For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
Paula Helm, Roanne van Voorst and Beatrice Bonami


The project explores how indigenous communities in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil appropriate digital technologies, the limits they encounter when confronted with digital devices and algorithms conceived of from a Western-centered perspective, and the creative potential that lies in the moment when different epistemologies collide at the same interface. Aware of its own positioning within a Western academic context (Haraway 1988), this project explores how engagement with non-westernized, sign-language based contexts of digital use opens the potential to shake and expand existing horizons of how digital transformation and integration can and should look like. Our effort to coproduce, and jointly learn with, our interlocutors, will be reflected in the plan of co-authoring research papers together with indigenous researchers as well as in the co-design of joint (drawing) workshops and exhibitions around Parintins and in Amsterdam. We thus consider this research project as an opportunity to put into practice inspirational ideas of what may be called cosmopolitical ethnography (Lassiter, 2005, Stengers 2011). 

Dr. Beatrice Bonami is an Italian-Brazilian researcher who completed her PhD in Educational Innovation and International Development at University of São Paulo, UCL and University of Rome. She has worked for the UNESCO, UNICEF, Amnesty International, and WHO, both in governmental and indigenous settings. Her DAAD-funded PostDoc project focuses on Creole languages, literacy, and decolonial methodologies, and includes partnerships with Amazon Federal University, University of Tübingen, the African School of Applied Mathematics, and the University of Dakar.

Dr. Paula Helm is an assistant professor of ethics and data at UvA. Her work is situated at the intersection of STS, media studies, and empirical ethics. Her goal is to combine ethnography with critical ethical reflection to context-sensitively figure out what value-centered technology design may look like, then integrating that into appropriate models, data collection practices, and implementation processes. To accomplish this, Paula has established close collaborations with partners in computer science and publishes across disciplines. She holds a PhD in cultural studies (summa cum laude).

Dr. Roanne van Voorst is a futures-anthropologist, writer, columnist and president of the Dutch Future Society. She obtained her PhD in 2014 (cum laude) and is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the UvA. Her core research focuses on what she has coined ‘sustainable humanity’: in times of robotification, digitization and big-data led decision-making: what makes us human? Her current, ERC-granted research investigates these topics in the context of public health, in six different country case studies.