Position Paper 3
A talk about Digital Divide (and cookies) James Siddall
Last week on Friday, January 29th to be exact, our CNET English 100 class switched things up and had a change of room and a change of speaker(s). Julia Kozlov and Melissa L. Garcia addressed the topics of local community access to digital and information technology, digital divides and what they and the VCN WebTeam does to be involved. I have to admit that I was initially distracting myself from the talk with delayed busses and running to school, up the Cedar Building’s stairs, and back down again to the proper room. Then there were cookies. Nevertheless, I eventually got settled and listened in. Julia and Melissa spoke of the common misconception that every soul in Metro Vancouver has a shiny new Mac-Book (or at least a PC) with tones of hip software to match. For many low-income, elderly or geographically isolated people, this is not the case. This evident unevenness causes a “digital divide” that puts many out of touch due to a lack of useful information knowledge. The VCN WebTeam is a web design organization that “specializes in non-for profits” and is one example of what is being done to bridge the gap between people and access to digital technology.
Another group that was covered, one that I had a particular interest in, was W2: Community Media Arts. I took initial intrigue in the W2 group because they are situated in and involved with the new Woodwards District. Through an interest in architecture, urban planning and cities, the new Downtown Eastside development has struck a chord with myself personally. W2 is a “world class media arts center in Vancouver’s DTES (Downtown Eastside)” that in the spring of 2010 will consist of gallery and performance spaces, a community TV studio, a FM radio station, and much more. Located within Woodwards’ restored original building, W2 is hoping to result in minimal private offices and business space, while maximizing public service and programming space. In the same vein, the group intends on becoming a “significant culture hub” for the Downtown Eastside and encourages artists, residents, and community groups to work together.
I feel that organizations such as W2 and the VCN WebTeam are needed in communities throughout the city but could be particularly helpful in revitalizing and restoring the historic DTES to what it once was. With technology’s ever tightening grip on the world, groups like these need to continue to spring up with the cooperation and help of those living in the city. While my currently busy schedule doesn’t really allow for me to volunteer, I would certainly look into lending a hand in the near future. Until then I can only try my best to assist in reducing the general population of cookies offered on coming Fridays.
Word count: 473