Self-paced
Digital Kinship: Redefining Relationality in the Digital Age
Price
$
350
Weeks
weeks
Date
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Course summary

Digital Kinship: Redefining Relationality in the Digital Age is an immersive online course exploring our evolving systems and relationships in a world profoundly shaped by digital technology.

Set against a backdrop of seismic societal shifts and rooted in Afro-diasporic and Global South perspectives, this unique interdisciplinary program brings together eleven trailblazing experts from diverse fields, to explore the existential challenges and opportunities that are rapidly redefining human and non-human experiences.

The course delves into the complex tapestry of power dynamics, artificial intelligence, and human connection. It  invites participants to undertake an in-depth inquiry into the interconnectedness of self, others, and the more-than-human world, examining how this kinship is mirrored at both interpersonal and systemic levels. Together we will critically examine prevailing narratives and practices that shape our current technological reality, and the sociopolitical implications, particularly for Africans, black  and historically marginalised communities globally.

You will emerge from the course equipped with the knowledge and tools to navigate, influence, and co-create a digital landscape and shared future grounded in our collective wellbeing, agency, and indigenous wisdoms.

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What to expect

  • Understand the Role of Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Society
  • Critically Assess Digital Power and AI Ethics
    • Understand the underlying power structures within digital platforms and technologies.
    • Critically assess how these dynamics impact marginalized communities, with a focus on African, Black, and Global South perspectives.
    • Grasp the fundamental principles of artificial intelligence (AI) and its societal implications.
    • Explore the ethical considerations and potential biases in AI technologies, and their effects on human and non-human entities.
  • Explore Digital Relationality from Global Perspectives:
    • Explore the evolving nature of relationships in the digital age, considering how technology influences human connection.
  • Navigate and Influence the Digital Landscape
    • Foster skills to actively influence and shape digital spaces in ways that promote inclusivity, equity, and justice.
    • Understand and apply principles of digital wellbeing to protect and enhance personal and communal health in digital environments.
  • Co-create Life-affirming Digital Futures:
    • Envision and articulate visions for a digital future that centers collective wellbeing and indigenous wisdoms

Immersive, self-paced courses and activities.

  • 3 Modules: Defining Digital Kinship, Beyond Oppressive Paradigms (Kinship, Connectivity and Justice), Building for Belonging
  • 12 Classes
  • 11 Renowned Teachers, including experts from Google, Mozilla, Stanford Digital Civil Society Lab, Open Technology Institute, and more
  • Curated readings and resources
  • Interdisciplinary exploration
  • Actionable insights

Course modules

Select module
Lesson
1
:
Dig.IT.all Kinship: Foundations of Digital Relations
Explore the profound connections we occasionally experience with strangers. What underlies these fleeting moments of kinship? Do they transcend physical spaces to manifest in digital realms? Can they be deliberately cultivated? We will delve into these questions and reflect on the role of digital platforms in shaping our connections, emphasizing the importance of holistic healing and liberation for people of Afrikan ancestry.
Instructor
Dimah Mahmoud
Pan-African Humanist & Activist
Lesson
3
:
Algorithms, Power and Race
Professor Ezekiel Dixon-Roman delves into the intricate connections between technology, race, and decolonization, emphasizing the persisting colonial and racial biases in technological systems. It critiques the use of AI in reinforcing hierarchies, explores the need for decolonizing algorithms and promoting radical openness in technology development to disrupt dominant structures and embrace diverse perspectives within algorithmic governance.
Instructor
Ezekiel Dixon-Román
Professor of Critical Race, Media, and Educational Studies
Lesson
5
:
human Rights & Digital Justice
Berhan introduces the intricate ties between digital kinship, rights, and justice in the African context and beyond. Explore the impacts of existing technology designs on these relationships and the existential challenges they present. Reflect upon the demands and responsibilities that principles of digital kinship place upon us concerning rights, justice, and connectivity. Consider how we can leverage digital platforms to challenge and overthrow systems that amplify inequality and marginalization.
Instructor
Berhan Taye
Digital Rights Researcher & Analyst
Lesson
8
:
Ethical Design
Christina Harrington draws upon her extensive research and expertise to present design as a potent tool for promoting ethically responsible technological interactions, such as with ethical AI. Learn about the significance of community-centered research and speculative co-design methods. Christina will also introduce "Black-Centered Design," a transformative approach that encompasses cultural imaginaries and design thinking. This session underscores the potential of design to widen technology access and empower marginalized communities, promoting a more equitable future
Instructor
Christina Harrington
Socially responsible tech designer & researcher
Lesson
9
:
Workshop: African Imagination and Technology Design
Aisha invites world builders, dreamers, life makers and visionaries to relish in the contributions of our ancestors to digital existence, explore new digital realms cultivated by our desires and co-create digital landscapes reflecting African cosmologies and Pan African worldviews. Working with Achille Mbembe's essay on African Imagination of A Borderless World we will claim our right and responsibility to imagine and craft digital worlds as liberated zones where Black folks are thriving, joyful, sovereign and free.
Instructor
Aisha Shillingford 
Anti-disciplinary designer
Lesson
10
:
Care & Community in Digital Interfaces
Annika introduces us to a vision of digital spaces that transcend traditional linear structures, promoting a paradigm rooted in collectivity, playful design, and care-oriented technology. The workshop aims to establish the profound idea of centering tenderness as a practical method in the creation and interaction with technology. It challenges participants to reimagine digital interfaces that are more fluid, organic, and nurturing, reinforcing the ideals of community and holistic care.
Instructor
Annika Hansteen-Izora
Designer

Meet our instructors

Annika Hansteen-Izora
Designer
Multidisciplinary designer whose work is primarily rooted in a desire to explore futures rooted in collectivity, play, design, and care-oriented technology. You can find them reimagining the future of social media and queer community as Lead Product Designer at Lex and Somewhere Good.
Ayana Zaire Cotton
Anti-disciplinary artist, technologist and cultural worker
Through engaging with language, technology, and ecology, Ayana is cultivating a practice of remembering and imagining alternative modes of being and interspecies belonging.
Chenai Chair
Gender & Digital Tech Specialist
Special Advisor on Africa Mradi Innovation at Mozilla Foundation. She is an expert on the intersection of digital technology and gender. Her work draws on principles of feminism in assessing digital technology.
Ezekiel Dixon-Román
Professor of Critical Race, Media, and Educational Studies
Professor of Critical Race, Media, and Educational Studies at Columbia University. His work critically examines how quantification technologies influence sociopolitical systems and perpetuate racial and societal disparities.
Ari Melenciano
Artist & Technologist
Artist, technologist, researcher, and cultural theorist imagining, researching, and building at the nexus of new media art, design, science, and technology through a Black and Afrocentric lens
Neema Iyer
Artist and Technologist
Neema Iyer is an artist and a technologist. She is the founder of Pollicy, an award-winning feminist civic technology collective based in Kampala, Uganda.
Berhan Taye
Digital Rights Researcher & Analyst
Berhan Taye investigates the relationship between technology, society, and social justice. She is currently a Practitioner Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford University and a Research Manager at One Project.
Christina Harrington
Socially responsible tech designer & researcher
Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's HCI Institute, former collaborator for Google's Responsible AI Human Centered Technology UX team, and director of the Equity and Health Innovations Design Research Lab.
Aisha Shillingford 
Anti-disciplinary designer
Aisha Shillingford, is an anti-disciplinary artist, world builder, designer and cultural strategist originally from Trinidad & Tobago.
Dimah Mahmoud
Pan-African Humanist & Activist
Dimah co-creates grass-root holistic solutions for the collective liberation of people of indigenous ancestry. She is Chair of the Cultural Heritage Sub-committee of the International Civil Society Working Group for the United Nations.
Dr Wunpini Mohammed
Feminist Scholar-activist
Dr. Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed was born and raised in Tamale. She is an Assistant Professor at the College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

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