lombadina (on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome, WA) and Wurrumiyanga (in the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin, NT), to the regional community of Portland (the Gunditjmara people of western Victoria) and finally to urban Sydney.

Workshop at the Sydney Opera House.
Workshop at the Sydney Opera House.

We learned a lot about how people use an array of digital technologies to address the challenges they face in daily life. We discussed how the #thismymob platform could provide a useful addition to this existing array of technologies and how it should be designed to be tailored to the needs and empowerment of Indigenous communities. Participants affirmed a need for a safe space for Indigenous users. The #thismymob project received strong support, and we collectively agreed on a tentative design.

We plan next to create a working prototype and deploy it for trial in mid 2018.

Designing in Darwin

Steven Bird organized a Workshop on Technology and Wellbeing in the Top End in Darwin in April. Steven, Chris Lawrence and Greg Wadley of the University of Melbourne traveled to Darwin to work with representatives of Indigenous groups, researchers from Charles Darwin University and Batchelor Institute, and local and interstate app developers, to explore possibilities for technology to improve health and wellbeing in northern Australia.

Steven presenting
Steven presenting
Co-design workshop
Co-design workshop
Group presenting their design
Group presenting their design

Welcome to #thismymob

#thismymob is an Australian- and Indigenous-led international project, based at UTS and the University of Melbourne, that aims to design and evaluate technologies that “close the gap” by improving the health, wellbeing and connectedness of Indigenous peoples.