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John Hartley & Ian Hargreaves: Creative Citizens: Two Journeys One Destination

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Published on Oct 3, 2014

Creative Citizens Conference, Royal College of Art, London, September 18-19th 2014.

Keynote 4

John Hartley & Ian Hargreaves: Creative Citizens: Two Journeys One Destination

John Hartley is Professor of Cultural Science and Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University (Perth, Western Australia). John has published over 200 articles and 24 books in the field of Media & Cultural Studies, he has an incisive and original interest in the digital and public cultures.


Ian Hargreaves holds The Chair of Digital Economy at the University of Cardiff. Professor Hargreaves’s interests include the impact of digital communications technology on: journalism, media, intellectual property issues and the creative economy. In 2010/2011, he led a review of intellectual property for the UK Government, published in May 2011 as Digital Opportunity: a review of intellectual property and economic growth. He is also the co-author of the Nesta Manifesto for the Creative Economy (2013).


This double handed keynote will place Creative Citizenship into the wider policy landscape as well as offering a new account of citizenship. ‘Creative Citizenship,’ speaks to the opportunity for ‘user generated politics’ and, correspondingly, ‘user generated civics.’ Creative acts of citizenship, we argue, are those which bring originality to acts aimed at civic well-being. In a world of social media, we agree that the collaborative potential of citizens is potentially enhanced in numerous ways, though we also seek to understand the negative tensions involved with these communications technologies. We see creative citizenship as the statistically unquantified base of the ‘creative economy’, an increasingly recognised entity, argued to account for 2.5 million jobs in the UK and around 10 per cent of the economy’s gross value added (Bakhshi et al 2013).

The presentation explores the nature and value of creative citizenship and goes to the heart of the contemporary struggle to re-make democratic institutions and procedures in an age of ‘monitory democracy’ (Keane 2009), taking full advantage of the ‘super-abundance’ of digital social media, whilst also recognising and managing the civic limitations of these communications technologies at a time when conventional, mainstream politics (as represented for example in membership of political parties) appears to be in sustained decline. Our focus is on what we argue is the newly emergent form of DIY/DIWO citizenship that builds on earlier models of civic, political, social and cultural forms of citizenship. Do It Yourself Citizenship is based in micro acts of creativity often built through social media, where rights are enacted through choice-based affiliation and self-organised associations. (Potts et al 2008; Bollier 2008 Benkler 2006).

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