Deep Trust in the future of Community Informatics


  • Cristhian Parra INRIA, Paris and CITRIS, UC Berkeley, USA
  • David Nemer Indiana University
  • David Hakken Indiana University
  • Vincenzo D'Andrea DISI, University of Trento



trust, social informatics, community informatics, relationships, active ageing, marginalized communities


Engaging in community-based ICT projects, whether for research, design, or implementation purposes, often requires a long-term engagement among practitioners, researchers and community members. In this paper, we discuss how these projects are fundamentally shaped and reshaped by the trust building process, through which 'relations' with a community become deeper 'relationships'. The discussion is based on our experiences in two separated field sites: a Seniors Community Center in Northern Italy, where we established a 3-years long participatory research and design project; and an 8-month ethnography of Community Technology Centers in three marginalized favelas of Vitória, Brazil, where we have explored ICT use by local residents. We identify the difficult challenges in the process of developing trust relationships, commonalities between the two different contexts, and discuss the role of “deep trust” relationships in the future of CI.


Author Biographies

Cristhian Parra, INRIA, Paris and CITRIS, UC Berkeley, USA

Postdoctoral Researcher at the National Institute of Research on Informatics and Automatization (INRIA), Paris; and Visiting Scholar at the Center of Information Technology Research on the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at UC Berkeley, California. Cristhian Parra is an Informatics Engineer with a Ph.D. in Information and Communication Technologies. His research interests span the multidisciplinary realm of Social-Community Informatics and Human Computer Interactions, mainly focused on the use of Participatory Design and Participatory Action Research as approach to design and study ICT for social interactions and civic participation.

David Nemer, Indiana University

PhD candidate at Indiana University in the School of Informatics and Computing, concentrating in Social Informatics. I received a MSc. in Computer Science from Saarland University, Germany. I also hold a BSc. in Computer Science from FAESA, Brazil and a BSc. in Business Administration from UFES, Brazil. My research and teaching interests cover the intersection of international development, new media, community informatics, ICT for Development (ICT4D), science and technology studies (STS), postcolonial STS, and human-computer interaction (HCI). Methodologically, I use qualitative methods drawn from critical ethnography in online and offline contexts, and quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the web.

David Hakken, Indiana University

Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) at Indiana University Bloomington (IUB). He also directs the Social Informatics (SI) Group there, which studies what happens when digital technologies are used by people. In addition to four grants from the US National Science Foundation, one from the Social Science Research Council, two from the Fulbright Program, and two from IUB, his SI research and consulting have also been funded by the New York State Technology Foundation, the Resource Center for Independent Living, and other not-for-profit organizations and public social services. His latest, co-authored book, entitled Beyond Capital: Values, Commons, Computing, and the Search for a Viable Future, is to be published late in 2015 by Routledge.

Vincenzo D'Andrea, DISI, University of Trento