Strategic Narratives of Technology and Africa symposium

M-ITI’s Critical Technical Practice lab organized Strategic Narratives of Technology and Africa, a two-day international, interdisciplinary symposium hosted at the Casa da Luz, September 1-2. Comprising both academic and creative tracks, the symposium brought artists, designers, technologists, and theorists into conversation, with the goal of generating alternatives to ‘universal’ Silicon Valley narratives of tech innovation currently being exported uncritically into both Africa and Europe. Philosopher Achille Mbembe, literary theorist Sarah Nuttall, tech activist Nanjira Sambuli, and artist Ângela Ferreira delivered challenging and provocative keynote addresses, and the symposium drew participants from institutions as diverse as University of California at Irvine, the London School of Economics, Medialab-Prado, and Rhodes University. Peer reviewers from M-ITI included Sónia Matos, Valentina Nisi, and Maurizio Teli. By all accounts, the symposium was a great success and there are plans in Canada and South Africa to organize second and third iterations. A sampling of what we heard: ‘It was very exciting to cross disciplines. You must also be congratulated on the work you are doing in Funchal, as I do not think there is another like-minded project in Portugal.’ (Ângela Ferreira, Universidade de Lisbon). We plan to publish the symposium proceedings in early 2018