The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) is a center for multidisciplinary research at the UW Information School that explores the complex relationship between digital technologies and society, and develops new models of digital engagement that advance community interests. We have a particular focus on underrepresented and marginalized groups, and fostering individual and community agency.
We employ participatory approaches in partnership with organizations worldwide to co-design research projects and produce insights and practical resources that benefit communities. We strive to develop new ways for digital technologies to foster digital inclusion, civic participation, local knowledge production, gender equity, and other community goals. We study data inequities, and intervene with methods and tools to address gaps in representation, access, and skills.
We believe public libraries are a critical institution in the information ecosystem and have a broad research program dedicated to enhancing their role as agents of social change. We develop model library programs, services, and approaches to data that leverage both digital technologies and a unique asset, a physical presence in over 380,000 communities worldwide. One focus is combating the rise of misinformation and strengthening civic discourse, in collaboration with the Center for an Informed Public.
TASCHA has been active in more than 50 countries over 20 years, working towards a vision where people use digital technologies to build more open, inclusive, and equitable societies.
TASCHA is housed in the Information School, one of the world’s leading iSchools. The UW iSchool explores the relationship between information, technology, and people. By tackling key social and technical problems in the information field, the iSchool has become an important link between users of information and designers of information systems, connecting society with the information it needs. iSchool faculty come from the social sciences, humanities, and engineering disciplines. With a strong culture of collaboration, the iSchool is an ideal home for TASCHA.
TASCHA contributes to the university’s broader university community by organizing talks, participating in seminars, and offering research clinics. TASCHA researchers are inspired by — and often collaborate with — researchers from other departments, such as Computer Science, Human Centered Design & Engineering, Public Affairs, and Communication. TASCHA is a co-sponsor of the Change seminar series.
TASCHA was founded in 1999 as the Center for Internet Studies (CIS). The center originally operated as part of the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs. We built our reputation in the area of information and communication technologies and development (ICTD), leading research and launching programs that brought together faculty and students from across campus.
In 2007 we moved to the University of Washington’s Information School and became the Center for Information & Society. Our ICTD approach expanded to include libraries, information science, and informatics.
Today we manage a large research portfolio and have grown from a three-person team to an ever-expanding group of faculty, researchers, students, and program staff — including an extended network of research partners in over 50 countries.
In 2009 we became the Technology & Social Change Group. Our friends call us TASCHA.
TASCHA is grateful for the support and partnership of:
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
- East-West Management Institute
- European Union / Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
- Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Millennium Challenge Corporation
- Tableau Foundation
- The City of Seattle
- International Telecommunications Union