The project ICT use and connectivity of minority communities in Wales has aimed to gain an understanding of the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on changing cultures and patterns of connectivity within and between minority communities and the potential of multifaceted digital divides in constraining or shaping these forms of connectivity. It has used Wales as a test-bed and focused on ethnic communities (and their language and cultural attributes) and people with disabilities. The project activities ranged from reviewing the literature and existing research to undertaking stakeholder engagement activities. The project findings highlight that ICTs and the Internet are perceived as being key to promoting community connectivity in contemporary society and that the minority communities are at risk of both social and digital exclusion. There is clear anecdotal evidence that these communities require bespoke policy which reflects their specific needs and requirements. However, the evidence provided in existing (mostly quantitative) research data fails to adequately explore these issues and 'grey data' is both difficult to identify and access. Therefore there is a clear rationale for developing more qualitative, fine grained, community-based research in order to explore the barriers to digital inclusion and impact of digital inclusion/exclusion within minority groups.
Published: November 2011