Due to the unique nature of the Whip community, this project has followed a Participatory Action Model, which seeks to collaborate with community members from beginning to end, including needs assessment and project design and execution.
The PAR model means spending a lot of time within the community. Stoecker suggests that those who practice community informatics must find the right community for them — and we felt very passionate about this project from day one. Being accepted into the community openly was another story. Fortunately, we had a few footholds already into the community, as well as a firm grasp of historical contexts and current problems of the community.
As such, we felt it was critical for us to demonstrate our dedication to the project, but more importantly the community, by devoting our time and resources. As I said before, the barbershop is a place where relationships are forged and sustained. This is not only a third-party observation, but a first-hand experience. In spending time within this community, we formed relationships with the customers and staff. And in doing so, we have become a part of this community – while we are still outsiders in our own way, we have earned our places as members of the shop.
As we represent both LIS 451 and LIS 490 classes, we divided the project into two tiers.
First tier is the technical process addressing the physical upgrades of computers, installation of Operating System (OS) and open source software (with the view of easing the burden of software maintenance), delivery and networking of computers, Internet connectivity, re-arranging and / or adding furniture of the physical space at the Whip.
Second tier addresses the education process through a popular technology workshop for existing and potential customers and encouraging their participation.
Using computers as a tool for learning, the workshop is a gateway to additional information and resources. In turn, the workshop encourages patrons to continue using the computers mainly for personal and business purposes to continuously improve their own well-being.
- Whip barbers and/or customers maintain community technology center (CTC)
- Whip barbers and/or customers engage with the CTC on an ongoing basis
- Whip barbers and/or customers or students host new workshops
- Initial visit
- Follow-up visit/conversation with OD (former shop manager)
- Site Analysis
- Re-start after OD left
- Drafting formal proposal
- Initial visit with Seon
- Initial shop visit with Marchond, re-analyze site
- Time invested in community (engaging with customers, ongoing conversations about needs, space, etc.)
- Upgrading computers
- Workshop design
- Computer installation in site
- Workshop facilitation Part I (failure)
- Workshop facilitation Part II
- Analysis of overall, proposal going forward