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Community-Based Multiliteracies and Digital Media Projects

Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities

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Edited By Heather M. Pleasants and Dana E. Salter

Within community-based digital literacies work, a fundamental question remains unanswered: Where are the stories and reflections of the researchers, scholars, and community workers themselves? We have learned much about contexts, discourses, and the multimodal nature of meaning making in literacy and digital media experiences. However, we have learned very little about those who initiate, facilitate, and direct these community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects. In Community-Based Multiliteracies & Digital Media Projects: Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities, contributors discuss exemplary work in the field of community-based digital literacies, while providing an insightful and critical perspective on how we begin to write ourselves into the stories of our work. In doing so, the book makes a powerful contribution to digital literacies praxis and pedagogy – within and outside of community-based contexts.
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Chapter 1: Introduction: Writing Oneself into the Story

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Writing Oneself into the Story

Heather M. Pleasants and Dana E. Salter

In extending invitations to write chapters for this book, we were initially guided by a single question: within all of the work on community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects that has been written about and discussed, where are the stories of process and the reflections of researchers, scholars and community workers themselves? This book is a response to the call for stories of process as told by those who conceptualize and direct community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects (Walsh, Hewson, Shier, & Morales, 2008). By foregrounding the experiences and perspectives of community activists, project coordinators, scholars, community organizers and funders working across diverse media and geographic contexts, we turn our focus to questions of “why” and “what happened” rather than “how to.”

Through the rapidly proliferating means to communicate knowledge about community-based multiliteracies and digital media, we have learned a great deal about contexts, discourses and the multimodal nature of meaning making in producers’ multimodal literacy and digital media experiences (High, 2009, Watkins, 2009; Warschauer, & Matuchniak, 2010). However, we have learned very little about how those who initiate, facilitate and/or direct community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects negotiate the issues that arise throughout the process of creating and implementing their work. In fact, when we (the editors) contrast what is being written with what has been said in, for example, informal conversations between conference sessions,...

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