Rising Voices is pleased to announce that we will be a media partner for the 4th Global Forum on Telecentres  to be held in Granada, Spain on May 28-29, 2013. This gathering called Spark13 will focus on three main discussion topics: people, innovation, and sustainability. Particpants from the Global Telecentre Network, which is comprised of approximately 500,000 telecenters serving around 1 billion users around the world, will be able to take part in small group sessions, workshops, and other participatory activities to explore the discussion topics.
According to Telecentre.org :
A telecentre is a public place where people can find information, create, learn, and communicate with others while developing digital skills through access to information and communication technology.
Organized by Telecentre.org Foundation , Telecentres Europe , Consorcio Fernando de los Rios-Red Guadalinfo , and the National Information Society Agency of Korea , Spark13 is expected to bring together 1300 participants from around the world.
The winners of the 1st Global Telecentre Awards  will also be announced at Spark13. Awards will be given in the following categories: The Awards feature 6 main categories: Telecentre, Telecentre Manager, Telecentre Network, Telecentre Initiative, Telecentre Innovation, and Information Access Center.
Rising Voices has become very interested in how physical spaces, such as telecenters, libraries, and hack labs can be important resources for local communities as a way to encourage citizen participation through the use of digital media tools. Certainly providing internet access is an important step, but many of these spaces also provide important training and mentoring for users.
In August 2012, together with New Tactics and Social Media Exchange, Rising Voices co-hosted an online dialogue called “Physical spaces as catalysts for greater digital citizen participation. ” During this virtual conversation, we brought together experts and other practitioners to share their experiences, challenges, and success stories:
Across the globe, new physical spaces are emerging that are acting as catalysts for greater citizen participation using digital technologies. Community libraries are rethinking their traditional role, and many are now offering internet access to their users in order to provide opportunities to gather around local issues where they can produce, not simply consume information. Telecenters are going beyond providing computer access to communities, to providing workshops to train citizens on how to use digital technology effectively to promote change. Hacklabs offer a physical space where activists and technologists can come together to find innovative solutions to local problems. These are just a few examples of the innovative use of physical space to encourage and empower greater digital citizen participation.
Before, during, and after Spark13, Rising Voices will be featuring some of these innovative Telecentres that are playing important roles in helping their local communities access digital media tools to tell their own stories or participate more fully online.