Questions please, for new crowdsourced interview

Five years ago I did a ‘crowdsourced’ interview for a book called Mashup Cultures – which is a fancy way of saying we invited people to send in questions via Twitter and email, and then I responded to a selection of them.

That seemed to go quite well – and as a reader, I like the interview format.

I was planning to include that interview, probably, in the book I’m preparing, Making Media Studies, which draws together some previously-published and some new material. (You can read an extract from the introduction).

But I looked at the interview just now, and to be honest it’s all a bit old really. The reading public deserve better! Or at least – newer!

So this blog post invites you, dear reader, to send me a question – or two! – for possible and probable inclusion. (Last time I think I used pretty much all the questions that I had something to say about, and only discarded ones where I was being invited to speculate about things I didn’t really know anything about, because that didn’t seem very worthwhile for readers).

The new book is called Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn in Media and Communications Studies, so any questions which seem like they might fall somewhere in there would be especially welcome. But it would be reasonable to assume that someone else has asked ‘What do you mean by “the creativity turn in Media and Communications Studies”?’ and ask something a bit different to that.

As you might know, I’m also interested in anything to do with creativity, craft, making, digital media, design, open access/open culture, interdisciplinarity, systems, the maker movement, play and learning, the relationship between physical things and digital things, tools for thinking, and er lots of other things!

Questions could be sent on Twitter to @davidgauntlett or by email or in the comments box below. Thank you so much!

Question box image by Flickr user Raymond Bryson (see original), used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.

23 Responses to “Questions please, for new crowdsourced interview”

  1. Mike Gunn

    Given the creative potential of new media technologies and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Internet, why do you think that successive governments seem to dismiss the *study* of the Media in schools and universities?

    Why do you think that the same views are taken in the mainstream media?

    • David Gauntlett

      Hi Mike, That’s a good question, thank you, I can talk about that! Thank you. That one goes on the pile.

  2. Dave Clemow

    De Bord claims “boredom is counter-revolutionary” and everywhere young people had chosen the garbage disposal unit over love. In addition to this, the contribution of social psychology in creativity is well documented.

    Giv these ideas, I have two questions of that’s okay? First question: is any of the above relevant in our interaction with digital media? Second question: is there a danger that digital media limits our definition of creativity?


  3. David Gauntlett

    Also on the pile: On Twitter, @COLFESmedia asked “Could it be argued that the web restricts choice?”.

    I asked quite what they meant, and they replied (in three tweets): “Filter bubbling, cookies, habermas & ideas of public sphere (we don’t have opinions as we just read others). Watch the virtual revolution eps 1 presented by @aleksk. Uses a graphic to show web traffic as planets: Google = the sun. If we’re all enter net through ‘Google door’ does that restrict our choices? Watch Eli Parishers TED talk. V.good.”

    So that’s another one on the pile.

  4. Stewart Paske

    Do you think children should get creative with new media technologies at an early age? A good example of this happening is the video game Minecraft, with many children using the lego-like digital world to create any number of weird and wonderful creations. Many then go on to share these creations in YouTube videos, or on forums etc.

  5. David Gauntlett

    I seem to have decided to store all the questions sent to me here, in the blog post comments. So here is one sent via email by Graham Meikle:

    Hi David

    Great project. Here’s a question I’ve always liked but rarely find the right time to ask. This seems like a good time.

    What kinds of knowledge do we need now?

    Cheers, gm

  6. David Gauntlett

    This came in an email from Silke Lange:

    1. From an educators point of view, what implication might the creativity turn have on the pedagogy applied? / or What pedagogy do you envisage using to initiate the creativity turn?. [if you don’t want to use the word pedagogy you could replace it with practices of teaching and learning]

    2. Making Media Studies sounds very hands-on/ face-to-face, how will this term translate into activities in the virtual sphere most of us are drawn to?

    3. What role does interdisciplinarity play in the creativity turn in media and communication studies?

    4. Why is this ‘creativity turn’ necessary for the next generation of practitioners [maybe there is a better word, leaders didn’t seem right…] in media and communication?

  7. David Gauntlett

    Another email – Benjamin Eugster of Universität Zürich writes:

    Dear professor Gauntlett

    I have been following your work since I ran across your book “Making is Connecting” which has proven to be very prolific for my own work on digital amateur cultures on YouTube and beyond. So I was very pleased to find out about your idea of a crowdsourced interview for the book “Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn in Media and Communication Studies”.

    One aspect that I am particularly interested in is the negotiotion of cultural hierarchies in the academic assessment of everyday creativity. Therefore I wanted to add a rather far-reaching question to your pile of questions: What’s the role of cultural hierarchies and intellectual values like innovation and complexity in the academic assessment of creativity? I think this question is particularly important once we are dealing with popular everyday culture, which is usually judged completely different from a user’s perspective.

    Best regards,
    Benjamin Eugster

  8. David Gauntlett

    Here’s a good one sent via Twitter:

    (I then asked “Do you mean, in the second part, “is *media studies itself* a transformative process of the self akin to creativity?”? or [something else]?”, and Andrew replied: “No, wrt *making media studies* – as a practice, doing media studies rather than media studies as a subject”).

    So I’ll take the question to be: “What are you connecting when making media studies, and is ‘making media studies’ also a transformative process of the self akin to creativity?”

  9. David Gauntlett

    Another from Twitter:

  10. Amy Twigger Holroyd

    Two questions for you!

    In Making is Connecting, you talk about the many good reasons why people engage in making. But there are many people who don’t! What do you think the barriers are to greater participation?

    As you have pointed out in the past, maker culture is great in terms of encouraging a culture of playful learning and experimentation. However, a lot of maker culture seems to involve churning out a lot of pointless stuff – when we’re already suffering (in environmental, social and personal terms) from having too much pointless stuff already. Can this be reconciled? Or does the end justify the means?

    • David Gauntlett

      Thank you! Good questions. They have gone on the pile. Thanks!

  11. Clare Twomey

    The digital and the tactile world of materials still seem to be viewed as different places. These two states of creativity seem to have different followers (this may be a huge generalization), in both camps the strengths of activity are based on strongholds of knowledge. I am curious about the fluidity between these two states of creativity, how can creativity begin to super connect? Is it all still a bit lumpy?

    Or is this disconnect what makes us collaborate?

    • David Gauntlett

      A lovely question from Clare Twomey! Thank you! I’ll be answering that one.

  12. Katie Smith

    Hi David,

    Here is my question for you…

    In the introduction to your book Making is Connecting you discuss moving towards a ‘making and doing’ culture in schools. Whereas there are many excellent examples of schools embracing new media to teach and learn creatively often young people’s independent explorations of these technologies are dismissed as play. How can we encourage schools to rethink how they value this ‘play’ and to acknowledge its potential to enhance learning across the curriculum and beyond?

  13. Jen Ballie

    Our world if suffering due to the mass production of consumer goods and maker culture offers an alternative by advocating and supporting participation. Some people argue that these lovely new projects will fail flourish without new models. Have you come across any new models or can you propose any suggestions for sustaining participation? How can we motivate people to participate beyond a one off workshop or event?

    There seems to be some kind of magic in the process of making that captivates and enchants people but as we grow we tend to forgot or lose touch with making. How can we nurture the ‘magic of making’ from a young age?

    • David Gauntlett

      Very good – thank you Jen. I’ll add that to the pile. Many thanks for taking the time.

  14. Jan Løhmann Stephensen

    Hi David,

    As you also state in the extract/introduction to your upcoming book, there are two sides to media studies and the phenomena it studies: one “inspiring and optimistic”, the other “troubling and pessimistic”. In extension of your decision to study mostly the positive aspects — a fair, yet also slightly controversial choice, one might argue — I would like to ask, whether the ideas of ‘creativity’, ‘participation’ and ‘making’ solely belong on the sunny side? Or put in slightly more explicit terms: haven’t these notions — and thus perhaps also some of the practices these notions refer to — become so entangled with particular contemporary economic and socio-political agendas (cf. for instance the so-called Mercurial Career of Creative Industries Policy pointed out by Andrew Ross a few years back), that looking at them in only a positive light could be somewhat problematic?



  15. Simon Lindgren

    Hi there David!

    Nice that you are writing this book. Looking very much forward to reading it! I am wondering about the role of digital media for the maker movement, and also for more random expressions of everyday creativity among individuals and groups. It is rather obvious that social and digital media makes a lot of things easier — like connecting, communicating, finding those with similar interests, circulating creations etc. I read in the excerpt ( that your book will not be about aspects like capitalism, surveillance etc, but still: What do you think it means that a lot of creativity happening through (post-)Web 2.0 platforms is largely limited by the use of templates and other restrictions and/or limitations of the tools. Sure, YouTube or Pinterest are fantastic places, but they still enable only certain forms of creativity and certain forms of interaction. So, apart from the purely economic or exploitative aspects, would you say that digital media/social media could diminish creativity in some ways?

    • David Gauntlett

      Thanks for the question, Simon! It is quite similar to Jan’s above. I will deal with both of them. Thank you!

      • Simon Lindgren

        Ah! Must have missed the similarity when browsing through the questions above. However, I am wondering more about the potential limitations imposed by templates and layouts rather than ‘agendas’. Also, I am not at all sure that there even are any problems here. Either way, looking forward to your response relating to these things in the book.


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