Disability and Technology
The research group currently engages in the SNF and SDC funded three years research project r4d (research for development) in which one Swiss and three Ugandan PhD candidates started individual research projects in March 2014. Additionally, two Swiss PhD candidates are about to begin with related research projects in Uganda and Switzerland. Another Swiss PhD candidate is finishing her dissertation in the next months. One Swiss and one Ugandan MA student aspired to start PhD projects in 2015. The project and the group Disability and Technology was advised and coordinated by four supervisors from Uganda and Switzerland.
The research group meets twice a year, in a summer and winter school, to share research results and experiences, receive scientific input from external experts and coordinate on-going and future activities.
In the proposed application, the research group as a whole requests a portion of the funding for two winter and one summer school with specific topics. The workshops are dedicated to scientific objectives and application oriented activities and are of great importance to strengthen the unity of the group and to discuss scientific and practical knowledge that helps to carry out long-term research in Uganda and Switzerland in a face-to-face setting. Furthermore, they allow for a joint preparation of the writing process of the individual dissertations. The Ethnographic Museum and the Institute for Social Anthropology and Empirical Culture Studies ISEK at the University of Zurich (former Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology) as well as the Department of Social Work and Social Administration and the Child Health and Development Centre at the Makerere University have promoted research about disability and technology over the last years. The research group would like to benefit from experts at both universities and in both settings equally.
Herewith we request for the funding of flights for Swiss students to Uganda and allowances for Ugandan students and supervisors to Switzerland.
Receiving funding for the three proposed workshops would ensure that the PhD students in the Disability & Technology group receive periodical external input and allow for crucial and regular group internal face-to-face interaction. Not only would this boost the research project as a whole (which is due to its interdisciplinarity and theoretical and applied scope rather complex), but also strengthen the cohesion of the research group. Knowledge exchange and mutual learning between the Swiss and the Ugandan members of the group is a key pillar on which this collaboration is built, not only so that the individual members can profit from each other, but also to level certain structural scientific imbalance (e.g. access to Swiss libraries, scholars etc.) between the Swiss and the Ugandan context. On the other hand, the entire group needs to have the possibility to meet in Uganda in order to develop partnership with the stakeholders and achieve their goal of capacity building. In general, it can be said, that a realisation of these three workshops support Disability & Technology in their goal to work along the KFPE principles.
On a larger scale the three workshops are an integral stepping-stone in order to achieve the overarching goals of Disability & Technology and the PhD projects in Uganda and Switzerland and would eventually contribute to an enhanced process of technology appropriation through the development of strategies and methodologies in the proposed workshops. The knowledge generated through the PhD projects are envisioned to flow into the sensitisation of critical personae involved in assistive technology transfer and knowledge gained about social and cultural implications in the respective context flew into the pilot projects.
-Mareile Flitsch, University of Zurich, Institute for Social Anthropology and Empirical Culture Studies
-Group of 6 researchers from Makerere University, Child Health and Development Centre