Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Creative Communities 2: Day 2 & 3

The final two days of CC2 were as inspiring as the first. Mary Fogarty kicked us off on Wednesday, day 2, with a very accessible and thoughtful keynote on her doctoral research concerned with breaking. Mary brought together much of the thinking from the previous day, suggesting 'extended families' in various youth cultures as useful mechanisms for inclusion and community.

Mary Fogarty, getting down low

There were some really stand-out papers over the few days, including various community arts projects and also one from our own Stephanie Green titled 'Fremantle Press: Deterritorialisation and regional publishing'. While much of the conference featured work and research being done in fields outside my own scope, it was good to get a different perspective and take the blinkers off for a few days. It also struck me how frequently instances of 'new media use' came up in these discussions, and how more often than not these discussions were couched in positive terms, pointing towards their great potential to empower. Admittedly this kind of discourse can be hyperbolic and over-simplified, but the case studies mentioned at the conference went beyond my expectations.

Myself, Jodie, Mary and Raphael (left to right)
On Thursday there were so many papers that I wanted to see, but physically couldn't make it to everything. Shout-outs go to Shanene Ditton, Leticia Nien-Hsuan Fang, Raphael Nowak, Adele Pavlidis and Michael Park. Some old friends and some new friends. Of particular importance for my research was Leticia's research on Nintendo Wii in homes. I'm interested in Leticia's work that considers the role of technology in physical 'family spaces' (such as the lounge room), especially her gendered reading of these roles and the marketing discourse around these products.

I spent the day after the conference in a workshop with several delegates from the National Chengchi University (NCCU) Taiwan, where along with several colleagues we worked on potential research collaborations between Griffith and NCCU. I'm looking forward to working further with Leticia on this front, perhaps considering the cross-over between our separate research projects, especially in the area of 'mediated families'. The family has been frequently mentioned in my own fieldwork with young users of social network sites, sometimes framed as a motivation for engagement and other times being described as problematic. Does your Facebook profile change when your mum has added you as a Friend? We also discussed the great potential of these technologies (gaming consoles from Leticia's research and social network sites from my own project) to engage, re-connect and reconfigure families. This is certainly an area of research I'll be looking to develop at some point next year. Perhaps after my thesis is in better shape!

In summary, it was a very productive and thoroughly exhausting week. I now find myself in the mid-semester break with a few publishing deadlines fast approaching. Back to it!

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