Tim Unwin focuses on current work at the CTO, where his own personal contributions focus especially on the use of ICTs by people with disabilities.
Many of those engaged in using information and communication technologies for development in the early 2000s saw them as being an opportunity through which profoundly different social, economic and political structures could be created, that would in some way generate a fairer, more equitable global system. Recent rapid expansion in the use of mobile technologies and social media has convinced a newer generation of researchers and practitioners that this project is still on track. In this seminar, Tim Unwin will draw on his experiences at the boundaries between theory and practice, to explore whether such optimism is indeed justified. Themes that he will (probably) address include notions of empowerment, poverty, political violence, and challenges of implementing effective ‘development’ interventions. The seminar will draw particularly on some of his current work at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, where his own personal contributions focus especially on the use of ICTs by people with disabilities as well as on skills development and entrepreneurship, but he will also take a longer term perspective that builds (almost invisibly) on his early work as a medieval historical geographer.