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Creative citizenship: arts, public broadcasting and digital media

Creative citizenship: arts, public broadcasting and digital media


Another tardy HASTAC Scholar's beginning. It's been intriguing to follow the many posts and comments already percolating through this network of thinkers: workflows, digital humanities definitions, and pedagogical and methodological uses of technology in the classroom and in research have been particularly interesting. 

In my research, I focus on the dynamics among particular groups of individuals involved in innovative media production, particularly artists and producers in relation to curators, programmers, technical crew, and narrow-cast cultural audiences. Generally, I employ a feminist political-economy critique in my preoccupation with exploring how participatory processes in media production generatively entangles creators and broadcasters with each other and with specific citizen-creator and curatorial groups through new creative strategies embedded in the promise of collaborative media production. Grappling with how creative individuals and groups or communities intersect with art, broadcast and media systems probes the meaning of creativity in these environments. I have coined the term "creative citizenship" to interrogate these ideas. 

That is, cultural production practices + aesthetics. Or cultural media production + creativity practices.

More particularly, by examining CBC ArtSpots, a decade-long collaborative television and internet program I founded and ran at the Canadian public broadcaster, I am in the process of investigating how and why specific production practices and creative approaches can be involved in creative citizenship. As a popular culture and specifically public broadcasting production practice for the artists, producers, broadcaster, and advisory groups involved, a definite form of collaborative creation was developed, emerging from a long history of public service in and through the arts in Canada, drawing from feminist critiques and commitments to making space for under-represented communities. More than 1,500 artists, creators and cultural leaders were actively involved in the ArtSpots processes. Can creative citizenship help explain these collaborative expressions? Do these address identities or social relations, and if so, how, and why? These preliminary questions indicate that I am interested in the complex configuration of how and why social relations, identity, cultural production and creative expression could be constitutive of creative citizenship.

As Raymond Williams might ask, the social as cultural? The cultural as social? Both?

Problematizing cultural media production in Canada through CBC ArtSpots (including its comprehensive archives currently housed at CBC Halifax) using creative citizenship as a fruitful route to investigate the productive tensions present at the intersection of the arts and broadcasting also implies the potential for increasing the dialogue between professional and scholarly spheres about these areas. Beyond that, I make media myself. This doctoral research is intended to contribute to a deeper understanding of popular culture, citizenship, and creativity in Canada by enumerating specific potential outcomes related to collaborative cultural production in digital and broadcast media, including creative labour, creative practices, and expressions of cultural identity in cultural media production. There are field notes, observations and - coming early in 2013 - a non-linear documentary beta project about this work-in-progress over on my website

Hope to meet most of you in person at the 2013 HASTAC conference in Toronto, my erstwhile home-town.


1 comment


I enjoyed your post and the description of your research. I'm a fledgling radio producer (mostly small bits and pieces on our local campus radio station), but I have grand ideas about using radio as a format for scholarly communication and collaboration. I was drawn in by your idea of creative citizenship, and wonder if you see humanities scholarship in audio broadcasting as a positive and community-oriented way of sharing research that might otherwise only be available (usually with restricted access) in written texts? How has your experience in radio at CBC shaped your thoughts on the relationship between broadcasting traditions and the possibility of using radio to communicate about the arts and humanities?

Looking forward to learning more as your project progresses!