Playing on the Edge: Facilitating the Emergence of a Local Digital Grassroots

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Post on 30-Jun-2015




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This paper by Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys for the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Vancouver, 17-20 Oct. 2007,describes the first phase of the Emergent Digital Grassroots eXpo (edgeX) project a research and application project centred on mapping grassroots and amateur content creation, community engagement with new media, and strengthening local identity. Developed in conjunction with the City Council of Ipswich, a city of some 150,000 residents in regional Queensland, the edgeX project provides a site for local residents to upload creative content, to participate in competitions, to comment on each others work, and to develop new skills. Research goals associated with edgeX arise from a broader project of mapping the creative industries and their role in the knowledge economy, and a growing understanding of the significant part user-led content creation plays in these processes, especially including the role of amateur creatives.


  • 1. Playing on the Edge: Facilitating the Emergence of Local Digital Grassroots Dr Axel Bruns Dr Sal Humphreys Creative Industries Faculty

2. Creative Industries mapping

  • The missing middle in content creation policy - the role ofindependentSME commercial production sector.Leadbeater and Oakley (1999)
  • The missing grassroots the need to map the contributions of DIY amateur content creation to the knowledge economy

3. Importance of local content

  • Local culture in a globalised medium
  • Communities of interest and local geographic communities
  • The AUS-US Free Trade Agreement

4. Who makes local content in new media environments?

  • Commercial
  • Amateur
  • Pathways between the two?

5. The edgeX project 6. Project partners

  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of Queensland
  • Ipswich City Council
  • Australian Research Council

7. Research strategies and goals

  • Mapping current local amateur content creation
  • Developing website
  • Community engagement training sessions enabling participation
  • Tracking the uploading and use of content
  • Monitoring the use of CC licences

8. Research strategies and goals

  • Observing community management strategies
  • Can integrating this kind of new media technology into peoples communication ecologies strengthen their sense of local identity?

9. Website design

  • Mapping interface reinforcing the sense of local geography and community
  • Upload video, photos, podcasts, text, etc
  • Exhibition/competition space
  • Commenting and tagging

10. Website design

  • Creative Commons licensing available(plus training in CC use)
  • Individual, group and public spaces

11. 12. Community engagement

  • Working with ICC and with a variety of local community groups
  • Focus on existing communities of interest within the geographical area
  • Run training sessions, provide support, follow-up work
  • Achieve a critical mass for sustainability

13. Ethnographic Action Research Taken from the Ethnographic Action Research handbook by Jo Tacchi, Don Slater and Greg Hearn, UNESCO 2003 14. Ethnographic Action Research

  • Maintain a reflective engagement with community members and adapt project to meet their needs
  • Attending group meetings, P/O, interviews and focus groups, consultation, mapping ecologies