Understanding sustained community engagement: A case study in heritage preservation in rural Argentina

Mara Balestrini, Paul Marshall, Jon Bird, Alberto Zaro, Yvonne Rogers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

63 Citations (Scopus)


HCI projects are increasingly evaluating technologies in the wild, which typically involves working with communities over extended periods, often with the goal of effecting sustainable change. However, there are few descriptions of projects that have been successful in the long-term. In this paper we investigate what factors are important for developing long lasting community ICT interventions. We do this by analysing a successful action research project and provide five recommendations for facilitating sustained community engagement. CrowdMemo aimed to preserve local heritage in a town in rural Argentina and the project was set up so that it could be continued by the community once researchers had left. Participants created videos about personal memories of the town and over 600 people attended the premiere where they were first screened. The impact has not just been short-term and there has been sustained engagement with the project by stakeholders in the town and wider region: The local school integrated digital storytelling into its curriculum; the approach has been adopted by two nearby towns; and the project has influenced regional government educational policy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2014
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450324731
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2014
Event32nd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2014: One of a CHInd - Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: 26 Apr 20141 May 2014
Conference number: 32


Conference32nd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2014
Abbreviated titleCHI 2014
CityToronto, ON
OtherThe ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is the premier international conference of Human-Computer Interaction. CHI 2014 is a celebration of the conference's one of a kind diversity; from the broad range of backgrounds of its attendees, to the diverse spectrum of communities and fields which the conference and its research have an impact on. CHI 2014 will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada, a city itself known for its one of a kind cultural diversity.
Internet address


  • Action research
  • Community engagement
  • Digital storytelling
  • HCI4D
  • Research in the wild


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