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

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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.

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<ul><li> 1. Playing on the Edge: Facilitating the Emergence of Local Digital Grassroots Dr Axel Bruns Dr Sal Humphreys Creative Industries Faculty</li></ul> <p> 2. Creative Industries mapping </p> <ul><li>The missing middle in content creation policy - the role ofindependentSME commercial production sector.Leadbeater and Oakley (1999)</li></ul> <ul><li>The missing grassroots the need to map the contributions of DIY amateur content creation to the knowledge economy </li></ul> <p> 3. Importance of local content </p> <ul><li>Local culture in a globalised medium </li></ul> <ul><li>Communities of interest and local geographic communities </li></ul> <ul><li>The AUS-US Free Trade Agreement </li></ul> <p> 4. Who makes local content in new media environments? </p> <ul><li>Commercial </li></ul> <ul><li>Amateur </li></ul> <ul><li>Pathways between the two? </li></ul> <p> 5. The edgeX project 6. Project partners </p> <ul><li>Queensland University of Technology </li></ul> <ul><li>University of Queensland </li></ul> <ul><li>Ipswich City Council </li></ul> <ul><li>Australian Research Council </li></ul> <p> 7. Research strategies and goals </p> <ul><li>Mapping current local amateur content creation</li></ul> <ul><li>Developing website</li></ul> <ul><li>Community engagement training sessions enabling participation </li></ul> <ul><li>Tracking the uploading and use of content </li></ul> <ul><li>Monitoring the use of CC licences</li></ul> <p> 8. Research strategies and goals </p> <ul><li>Observing community management strategies </li></ul> <ul><li>Can integrating this kind of new media technology into peoples communication ecologies strengthen their sense of local identity? </li></ul> <p> 9. Website design </p> <ul><li>Mapping interface reinforcing the sense of local geography and community </li></ul> <ul><li>Upload video, photos, podcasts, text, etc </li></ul> <ul><li>Exhibition/competition space </li></ul> <ul><li>Commenting and tagging </li></ul> <p> 10. Website design </p> <ul><li>Creative Commons licensing available(plus training in CC use) </li></ul> <ul><li>Individual, group and public spaces </li></ul> <p> 11. 12. Community engagement </p> <ul><li>Working with ICC and with a variety of local community groups </li></ul> <ul><li>Focus on existing communities of interest within the geographical area </li></ul> <ul><li>Run training sessions, provide support, follow-up work </li></ul> <ul><li>Achieve a critical mass for sustainability </li></ul> <p> 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 </p> <ul><li>Maintain a reflective engagement with community members and adapt project to meet their needs </li></ul> <ul><li>Attending group meetings, P/O, interviews and focus groups, consultation, mapping ecologies </li></ul> <p> 15. </p>