AI & Society Special Issue

We invite contributions to a Special Issue on Cultural Diversity and Community Technology Design, to be published by the AI & Society Journal of Culture, Knowledge and Communication (Springer).

AI & Society is the premier journal for publishing interdisciplinary research on the interplay between society, culture and technology. We particularly welcome contributions which, acknowledging the fundamental impact that culture has on technology design, promise to contribute original, forward-looking thinking that will advance scholarship on the topics treated and signal new directions in research.

This special issue is inspired by discussions and exchanges during a CulTech 2015 workshop on Cultural Diversity and Technology Design, held at the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T’15).

Important dates

  • Abstract submission: Feb 1, 2016. Abstracts should be between 500 and 1,000 words
  • Manuscript submission: March 14, 2016
  • Notifications: June 15, 2016
  • Submission final versions: September 15, 2016
  • Target publication date: December 2016

Special issue themes

Communities are a building block of society. Culture plays a significant role in community technology design and usage. Artefacts of culture, such as information technology, are not designed in a culturally neutral way, but are encoded with the designer’s implicit (and often subconscious) cultural values. While the design of technology reflects an encoding of the designers’ implicit cultural values, technology usage reflects the end user’s decoding from their own cultural reference frame. As such, culture influences how end users perceive and use information technology. Since technology adoption is more likely when the end users’ values match the implicit cultural values embedded in artefacts during the design stage, it is crucial for the research community to better understand the role culture plays in community technology design and usage.

This special issue engages with these issues and invites proposals that explore the role of cultural diversity in potentially informing, supporting, challenging or impacting the design of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) within and across community contexts. To delve into this complex and multi-faceted space, we welcome submissions that 1) engage broadly with the role of culture within technology design and usage for, with and by communities, as well as 2) proposals for approaches, tools, conceptual and methodological frameworks, case studies and best practices in community-based design that exploit cultural diversity as asset and seek to encourage intercultural interactions. Our goal is to offer an interdisciplinary coverage of the area explored, by bringing together perspectives from different domains such as computer science, design studies, cultural anthropology and social sciences. In particular, we welcome contributions that explore the following themes:

  • Theoretical and reflective engagements with the role of culture and cultural difference in community-based (participatory) design and technology appropriation across cultures
  • Frameworks, tools, and conceptual engagements tackling inclusion in (participatory) design; The role of technology and technology design in mediating or supporting societal inclusion
  • Means (methods, tools, frameworks) for cross-cultural transferability of community design and design processes
  • Limits of transferability and situated, emergent design practices in community contexts
  • Empirical studies exploring cultural differences in community technology usage and formulating design implications
  • Metrics, tools, and frameworks for examining cultural differences in community technology usage
  • Conceptual papers that problematize design, re-framing community design processes from cultural studies and intercultural communication frameworks (e.g. design as a process of encoding values and meaning in artefacts)
  • Uses, benefits and limitations of ethnography and data-intensive research methods in community-based design
  • Local community knowledge management and knowledge conversion processes and tools
  • Building common ground and aligning intentions in multicultural community design projects
  • Case studies, approaches and best practices in community-based design that explore or engage with issues of connectedness and community cohesion, facilitating intercultural
  • Awareness, communication and collaboration, and stimulating intercultural interactions across diverse cultural groups

Contribution types

We welcome contributions across two formats:

  • Original Papers contribute original thinking underpinned by carefully laid out conceptual, methodological or philosophical premises. Within this category, we welcome papers on novel technologies and applications, design or evaluation methods, case studies on existing applications and systems, evaluation studies, and conceptual papers that bring a substantial contribution to advancing knowledge on the aforementioned topics. Original papers mainly address the academic community and future-looking practitioners in the industry. These papers are double blind peer-reviewed by two reviewers and the editorial team.
  • Open Forum contributions may include discussion papers, case study articles, work in progress papers, opinion forming and opinionated articles, and articles on emerging and non-established research. They address academic and industrial communities, but equally the average reader, and should be written in a style which makes them accessible and comprehensible for these various audiences. Papers for the Open Forum will be double blind peer-reviewed by one reviewer and the editorial team. These papers are the best format for putting forth controversial or thought-provoking ideas relating to communities, culture and ICTs.

About the AI&Society journal

AI & Society ( is an International Journal which publishes refereed scholarly articles, position papers, debates, short communications and reviews. Established in 1987, the journal focuses on the issues of policy, design, applications of information, communications and new media technologies, with a particular emphasis on cultural, social, cognitive, economic, ethical and philosophical implications.

AI & Society is broad based and strongly interdisciplinary. It provides an international forum for “over the horizon” analysis of the gaps and possibilities of rapidly evolving ‘knowledge society’, with a humanistic vision of society, culture and technology.

Submission formatting

Interested candidates are asked to submit a paper between 10 and 25 pages in the AI & Society’s manuscript format. You can find more information about formatting under the section “Instructions for Authors” at

For informal inquiries and to submit your abstract and manuscript, please send an email to:

Special issue editors

Nemanja Memarovic, Department of Informatics, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Amalia Sabiescu, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT Europe), Spain
Aldo de Moor, CommunitySense, The Netherlands