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International School on Digital Transformation

Applications are now open for the first International School on Digital Transformation, to be held July 19-24, 2009, at the University of Porto in Porto, Portugal. The School is accepting applications from advanced students and recent graduates from around the world with an interest in how digital technologies are changing societies and the world as a whole.

The International School on Digital Transformation will be an intensive six-day residential program, conducted in English and bringing together emerging and established scholars and professionals from around the world. During the week-long session, innovators in digital communications will serve as teachers and mentors, presenting their current projects and research and participating in discussions with advanced students and professionals beginning careers in the field. Presenters and students will be regarded as peers during the School.

The School will focus on these themes:

• Democratic transformations of society through digital media
• Innovations in transparency and political participation using new online tools
• Grassroots civic activities using digital technologies
• Building effective communities with the Internet
• Reaching out to new users with mobile and online technologies
• Prospects for digital communication in developing regions
• Digital arts and culture in a globalized, online world

The goals of the International School include:

Combining lectures on current research and innovation with practical experience, using accessible, low-cost digital technologies
Providing an informal venue for sharing expertise, perspectives, and best practices and for mentoring advanced students
Fostering a sustainable network of scholars and activists in the field of digital technology, communication and social change

The basic daily schedule will consist of one 90-minute session of lecture and discussion in the morning: free time for teachers and students to interact, converse and explore the city in the afternoon; and two more 90-minute lecture and discussion sessions in the evening, followed by a communal meal.

The confirmed speakers for the International School on Digital Transformation include:

Sunil Abraham
Director of Policy at the Center for Internet and Society, Bangalore, India; and current board member of Mahiti Infotech
Patricia Aufderheide
Professor, School of Communication, American University; director
Rui Barros
Researcher, INESC Porto
Warigia Bowman
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Policy Leadership,
University of Mississippi
Fiorella De Cindio
Associate Professor, Computer and Information Science Department,
University of Milan
Martha Fuentes-Bautista
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of
Massachusetts at Amherst
Lisa Nakamura (associate faculty)
Professor, Institute of Communication Research; Director, Asian
American Studies Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tanya Notley
Skills Building Project Leader, Tactical Technology Collective
Tapan Parikh
Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of California
at Berkeley
Tiago Peixoto
Researcher, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
Alison Powell
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University
Andrew Rasiej
Founder of Personal Democracy Forum and techPresident
Nicholas Reville
Executive director, Participatory Culture Foundation
Scott Robinson
Professor, Department of Anthropology, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Jorge Martins Rosa
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Sciences; Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, New University of Lisbon
Christian Sandvig
Associate Professor, Department of Communication; faculty member,
Project on Public Policy and Advanced Communication Technology,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Doug Schuler
Program Director, Public Sphere Project, an initiative of Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility
Leslie Regan Shade
Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University
Maripaz Silva (associate faculty)
Laura Stein
Assistant Professor, Radio-Television-Film Department, University of
Texas at Austin
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Associate Professor, University of Virginia, Media Studies and Law;
Fellow, Institute for the Future of the Book
Katrin Verclas
Co-founder and editor of Mobileactive.org
The International School on Digital Transformation is a program of the University of Texas Austin-Portugal Colaboratory, or CoLab. The co-directors of the School are Drs. Sharon Strover and Karen Gustafson, and Gary Chapman, of the University of Texas at Austin.

The School will be held at the Rectory, a building of the University of Porto in the center of the city. Student housing will consist of nearby hotels, and the cost of the School will include a shared hotel room, two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) and the program itself. The week will also include a cultural activity offered to all School participants.

The estimated cost of the International School on Digital Transformation will be between €300 and €400. Travel to Porto, Portugal, is not supported; students must find and pay for their own travel to Porto.

The student application, and more specific information for students, are available at this link. The application period will close on April 20 and applicants will be informed of their acceptance status by April 30.

Porto, Portugal

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, Porto is known for its spectacular architecture and medieval alleyways, and it is also compact, allowing visitors to easily explore the central city on foot. Porto is on the Douro River and also near the Atlantic Ocean. It is famous for its port wine from the inland Portuguese wine region along the Douro River valley.

During the free afternoons, students and teachers may explore the sidewalk café culture on Santa Catarina Street, a nearby pedestrian shopping area, or walk across the Dom Luís I Bridge spanning the Douro River to the promenade, restaurants, and port houses in Vila Nova de Gaia, directly opposite central Porto. Short river cruises may be taken in barcos rabelos, flat-bottomed boats traditionally used to ferry shipments of port wine.

While Porto is famous for its ancient Roman ramparts and Gothic churches, it is also home to the Casa da Música concert hall, a superb example of modern architecture, finished in 2005, that has become an icon of the city. The Serralves Museum is a major cultural institution which hosts rotating exhibitions of contemporary art and which features a world-class garden.

In the late evenings, Porto hosts a thriving clubbing culture, and the city’s nightspots attract DJs from around the world.

Porto has an international airport and is also served by trains from Lisbon and from Spain. By train, Porto is approximately three and a half hours north of Lisbon.

Please direct questions regarding the program to Karen Gustafson, at [email protected]

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