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We’re organising a seminar here at the RSA and will be blogging more about it next week, here is the background and how it fits into our wider Connected Communities programme.

We’re organising a seminar here at the RSA and will be blogging more about it next week, here is the background and how it fits into our wider Connected Communities programme.

The Connected Communities programme is a series of action-research projects to explore how social networks can contribute to positive change in deprived communities. The overall objective is to support policy makers and practioners to design more effective interventions for catalysing locally-owned development.

The RSA and UK online centres believe that a critical issue is how digital networks can strengthen communities of socially and economically excluded people. The starting point is social capital and community development, rather than technology. How can digital engagement generate or amplify social capital? How do the networks created through digital engagement projects have 'knock-on' effects for communities and individuals?

The project includes a paper on The Social Value of Digital Networks in Deprived Communities; a seminar on Digital Inclusion for Social Capital at the RSA on 20 May 2009, with accompanying online discussions; to inform the paper and development of an action research project on the process and outcomes of promoting social development using digital technology in deprived communities.

We're also building on the discussions started by RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor following the National Digital Inclusion Conference on the potential role of the RSA Fellowship in promoting digital inclusion.

We’re going to be starting discussions on digital inclusion for social capital next week here at the Connected Communities blog and networks such as Digital Engagement, and we are very much looking forward to learning from your experiences, and sharing ideas on new directions and action-research needs in this area.

Suggested hashtag for Twitter: #digitalincl

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