Media, Community and the Creative Citizen

Every day millions of citizens do something creative, from genealogy to knitting, photography or singing in a choir. These creative citizens, some organised in groups and networks, some not, are the bedrock of the creative economy.

The background to our interest in creative citizenship arises from the way that online communications have enabled individuals and small groups of individuals to engage more frequently, deftly and in greater depth with many types of organisation. Today, many companies design their products and services in close dialogue with users. This shift from a ’user pays‘ to a ’user makes‘ approach supports the possibility of a growth in smaller-scale, more flexible and voluntary community services.

Our research, undertaken by Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) members Dave Harte and Jerome Turner, seeks to examine three manifestations of creative citizenship:

  • Hyperlocal publishing groups
  • Community-led design
  • Creative networks

Our aim in studying these cases is to generate data and insight about each case and to also answer the more general questions: what is the value of their work to these citizens as individuals, to their communities and to wider civic goals?

Our research will produce: improved data on the value, scale and potential of UK hyperlocal publishers and how they interact with traditional media; an understanding of the value, potential and practicalities of community-led design, with a particular focus upon understanding the potential and limitations of digital media; an evaluation of everyday, 'at home' creative citizenship which provides an indication of its scale and potential.

For more information on the Media, Community and the Creative Citizen project please visit the BCMCR website.