Way back in November I went to the The Roy Stringer Lecture – on the Democratising Role of the Web, at Fact Liverpool.
The speakers included
- Martha Lane Fox – cofounder of LastMinute.com & the UK’s Digital Champion
- Peter Barron – Google’s Director of External Relations & formerly the Editor of the BBC’s Newsnight
- Professor Andy Miah – futurist, FACT Fellow & Director of the Creative Futures Research Centre at the University of the West of Scotland
- John Egan – Director of Aurora Media who created the very impressive new Liverpool Vision “It’s Liverpool” brand campaign
- Patrick Fox, Manager at Tenantspin, a community TV station produced by Fact and a community housing association.
The event was based around Marth Lane Fox’s visit to Liverpool as she is the Nation’s Digital Champion and has been encouraging people to get on line – with the fantastic Give an Hour initiative. This is a really great idea as I want more people to see the benefits of getting online as proved when we ran the day long How Why DIY event in Aug 2010.
The democratising role of the Web
Liverpool has a population of about 440,000 with 100,000 of those not having daily access to the internet. Information is power and having access to that information can give the individual more power over their lives and over the lives of their children. That is the Digital Divide that is faced in Liverpool and laughingly isn’t being addressed by any of the councillors or local officials, bringing Martha Lane Fox to town really didn’t resolve any of the issues faced by the people that need access to the internet most. On a recent visit to a Merseyside school the teacher there told me that the pupils hang around the school longer so they can use the computers and internet for homework, it is great that these children get access but not all schools and pupils will be so lucky.
During the lecture Martha mentioned that Microsoft are making recycled PC’s available for £95 for those on benefits. But as Richard Smedly rightly pointed out that we throw away millions of PC’s every year that should be recycled with free yes free software and passed on to those in need. Maybe some money should be spent on helping small organisations do just this especially as about 1/2 of adults not online hit 3 or more deprivation domains, then this issue needs to be addressed.
One final comment on this lecture is that the choice of panellist was bewildering, absolutely bewildering with more sense coming from the audience than from at least one of the panel members.
Do you think this Lecture contributes to the debate around democratising the Internet?