Mapping iThemba

Anne Pollock
Joel Russell Huffman

Mapping iThemba draws on ethnographic research that Professor Anne Pollock began in 2010 at iThemba Pharmaceuticals (pronounced ee-TEM-ba), a small start-up pharmaceutical company in the outskirts of Johannesburg that was founded in 2009 with the mission of drug discovery for TB, HIV, and malaria. The synthetic chemistry research that scientists do at iThemba is no different than what might be done in a well-equipped lab anywhere in the world. Yet, place matters. The interactive map is an opportunity to explore how.

Mapping iThemba has been made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation program for Science, Technology, and Society (Award #1331049). Professor Anne Pollock did the research and wrote the text for this site, new media artist Katherine Behar conceived the interactive map, and Digital Media master's student Russell Huffman designed, illustrated, and programmed it.

This site provides only one small window into the project. More is available in an article that Anne Pollock published in Social Studies of Science: "Places of pharmaceutical knowledge-making: Global health, postcolonial science, and hope in South African drug discovery." Email if you would like to request a copy. Currently, she is writing a book manuscript on the project with the provisional title Synthesizing Hope: Global Health, Postcolonial Science, and South African Drug Discovery. For updates on publications from the project, see her website at Georgia Tech.

Christopher Le Dantec

The Participatory Publics Lab is a group of researchers concerned with community engagement and design. We are part of the Digital Media program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech.

We explore the design of mobile and social media in the context of community development and activism. We do this through different modes of participation: in the design of these technologies; in the development of discourses about these technologies; in the use, adoption, and appropriation of these technologies.

We investigate forms of civic and community engagement through participatory design, design research, ethnographic research, and critical scholarship. Our research is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and as part of the Intel Science and Technology Center in Social Computing (ISTC-Social).