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Making Media Studies

The Creativity Turn in Media and Communications Studies

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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 9. The Internet is Ancient, Small Steps are Important, and Four Other Theses about Making Things in a Digital World

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THE INTERNET IS ANCIENT, SMALL STEPS ARE IMPORTANT, AND FOUR OTHER THESES ABOUT MAKING THINGS IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Human beings have been creative, and made things, for many thousands of years. Indeed, the evidence suggests that the first human tools were made almost two million years ago (Donald, 2001). Digital technologies and the internet have not initiated creativity, therefore, but they have certainly given creative practices a boost, by enabling several things to be achieved much more simply and quickly: connections between people, distribution of material, conversations about it, collaborations, and opportunities to build on the work of others.

Therefore I would say that the internet is certainly empowering for people who like to make things, share ideas, and learn together. The six theses which I will discuss in this chapter all concern different dimensions of that strength. Before we get going, though, I’d like to directly address how self-conscious one can feel in saying such a thing.

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