Posted by Tracey Duffy on Wednesday 24 September 2014
Jisc Digital Media All Rights Reserved
Creativity was the name of the game at the recently attended Creative Citizens Conference held at The Royal College of Art, bringing together a varied programme of speakers all engaged with projects involving ways for communities, individuals, education and government bodies to be part of a creative process enhanced through technological innovation. The Creative Citizens project began work in 2012 and it's research question is how does creative citizenship generate value for communities within changing media landscape and how can this pursuit of value be intensified, propagated and sustained?
One keynote speaker was Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, as well as visiting professor at LSE, UCL, Melbourne and regular lecturer at the China Executive Leadership Academy, who opened the conference with asking what a truly creative society could look like. The important theme highlighted was the role of innovation and the importance of engaging those communities who would not normally consider their importance as innovators or have access to facilities and tools to be able to innovate. To help with this, there has been a spread of open innovation and prizes. An example of this was the Longtitude Prize 2014, supported by Nesta. Further information can be found on the website.This has also extended to data held by public bodies being made available for teams to develop useful projects and has resulted in the Open Data Challenge for Education. One such project is the Smart Citizen Kit, which enables individuals to measure environmental data, which is uploaded onto the platform and shared globally to inform decision making process around cities. Innovation has also spread to the Arts and Media, with such projects as the Hybrid Mobile App for the Royal Opera House, allowing users to engage with opera via their mobile device and the Talking Statues project from the University of Leicester, which involves QR codes on statues around London bringing the statue to life via actors recordings as the person represented. One important aspect is the development of methods to engaged communities in change via innovative ideas, Raising Your voice: Digital Storytelling to Create Change and Hyperlocal Media are just two examples.
One big area of engagement in the development of creative citizens and innovation is in schools. Studio Schools are beginning to spring up, where the students curriculum involves working in teams on projects with business and NGO's linked to real world examples, rather than traditional teaching and learning. Each student has a personal coach and Brazil is the first non UK school to follow this model. Another important point highlighted was the need to make innovation easy for people to be involved in. Nesta have worked with 30 organisations across the world on the DIY: Development Impact and You project, which has resulted in an innovative tool called the Fast Idea Generator. A Chinese language version as just been released in August 2014.
But in what areas do the public want innovation to be prioritised. Nesta commissioned a survey this year, which not surprisingly showed that Healthcare was the priority for public money to be spent on in terms of research and development. In reality, however, military is in fact the top spend.
Nesta are now developing an online magazine and app, which showcases stories of innovation, with the first theme being Re: i.e Reinvention, Reinterpreting, Remixing and Reuse of old ideas and are interested in contributions.
Despite innovation happening there are enemies to this and the suggestion was made that Universities are in fact one such enemy. Although they are innovative spaces for third parties, they do not innovate themselves. Nesta are now working with a Chinese university to look at how they can innovate in how a university runs itself. The OU is the only University anywhere in the world, which has it's own R&D department for internal activities.
There followed a range of presentations showcasing projects, examples as follows:
Co-Design and Placemaking:
Public digital Game Art for Participartory Urban Planning
Beyond the Castle:
Co-designing with 2,000 people
Using Digital Media to Enhance the Planning System
A Case Study in Liverpool
A report on the effectivements of Hyperlocal Social Media in South East London
Media Literacy for Citizen Empowerment:
New Media Tools in The Mena Region
Developing Digital Capital
Event-Led Digital Participation
Day two began with a keynote presentation from Jean Burgess, Queensland University of Technology on Creative Citizenship and Social Media. Jean is one of the first researchers to look at everyday creativity and the internet and and co-authored YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. She is currently working on the role of social media in everyday politics and practices and it was interesting to hear her concept of The Platform Paradigm, the convergence of user-created (or curated) content with social networking mediated via a handful of increasingly dominant proprietary platforms. This was then followed by a range of further presentations examples below:
Teenage Kicks? Creativity, Youth and Citizenship
The Making of a Filmaker:
Creativity and Learning in Early Careers
Young People, Creativity and Citizenship:
Evidence from the Creative Partnerships Archive
Surrounding the conference was an exhibition showcasing projects around the country, particularly involving digital media.
Further information can be found from the following websites:
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