Examining the Role of Stigmergic Networks in Addressing Racism through Hackathons: A Conversation-based Approach

Potential Abstract: This study investigates the potential of stigmergic networks in addressing racism within the context of hackathons, through fostering inclusive conversations among diverse participants. Hackathons have emerged as a popular platform for collaborative problem-solving, innovation, and learning, attracting individuals from various backgrounds. However, research has shown that these events often lack diversity and inclusivity, perpetuating existing inequalities and marginalizing certain groups, particularly racial minorities. To address this issue, this study explores the use of stigmergic networks—self-organizing systems based on indirect communication and shared artifacts—within hackathon environments to promote conversations that challenge and address racism.

Through a mixed-methods approach, this research investigates the design and impact of hackathon interventions that leverage stigmergic networks to foster conversations about racism. The study seeks to understand how these interventions influence participants’ awareness, attitudes, and actions towards racism, as well as the overall inclusivity and diversity of the hackathon environment. The research design includes both quantitative measures, such as pre- and post-event surveys, and qualitative data collection methods, such as interviews and focus groups.

The findings from this study contribute to the emerging field of inclusive design and educational technology by exploring the potential of stigmergic networks to address racism within hackathon settings. By understanding the mechanisms by which these networks influence conversations and mitigate racism, interventions can be designed to enhance inclusivity and diversity in hackathons. Furthermore, this research provides insights into how stigmergic networks can be applied in other educational contexts to foster conversations that challenge systemic forms of discrimination and promote social justice.

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