Fieldwork Update

IMG_3192 Last week I sat in on CuriousWorks' strategic planning meeting, and what an exciting three days it was. The crew did all sorts of workshopping around current states of play, while looking towards what sort of operation they would like to be in the future. Elias and I held a session on using a logical framework matrix for project planning and evaluation, and I presented some of my research findings which included a proposal to create some resources the company could use. Thankfully they all seemed to like my plan, which I will expand on at a later stage.

CCi 2011 Conference Takeaways

Once again, the biannual conference of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi) was a winner. The event took place in Sydney and was hosted by the Journalism and Media Research Centre at UNSW. This was my fourth CCi conference and the one I have enjoyed the most. The point at which I am in my candidature, combined with excellent papers, stimulating emerging scholars workshops and enjoyable social activities all contributed to a great experience. My highlights included hearing Deb Verhoeven's 'Digital Production (research) methodologies', where she proposed that data sharing and interoperability become a research default standard and that we need to move to dynamic publishing where our publications respond to shifting data. I also enjoyed Jean Burgess' 'Computational Turn', where she urged us to think about computation as a core cultural dynamic, and echoed Richard Rogers' call to action to use the internet to diagnose social change as opposed to studying how people use the internet. Jason Potts' 'Innovation Commons' was also very interesting, and involved the proposition that there are two commons - the resource and information commons, where the latter involves knowledge about opportunities and market conditions. The session that explored the CCi narrative was also great, where Elspeth Proben and Kim Anderson delivered enlightening responses to questions about the future of the centre.

On a broader note, I feel very privileged to be part of the research culture that has been cultivated by the centre. Having the opportunity to be exposed to the work of media, communications and cultural studies scholars from other Australian universities as well as visiting international scholars is really awesome, and has been a key professional development outcome of my PhD candidature.

National Cultural Policy Submission

I recently put together a submission responding to the Australian federal government's National Cultural Policy discussion paper. Below are a few pars from the submission ... the full document can be downloaded here >>- - - Culture-making is a crucial aspect of Australia’s social fabric. As outlined in the discussion paper, cultural activities support broader education goals, contribute to social cohesion and are fundamental to our success as a national economy (National Cultural Policy: discussion paper 2011, 23). It is timely to be considering strategies to support culture-making in Australia, as the current ‘networked moment’ is reconfiguring our cultural practices. The development of an Australian National Cultural Policy framework will therefore provide a contemporary foundation stone for culture-making over the coming decade.

My submission will argue that ‘cultural democracy’ should be a major consideration in the National Cultural Policy framework. The premise for this lies in Australia’s rich history of creating opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to participate in arts and cultural activities. The historical context I will draw on to support my case is Australia’s community arts sector. I will outline several considerations for nurturing ‘cultural democracy’ in the current cultural moment – the ‘networked moment’ led by computer and mobile device networks. These strategies have evolved from my PhD research into the issues surrounding sustainable culture-making in the networked moment.

My overarching strategy for achieving sustainable cultural democracy in the networked moment involves developing literacies and competencies around participation in digital networks. My hypothesis lies in the notion that developing network literacies in turn develops network agency – having the capacity to be a critical network participant. - - -

Fieldwork is Fun

I am now neck deep in fieldwork at CuriousWorks, and after almost a year and half of my own company I am thoroughly enjoying being here. I've been given the task of sifting through the company's back catalogue of photos (Flickr) and videos (YouTube/Vimeo) to create a showcase for their new website. The process is proving to useful research-wise as I am beginning to get a sense of the work they are doing in the field. The task also means I am being exposed to very interesting media, such as the following clip. It shows Curtis Taylor, director of the short film Mamu, made in partnership with CuriousWorks as part of their Stories Project, discussing his reasons for making the work. He makes the following statement at the beginning of the clip ...

"This film, Mamu, it's about right, it's about wrong. It's about the past and the future, the new and the old. It's about the Internet and Martu. It's about how we can make this technology work for us, and for us to use it the way we want to use it."