Community-Generated Media for the Next Billion

This project aims to contribute significant insights into how social-media sharing systems should be designed and deployed to benefit many billions of people beyond the mainstream "developed" world. 

Our target communities live in both "developing" countries and those that are marginalised in places such as the UK. We will do so by exploring a series of novel information ecologies for media sharing in a highly populated, but remote, rural development context. Working with Transcape, our main project partner, we will build on a current wireless network to establish digital media libraries connecting multiple locations across 5 villages in the Wild Coast of South Africa. We will use this infrastructure to examine the interplay of mobile phones, pico-projectors, situated displays, word-of-mouth storytelling and paper-based artefacts to create and exchange multimedia content for education, health, agriculture, local social welfare and community decision-making. We will ground our innovations in local social systems, undertake participative design activities and iteratively test novel solutions and ecologies. This project will deliver a well-documented toolkit to allow organizations like Transcape to establish community media sharing infrastructures. The toolkit will also be highly applicable in marginalised communities in the UK and other developed counties. We aim, then, to provide a practical way for many others to put our research results into immediate action. Further, by directing the collaboration of interdisciplinary experts towards the particular technological challenges of rural communities this project can dramatically re-shape: 1) the ways we conceptualise the Internet in community information sharing; 2) how the rural poor in developing regions experience media-centric computing; and, 3) methods to localize ICT design and development in marginalised communities.

This project is a collaboration of Professor Mounia Lalmas of the University of Glasgow’s Department of Computing Science, Professor David Frohlich of the University of Surrey’s Digital World Research Centre and Professor Matt Jones of Swansea University’s Future Interaction Technology Lab. It is funded by the EPSRC from 1st August 2010 till June 2012.

M. Lalmas (University of Glasgow) | D. M. Frohlich (University of Surrey) | M. Jones (University of Swansea) | G. Marsden (University of Cape Town) | N. Bidwell (Transcape)

This project will be run at the University of Surrey by Research Fellow, Kristen Ali Eglinton.

For more information visit:

Swansea University’s Future Interaction Technology Lab

Computing Science, University of Glasgow


Outputs and publications

COM-ME toolkit: A community media toolkit for creating and sharing digital stories via low-cost mobile technology

See details and download options.

Frohlich DM, Robinson S., Eglinton K, Jones M. & Vartainen E. (2012) Creative cameraphone use in rural developing regions. Proceedings of MobileHCI '12: 181-190. New York: ACM Press.