I always find that the more you know your audience (personally or professionally) the more daunting it is to stand up and present to them about your work. My lofty ambition for such occasions is to at least have the audience say ‘oh, that’s what he’s doing.’
Last week I presented at the first of our research seminars for the academic year. These are largely internal affairs with a mix of academic staff and postgraduate students. My research colleague Jerome Turner and I were introducing the audience to the scope and scale of the work we are doing on the ‘Media, Community and the Creative Citizen‘ project.
We lead the strand of research about Hyperlocal Publishing yet I tried give the presentation a broader context by outlining the circumstances in which the project came into being and emphasising that our research question is essentially one that ask questions about the nature of the Creative Economy.
Indeed the element of the presentation about Hyperlocal occupies only the last third of our talk but most of the subsequent questions and tweets focused on it. I can see why since the research we’re doing there is large in scope and should tell us something new about an area of media practice that is attracting much attention.
The problem in our project, which I can see more clearly post-presentation, is that the audience for our work want us to say something about the nature of journalism, but we intend to say something about the creative industries (we’re funded under a strand called ‘Connected Communities and the role of the Creative Economy’). To get to that bigger question we have to wade through the muddy ground of what is or isn’t Hyperlocal Publishing.
I can feel us getting a little bogged down in that discussion already and my tendency to shrug my shoulders when people ask ‘is my blog Hyperlocal or not?’ doesn’t always help. However, we’re moving quite swiftly and are about to undertake some rich ethnographic work with communities, work that we hope will tell us something about the everyday creative practices of citizens. I can’t wait.
Below is a video of our presentation with additional links below. I’d advise a read of the project’s research plan if you have the time.
I reference some presentations that were part of the original AHRC workshop where our project was developed. These are:
- Clash, cluster, complexity, creativity: Professor John Hartley, AM, ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries; Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
- Presentation by Professor Justin O’Connor Queensland University of Technology, Australia
- Connecting Excluded Communities? Dr. Paul Benneworth, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente, the Netherlands