A Year in Review: 2022 at the Hub

In 2022, The Hub has continued on with and kickstarted a number of projects focused on the intersection of technology and society in the Asia Pacific region. As we wrap up this year, we’ve selected some highlights to share with you from completed projects as well as ways to get involved in ongoing ones.

Earlier this month we announced that we will be hosting the 20th Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC) – The Chinese Internet in the Global South: Flows, Frictions, and Futures. The conference will take place from 12-14 July 2023 at the Faculty of Mass Communication, Chiang Mai University, in a hybrid format, with in-person attendance and some online participation. 

We invite scholars from across disciplines to zoom in on the Global South as a geographic and epistemological site of inquiry, with a focus on South and Southeast Asia (but also including other developing regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America), to study the influence of the Chinese Internet. We invite papers and panel discussions touching on digital culture, innovation, surveillance, geopolitics, public infrastructure, digital rights, and more.

Check out and submit to the Call For Papers here

On December 5-7, a group of academics, futurists, artists, and builders, joined us for our Future(s) of Work and Play workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. Read more here.

This workshop was designed to be a collaborative effort, with many ideas generated through the workshop and the expert cohort, and for a mixture of research sharing and speculative sessions to co-imagine potential futures. Cohort members shared lightning talks on topics like AR/VR & empathy, Web 3 collaboration and Internet States, Future of Organisations, Work and Play in the gig economy, Zines and WeChat Stickers, Future(s) of Food & Workspaces, and Generative AI. These lightning talks became the seeds for inspiration and imagination through speculative sessions with Futures thinking and storytelling, and Play with Lego, facilitated by several members of the cohort. On the final day, we paused, reflected, and then sprung into action to co-create project ideas and research agendas that we displayed in an ‘ideas fair’ open to select members of the Bangkok community. Several of these ideas may also contribute to a longer research agenda and set of activities in 2023. 

One thing we’d like to share with you now: an (evolving) “reading” list of media  you will find books, resources, podcasts, articles, and more, that can hopefully help make sense-make, and inspire you. 

We launched a 2-part series, The Next Digital Decade: Case Studies from Asia. Volume 1, titled ‘Traces and Divides’, traces the impact of the Internet on society, politics, and life in Asia, while identifying the many divides that persist. Volume 2, titled ‘Spaces and Futures‘, examines the challenges of responding to the challenges of digital transformation with perspectives from Asia to highlight their relevance for global audiences.

To mark the launch of the volumes, DAH and KAS invited the authors to participate in an in-person workshop in Singapore taking place from 17-19 May 2022.

This workshop was the first international in-person event for us after more than two years of Zoom-based collaboration. Together, we took stock of the many technological, societal, economic, and political changes in the past decade, to imagine and speculate on the possible futures of a world more centered on people and the planet.
We’ve just published the full Next Digital Decade workshop report. Download it here.

2022 was a big year for our exploration of platform governance, policies, and futures. Building on the 2021 program, we launched a dedicated Platform Futures project site, and kicked off a roundtable discussion series with senior academics and policy makers from our expert network and beyond. You can play back the full discussions or jump into short expert spotlights tackling issues such as platform access in South Asia, consumer rights, the Digital Markets and Digital Services Acts and more.

Earlier this year, we welcomed a number of collaborators to our team. We welcomed Nayantara Ranganathan, Vincent Zhong, and Gayathry Venkiteswaran to our team working on the Ranking Digital Rights Project; Erika Ly to our Platform Futures program; Smitha Krishna Prasad, Ezme Davis, and Inika Charles to our Digital Infrastructures Project. We also welcomed Savannah Billman and Lujain Ibrahim to our core team responsible for media and communications as well as cross-project support.