Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Bridging the Divide: Exploring Native Approaches to Science Through Analysis of Implementation of a Complex Information Technology in Alaska Native Communities (Award# 1345026)

PI: Poole, Marshall S (mspoole@uiuc.edu)
Phone: (217) 333.5571 
Institute/Department: U of Illinois, Urbana, National Ctr. for Supercomputing Appl. 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (akerttul@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):
Project: http://chass.illinois.edu/index.php/ichass-project...
NSF_Award_Info: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=13...

Science Summary:
This award funds the planning and preliminary development of a research project to study implementation of cutting edge information technology, a Fab Lab, in a rural Alaska Native village in southwest Alaska, Togiak. The Bristol Bay Campus, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF BBC) and Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) will partner with the Champaign Urbana Community Fab Lab and the Institute for Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to implement a Fab Lab in Togiak, Alaska. This project was developed in collaboration with the Alaska Federation of Natives and the village of Togiak following the very successful demonstration project, funded by NSF ASSP, that introduced the Fab Lab concept at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Fairbanks, Alaska 2010. The AFN Convention Fab Lab was successful in demonstrating that an operational Fab Lab could be set up in Alaska and that people, once introduced to the technology in action, would see its potential and would want to be a part of Fab Lab development in the state. During the convention, forty individuals from seventeen different communities around the state signed up for information on how to bring a Fab Lab to their community. Non-scientist participants were also able to observe how the world-wide-web can be used to share ideas and work on projects together and, in doing so, build global connections and use technology to develop capacity in even the most remote location. This project has strong potential for long term economic development among a population that has some of the highest official unemployment rates in the country due to lack of opportunity in these very remote regions of the state.

Logistics Summary:
This grant supports the planning and preliminary development of a research project to study implementation of cutting edge information technology, a Fab Lab, in a rural Alaska Native village in southwest Alaska. Bristol Bay Campus, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF BBC) and Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) will partner with the Champaign Urbana Community Fab Lab and the Institute for Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to implement a Fab Lab in Togiak, Alaska. The research focuses on the intersection and interaction of Western and indigenous American perspectives on implementation of science and technology. It will inquire into how Alaska Native ways of knowing and perspectives on science and technology refract a technology bundle designed according to Western logic. It will by extension explore how implementation of this technology according to Native Alaskan/Western perspectives impacts the local community. The project will utilize the creative skills and knowledge of Togiak residents to guide planning for implementation of the Fab Lab and in so doing provide additional opportunities for local community members. No fieldwork is conducted.

No fieldwork.



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