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Keynote: Prof. Ruth Illman (Åbo Akademi, Finland).

Space for Ruth Hillman's keynote at the Webinar in Turku, Finland on 28/4/10...

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Gráinne Conole
24 April 2010

Space for Ruth Hillman's keynote at the Webinar in Turku, Finland on 28/4/10

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Ruth is now beginning to speak... She will concentrate more about the issues of social inclusion and the issue of the gap between the promise and the reality of how technologies are being used.

Finish mobile advert a few years ago - you can be everywhere with everyone seemed a joke at the time, but now is pretty much a reality.

Intercultural communication before was seen as a fairly straightforward in terms of the skills needed to communicate from person a to person b. Now much more complex! But there are key cultural differences reading left to right is a Western perspective. You need to understand these cultural differences. But we are now in a complex, global context - languages, cultures, religions, politics etc...

We need a different illustration to understand the social situation we are in today. Its not 'culture a' and 'culture b' - there are lots of facets of an indivudal - nationality, religon, interests, education, professional context, memories, values, backgroun, attitudes, family, emotions, experiences...

Different indivudals will foreground different things as important to them.

Eery person we meet oth similar to and differnt to ourselves in some respect. Which patterns of similarity we regard as normative which differences are unsurpassable - that's each persons choice.

So its not about crossing fixed boundaries between cultural monoliths but about hman value-laden communication, interpretation, identification and change.

Cultura identity

Indentity is built on a multitude of different influences local, global, contemporary, historical. Mixing, combining, changing - there is no simple right way. Culture as a dynamic and interpretative concept. People cannot be fitted into boxes according to cultural belonging religous adherence or mother tongue.

Challenges to communication - globalisation, mobility and diversity.

Proximity no longer a self-evident criterion for identification. Social media facilitate interconnectedness over previous boundaries of space nad time, culture, language... new patterns of identification.

Many reasons why the box model is problematic. We live in a world of constant change, trends, problems, influences etc travel around the world much faster than before. We need to see that globalisation is both political, economic, religous, cultural etc. The world is ever smaller - the companies we work for, the food we eat, the films we watch etc. are worldwide.

Mobility - both digital and physical (some by conflicts, famine etc. others for personal reasons). Mobility is the norm. Hindusim is not just based in India equally relevant in Finland or England.

In terms of society and values, its no longer proximity based, may be globally based via social media, new patterns of identification which are not location based.

Every man is an island? or a penisula?

Am I saying that social media really makes it possible for us to be anyone, anywhere, anytime?

Every humna is an island - John Donne

But its not ture - all part of a context, formed by the place, the family, the culture we have grown up in so we cannot be totally separated from each other.

Amoz Oz says every human is a pennisula, on the one hand we are attached to a certain continent history etc but on the other hand we have coast to the open sea, new ideas, infleunces, encounters, personal experiences, emotions....

So who is included?

Social media in education, equal opportunities or digital inequality

You need skills - language, education, personality, technical

You need possibilities: economical, poltical, social, gender and communication and power


  • Think outside the box
  • Reflect on our own box and what its made of
  • Be prepared for surprises, expected the unexpected!

Gráinne Conole
08:07 on 28 April 2010 (Edited 08:21 on 28 April 2010)

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