It was clear from the kōrero that there is no one size fits all approach to Digital Equity/Inclusion. Digital Inclusion work needs to reflect the identity of the user, potentially difficult in an online world that largely reflects the predominantly white, male creators. Attendees were keen to further connections started at the hui so that digital inclusion efforts are complementary rather than competitive and any gaps are identified. Attendees also agreed that there is a need to present a collective voice to central government. It was hoped that the hui might result in a vision statement. There was general agreement that such a statement should move away from deficit theory and focus instead on digital empowerment.
For now, the organisations involved (including LIANZA) have shared contact information to enable smaller scale collaboration to happen. The DECA establishment group have been meeting with more people, summarising feedback and are working on a second hui for either February or March. You can follow DECA’s work online at https://www.digitalequity.nz/
It’s interesting to consider this work alongside the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme focus area of digital inclusion. Like me, you might have noticed quite a few digital inclusion roles being advertised around the country as libraries put the funding to use. How will people in these roles coordinate their efforts so that they do not duplicate efforts and learn from one another?