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Making Media Studies

The Creativity Turn in Media and Communications Studies


David Gauntlett

In Making Media Studies, David Gauntlett turns media and communications studies on its head. He proposes a vision of media studies based around doing and making – not about the acquisition of skills, as such, but an experience of building knowledge and understanding through creative hands-on engagement with all kinds of media. Gauntlett suggests that media studies scholars have failed to recognise the significance of everyday creativity – the vital drive of people to make, exchange, and learn together, supported by online networks. He argues that we should think about media in terms of conversations, inspirations, and making things happen. Media studies can be about genuine social change, if we recognise the significance of everyday creativity, work to transform our tools, and learn to use them wisely. Making Media Studies is a lively, readable, and heartfelt manifesto from the author of Making is Connecting.
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Chapter 8. Creativity and Digital Innovation


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This chapter is about how the internet can be an enabler and driver of people’s creativity and innovation. Of course, people have been creative, and sought to do things in new ways, throughout history. To restate an obvious point, the digital world does not ‘cause’ more of that activity to happen, but it does enable people to make and—in particular—connect, in efficient and diverse ways which were not previously possible. Being able to be in contact with people from all around the world, who share your interests, and exchange creative material with them in order to inspire and generate new ideas, may have been sort-of possible before the late twentieth century, but the process was undeniably slow and difficult. The difference that high-speed internet connections make is not just a boost in convenience of communication, but represents a significant transformation in how those human beings who are online can share, interact and collaborate.

In this chapter I will use Clayton Christensen’s model of disruptive innovation (Christensen, 1997; Dyer, Gregersen, & Christensen, 2011), or a version of it, to look at some ways in which the internet—or rather, people’s uses of the internet—have disrupted both media industry practices and academic ← 115 | 116 → research. Christensen’s model has become well-known,1 but perhaps more to business readers and scholars than to media and communications researchers. Put simply, the model describes the situation in any market...

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