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This project is separated into the three stands, listed below.
- Games and Playful Media
- Librarianship, Pedagogy and Knowledge in the Digital Age
- User Generated Content, Mobilities, and Networked Modes of Production
Each strand has its own set of empirical research profiles and policy angles, as well as their own set of partners and stakeholders. However, intersecting themes tie each of these strands together.
Digital technologies have radically impacted each of these traditional practices. For example, the embrace of ubiquitous mobile and social computing has reshaped each of these realms, fundamentally altering their economic models and forms of entrepreneurship as well as our understanding of how production and consumption, creativity and innovation operate. Innovations and adaptations in terms of changing work practices, workplace diversity, prosumption, crowdsourcing, etc are all examples of how these changes impact our day-to-day practices. Accordingly, themes relating to The Digital are key foci in each of these three strands, and have important policy implications.
These innovations offer opportunities for independent cultural producers. Digital tools and networks allow empowered small agents to create high-quality products within small teams and distribute them widely – without belonging to larger, more formal organizational structures. In many cases, this brings them into competition with larger corporations and institutions. For example, participatory media, in the form of user-generated content (e.g. youtube, wikis, twitter, citizen journalism), as well as crowdsourcing, has been hailed for introducing new modes of engagement between users and content creators, thus ushering in more democratic models of production and distribution where power is shared between producers and consumers. However, this co-creative media production creates new tensions, including the exploitation of user’s creative works as well as the promotion of precarious digital labour. The destabilization of many traditional dichotomies such as producer/consumer, labour/leisure, and economic/social value means that the policy infrastructure developed for a traditional market model is ineffective in addressing these tensions. Accordingly, each strand, particularly the third strand on user-generated content and networked production, is focused on questions such as redefining what content is, and who produces, owns, and has access to it, and what constitutes fair use.
Digital Labour focuses on alternative and independent cultural production in digital media such as digital games, but also in other fields such as education and journalism, and – more broadly – participatory media and user-generated content. Each of these fields speak to ‘indie’ scenes that are enabled and dependent upon digital media networks that allow individuals and small groups to create, share, and profit from cultural production on an unprecedented level. In seeking to foster, augment and support the long term cultural value of the Canadian independent new media sector, researchers in this project are directly engaged with independent cultural producers in each of these three strands in an effort to better define the cultural, social structural, economic and technological needs of these sectors.