Screen Cultures

CCN+ Research Fellow Edgar Gómez Cruz is undertaking a three-year ethnographic project on screen cultures consisting of three discrete but interconnected fieldworks: Expertise and engagement with screen-based audiovisual production; Mobile and urban screens; Developing screens as culture.

Stage one

Expertise and engagement with screen-based audiovisual production: A collaboration with Studio12

Edgar Gomez Cruz (right) with Studio12's Jamie Hutchison at the launch of MyMap Leeds

Edgar Gomez Cruz (right) with Studio12’s Jamie Hutchison at the launch of MyMap Leeds

In an increasing landscape of media production tools, media literacy has become a key element to social participation. Connected to this, creative industries are seen as a key element of innovation and a growing asset in the digital economy. In this context, young people are seen as ‘natural’ carriers of the expertise needed to develop content and ideas and notions of authorship, empowerment and expertise become key. At the same time, key issues such as economic, cultural, racial, and gender signifiers continue to frame and shape the extent and parameters by which young people are able to be part of this ‘Digital Culture’.

 While there are many accounts around inequalities in the use of digital media, it still seems necessary to expand our understanding of how this ‘participatory culture’ is being shaped in the ‘digital outskirts’ – especially with the impact of the welfare reforms in the communities they belong. The goal of this research is to (1) develop an ethnographic study about how a group of young people learn, engage, develop, use and integrate digital technologies in their everyday practices, focusing on those related to creativity and audio-visual production. (2) Understand how a group of young people engage in media production with digital resources in order to illuminate not only how digital culture is actually taking place in different settings, but how is shaping and being shaped by everyday practices in the increasingly austere environment. (3) Relate these engagements to wider claims made about these groups as digitally literate, with particular focus on issues of authorship, expertise, literacy, and empowerment. (4) To understand how practices of looking, politics of vision and creative production of media can (or not) be vehicles for the development of citizenship, participation and democracy. And finally, (5) detect opportunities and challenges that could be addressed by policies and regulations.

 This study will address academic concerns whilst also actively contributing to Leeds organisation Studio12’s goals to: enable young people to become the producers of new media content, to empower them to transfer and further develop their skills in new environments, to create a space for innovation and equal opportunities.

MyMap Leeds

MyMap Leeds mapMyMap Leeds is a new project that uses new touch screen technology to give young people around Leeds the chance to get their story on the map. The collaboration between Leeds City Council, Studio12 and the Communities and Culture Network+ is giving children and young people around Leeds the chance to take part in workshops that teach them to write, film and edit their own short films, using  spoken word to talk about their lives in Leeds.

At the workshops participants are encouraged to explore and express their views about the city and their home, after which they are supported to craft their ideas into short, spoken word stories. For budding film makers, participants are then given the chance to learn about shooting a short film before heading out to a have a go at filming their own story on location in Leeds. After gathering films from the workshops, organisers are using the latest technology at the central library to put the short films on an interactive map.

 The map will be based on a new touch screen table where up to 4 people can swipe their way around a map of Leeds where all the collected videos will be marked in the location they were filmed and a quick tap on the screen will let users view the videos.

The interactive map was opened and on show in the central library during a recent CBBC Live in Leeds event that took place in Millennium Square from 25th-27th July; the event was a collaboration between BBC North and Leeds City Council.